On MSNBC's AM Joy, Angelo Carusone explains why Democratic candidates shouldn't hold town halls on Fox right now
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the April 21 edition of MSNBC's AM Joy (transcript starts at 1:23):
JOY REID (HOST): Angelo, I'm going to start with you. What do you make of this embrace, I guess you could call it, by individual Democratic candidates? We know that Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend is in advanced talks with the network. Julián Castro, former housing secretary, is close to signing on. Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker all saying they're open to doing town halls on Fox News.
ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS PRESIDENT): So I think there are two things going on at the same time and I want to split them. One is a question of whether or not it's OK to partner with Fox News. Now these are not just appearances, they're negotiations, you have to actually partner with them. It's a media partnership for one event. There's one question there. The second question is one is one of timing. Should they be doing it right now in this moment? And one of the reasons why Fox has so aggressively been reaching out to these campaigns right now is because they're desperately trying to reach their marks for their 70% threshold for selling all of their ads for next year. There is this period called the upfronts where networks sell their ads in the future, and Fox News has had a lot of trouble. That's why they suspended Jeanine Pirro. It was to signal to advertisers that they were getting serious. So I think in this moment right now, there's no reason at all for any Democratic or presidential candidate to be giving Fox News the lifeline that it so desperately needs.
REID: Interesting. So we did get a statement, we reached out to Fox News to get a statement on what you just talked about, on their upfront presentations and this was the statement: "Fox News had a very successful upfront presentation where our advertisers walked away feeling extremely positive about our story and the value of our audience. We expect no change in our business going forward." That's from Marianne Gambelli, who's the president of ad sales at Fox. Your response to that?
CARUSONE: My response is, one, they had to change the programming of that event because there was a massive demonstration and protest outside Fox News. Two, Tucker Carlson was supposed to speak at that event and did not because of what was going on in the news at that time. So if you notice what she didn't say is that they signed contracts at that event and that's because they had a lot of trouble selling ads in the room, and the conversation ended up turning into whether or not Fox News is a toxic asset, and that's why they doubled down on these Democratic town halls. What they tried to do was get some of these big candidates to sort of come on the network, to partner with them. And their theory was that that would signal to media buyers and to advertisers it was safe to come back in the water. That's what the strategy is. So I don't think it makes any sense to do it right now. I'm willing to have a debate about whether or not they should go on Fox News generally, but in this moment right now it is nothing but destructive and undermines all of the work that has been done to hold Fox News accountable.