DNC Blocks Fox

The Democratic National Committee won't let Fox host any of its primary elections, citing a New Yorker story suggesting Fox founder Rupert Murdoch had a too-cozy relationship with the Trump Administration.

The DNC's first debate will actually be two debates, broken up over two nights given the number of candidates--as many as 20--but Fox won't hosting those or any others.

DNC Chair Tom Perez made the announcement Wednesday (March 6), much to the chagrin of Fox. Chris Wallace has gotten good reviews for his presidential debate moderating.

“We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate," said Bill Sammon, SVP and managing editor, Washington, for Fox News. "They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters.”

The New Yorker piece, which was about the relationship between Fox and the Trump Administration (Murdoch is said to have opposed the AT&T-Time Warner merger, which DOJ sued to block), also suggested that the FCC's blocking of the Sinclair/Tribune deal was another of three pro-Fox moves (so deemed by former Democratic Chairman Reed Hundt in the story, the other being DOJ allowing Fox to buy some Disney assets).

"In July, the FCC blocked Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative rival to Fox, from combining with the Tribune Media Company," the New Yorker's Jane Mayer wrote. "The FCC argued that the deal would violate limits on the number of TV stations one entity can own, upending Sinclair’s hope of becoming the next Fox."

Taking at least something off that last assertion was the fact that the president tweeted his displeasure that the FCC had not approved Sinclair, then appeared to chide FCC Chairman Ajit Pai about the decision at a White House event.

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.