Buttigieg on Fox: Dems Need to Venture Beyond Echo Chamber

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says that winning the presidential election and reclaiming Democratic values means reaching beyond the "echo chamber" of like-minded people to meet voters where they are.

In the wake of presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren's decision to decline very publicly and stingingly Fox's invitation to appear on its air for a town hall, fellow candidate Buttigieg sent an e-mail to supporters to explain why he is participating in a Fox town hall Sunday night (May 19) from Claremont, N.H.,  from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Related: Warren Disses Fox Invite

"If we ignore the viewers of Fox News and every news platform that doesn’t share our worldview, we will surrender our ability to speak directly to millions of American voters," he said.

Buttigieg did not make it an us vs. Fox explanation, saying he strongly condemn[ed] the voices on Fox and in the media [emphasis ours] that uncritically amplify hate." He said that "If we unilaterally decide that [Fox Viewers] shouldn’t hear my or other Democrats’ messages, then we shouldn’t act surprised if they have a distorted view of what we believe and who we are."

"If we don’t show up, the conservative media will tell our side of the story for us. They will continue to fully claim American values like freedom, security, and democracy as property of the GOP," he said.

Buttigieg suggested that approach should come as no surprise. "From the beginning of this campaign, I’ve said that I would meet voters where they are. And that means sometimes moving beyond the echo chamber of like-minded voices."

Related: Buttigieg Says Big Tech May Need Breaking Up

Warren said last week: "Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet. But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine."

Buttigieg is appearing Sunday at 7-8 p.m., from Claremont N.H., moderated by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. 

Wallace weighed in Sunday on Buttigieg's email. He pointed out that both Warren and candidate Kamala Harris had declined to appear in a Fox town hall and said he, too, thought it was a mistake for any candidate to cut themselves off from millions of voters--Fox is the top-rated cable news net. 

On Warren's "hate for profit" knock he said there was politics involved and she was entitled to do whatever she wants. "We don't have subpoena power. If they want to boycott us I don't like it, but it's up to them."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.