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Denouncing Fox News as a 'Hate-for-Profit Racket,' Warren Turns Down Town Hall Invite

"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."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) addresses a rally against Trump administration budget cuts to education funding outside the U.S. Capitol July 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in a statement Tuesday morning, announced that she turned down a town hall invitation from Fox News because she doesn't want to provide an advertising boost to a network she described as "a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists."

"I 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."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

"It's designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that's rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class," said the Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate.

However, she continued, "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."

Noting that Fox News is "struggling" to retain advertisers—an apparent reference to a recent advertising "exodus" triggered by hosts Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro—Warren suggested that holding a town hall featuring a Democratic presidential candidate enables the network's sales team to reassure advertisers they can buy ads without harming their reputations.

"I 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," she said.

Warren pointed out that she has done more than 70 other town halls this year across 17 states and Puerto Rico, and highlighted her other media interviews.

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

The move sets her apart from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who in April agreed to a town hall on Fox News with the goal of sending a clear message to Americans who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016: "He lied to you."

Several other Democratic presidential candidates also have agreed to appear on Fox. As HuffPost outlined:

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has participated in a Fox News town hall since Sanders did one in April; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, have ones scheduled. Julian Castro, a Cabinet secretary for President Barack Obama, is in the process of scheduling one, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) are considering them.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she would "think about it" when asked whether she'd do one in April, adding that she believes the network's viewers are reachable.

Although individual candidates have appeared on Fox News and may continue to do so, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in March barred the network from hosting any of the party's primary debates, citing a damning New Yorker investigation by journalist Jane Mayer.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez said at the time that Mayer's report, in which one source described Fox as "a servile propaganda operation" for the Trump agenda, "led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates."

Read Warren's full statement, which she also shared in a series of tweets, below:

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