The Democratic National Committee has announced that FOX News will be barred from hosting and moderating any debates during the 2020 Democratic primary. The reason given does not hold up to scrutiny.

It’s easy to speculate on why this is happening. The far left base of the Democratic party despises FOX News and would go crazy if this was allowed to happen. It’s also safe to assume that Democrats running in 2020 don’t want to face tough but fair questions from the likes of Chris Wallace and Bret Baier.

We don’t have to speculate however, because DNC chair Tom Perez offered a very specific reason for the decision. He claims it was based on an article in the New Yorker.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so stay with me.

Paul Farhi wrote at the Washington Post:

Democratic National Committee rejects Fox News for debates, citing New Yorker article

The Democratic National Committee has decided to exclude Fox News Channel from televising any of its candidate debates during the 2019-2020 cycle as a result of published revelations detailing the cable network’s close ties to the Trump administration.

In a statement Wednesday, DNC Chairman Tom Perez cited a story in the New Yorker magazine this week that detailed how Fox has promoted President Trump’s agenda. The article, titled “The Making of the Fox News White House,” suggested that the news network had become a “propaganda” vehicle for Trump.

“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters,” said Perez in his statement to The Washington Post. “That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News. Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”

The New Yorker article, written by Jane Mayer, reads like an anti-FOX News screed from Media Matters. It also contains some very specific charges about FOX killing the Stormy Daniels story before the 2016 election.

Mayer repeatedly mentions a former FOX News executive named Ken LaCorte and uses him as proof that FOX spiked the Stormy story:

When Shine assumed command at Fox, the 2016 campaign was nearing its end, and Trump and Clinton were all but tied. That fall, a FoxNews.com reporter had a story that put the network’s journalistic integrity to the test. Diana Falzone, who often covered the entertainment industry, had obtained proof that Trump had engaged in a sexual relationship in 2006 with a pornographic film actress calling herself Stormy Daniels. Falzone had worked on the story since March, and by October she had confirmed it with Daniels through her manager at the time, Gina Rodriguez, and with Daniels’s former husband, Mike Moz, who described multiple calls from Trump. Falzone had also amassed e-mails between Daniels’s attorney and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, detailing a proposed cash settlement, accompanied by a nondisclosure agreement. Falzone had even seen the contract.

But Falzone’s story didn’t run—it kept being passed off from one editor to the next. After getting one noncommittal answer after another from her editors, Falzone at last heard from LaCorte, who was then the head of FoxNews.com. Falzone told colleagues that LaCorte said to her, “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.” LaCorte denies telling Falzone this, but one of Falzone’s colleagues confirms having heard her account at the time.

After the Journal story broke, Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter for CNN, published a piece revealing that Fox had killed a Stormy Daniels story. LaCorte, who by then had left Fox but was still being paid by the company, told Mediaite that he’d made the call without talking to superiors. The story simply hadn’t “passed muster,” he claimed, adding, “I didn’t do it to protect Donald Trump.” Nik Richie, a blogger who had broken the first story about Daniels, tweeted, “This is complete bullshit. Ken you are such a LIAR. This story got killed by @FoxNews at the highest level. I know, because I was one of your sources.”

In a new column at Mediaite, Ken LaCorte disputes Mayer’s version of events:

I Stopped the Stormy Daniels Story at Fox News. Here’s Why.

On October 18, I got my first look at the Stormy Daniels story written by Fox reporter Diana Falzone, who primarily covered celebrity news for print and video. It wasn’t a detailed investigative piece as the media has portrayed this week, but a 9-paragraph story that sorely needed backup.

It included: a two-word confirmation – “it’s true” – from an unnamed Daniels “spokesperson,” an anonymous quote from a friend who said she’d dropped off Daniels to meet Trump at a hotel, and quotes from The Dirty owner, who said that he had spoken to Daniels in 2011 and she had confirmed the affair.

It lacked: any mention of payments, a hush money contract or any corroborating evidence beyond the two secondhand accounts.

On top of that, Stormy Daniels herself had publicly denied the whole thing, a denial she would maintain for another year.

The story wasn’t close to being publishable, and my decision to hold it was a no-brainer.

LaCorte mentions an important detail about the Stormy Daniels story:

In the recent national coverage of this incident, based on an article in The New Yorker, no one has questioned why Stormy would try to leak an anti-Trump story exclusively to Fox News, seen by virtually everyone as a pro-Trump outlet. In reality, she was actually talking to a handful of others as well.

This is the key passage:

In December 2018, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker asked me to talk about some of my experiences at Fox News. I spoke at length with her over the months, yet she never inquired about the Stormy Daniels story at all.

A week before publication, I received a few phone calls from a New Yorker fact checker confirming my quotes. Her last one was a surprise, asking me to confirm or deny what they heard from a secondhand source, alleging I had told our reporter it was “good reporting” but we shelved it because of Rupert Murdoch’s politics. I neither said nor even thought that because neither of those things was true.

I sent Mayer an email with some explanation and an offer to talk, and she responded: “sorry but I didn’t know fact-checkers called, I was hoping to call you first. we just added this to the story today. I’ll call in a bit. up to my eyeballs right this moment.” She never did.

Mayer is pushing back on Twitter (via Twitchy)

If Ken LaCorte is to be believed, it sounds like Jane Mayer made something up to advance an agenda, and if that sounds familiar, it should. Jane Mayer co-wrote a story for the New Yorker last fall about the flimsy accusations against Brett Kavanaugh by Deborah Ramirez.

Mayer appeared on CBS This Morning in September 2018 to discuss it and even the hosts repeatedly questioned her story:

This is the person who wrote the story that the DNC is citing for barring FOX News from the 2020 Democratic primary debates.

 
 
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