Elizabeth Warren turns down Fox News town hall, calls network a 'hate-for-profit racket'

The Massachusetts senator's rejection breaks with other Democratic contenders like Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
Image: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a campaign stop in Cincinnati on May 11, 2019.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at a campaign stop in Cincinnati on Saturday, May 11.John Minchillo / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Ali Vitali and Allan Smith

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Tuesday she had turned down the chance to appear on a Fox News town hall, lambasting the network as "a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists."

Doing a Fox town hall would help legitimize the network to advertisers and help them make a profit, the 2020 contender added.

"Fox News has invited me to do a town hall, but I'm turning them down — here's why. ... Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists — it's designed to turn us against each other, risking life & death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class," Warren said.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee announced it was boycotting Fox News as a potential primary debate partner. But since that announcement, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participated in a Fox News town hall to positive reviews. And other presidential candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, have since agreed to town halls on the network.

Sanders' Fox News town hall earned the highest ratings of any candidate town hall this cycle.

"Hate-for-profit works only if there's profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet," Warren continued. "It's all about dragging in ad money — big ad money. But Fox News is struggling as more & more advertisers pull out of their hate-filled space. A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox — no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: it's not)."

Warren added that she "won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates — especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers."

Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

"Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet," Warren wrote. "But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass."

Later Tuesday, former Rep. John Delaney, himself a 2020 Democratic candidate, tweeted that he would gladly take the spot Fox News offered Warren.

"If you're not using your town hall, I will," he wrote. "Democratic candidates have to campaign everywhere and talk to all voters."