May 15, 2019

Much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth on Morning Joe today over Elizabeth Warren's decision not to do a Fox Town hall.

"Senator Elizabeth Warren turned down the opportunity to appear in a Fox News town hall. In a series of tweets, the Massachusetts senator explained her reasoning behind the decision yesterday. Calling the network a, quote, 'hate for profit racket' that gives the megaphone to conspiracies. Fox News did not immediately respond. Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar have appeared on Fox News town halls. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is considering one, as well," Mika said.

"What do you think about this? If you think that Fox News is what Elizabeth Warren said she believed it was, do you reach out to viewers who may watch Shep? May watch other newscasters, Chris Wallace and others that do the news pretty darn straight. Don't you want to reach out to swing voters and go on Fox News?" Scarborough said.

"Yes. But I think there are a couple things. I think just because there's a bunch of good journalists who work there doesn't erase what's going on there, which one could argue is exactly as Elizabeth Warren describes it. A direct connection from a corrupt president who is a racist, to megaphones for people who peddle it to a bunch of dupes. That does happen on Fox. That is clear," Mika said.

"But I would argue that a presidential candidate should be able to walk into any situation, walk into any fire, and have the confidence and the ability to put it out, by spreading the Democratic values and his or her beliefs. And I think they should go into Fox and do all the town halls they can do. Because Fox, you could argue, is smart to be doing these. That's a sign of some sort of change."

No, it isn't. It's a sign of a shrinking audience and plummeting ad revenue. Their key demographic is dying off, and progressive activists like Sleeping Giants have shown advertisers it's a bad idea to affiliate your product with hateful content. This is why progressives don't want their presidential candidates putting IV fluids into a dying network. It's strategic.

"Nick, what do you make of Elizabeth Warren's strategy here? I guess she's raising money on this," Mika said to Nick Confessore.

"The first thing I saw is a press release and email to reporters to raise money off of this, looking for a viral moment to stand out from the crowd. I do think that, though, look, you can't get votes you don't ask for, and you can't win in places you don't actually visit and campaign in. The person who wins the White House for the Democrats is going to have to persuade some people who voted for Trump to vote for them instead. The people doing the town halls is not Sean Hannity. It is the newscasters," Confessore said. (He mentioned Chris Wallace and Martha McCallum -- this Martha McCallum.)

"The question is, is there value for someone like Elizabeth Warren, making her case directly to people in the middle who watch Fox News? Probably there is. In her line, I think it doesn't outweigh the sense she's endorsing what happens on primetime on that network, where they're basically walking in lockstep with the White House,"

"Willie, we're talking about, for the most part, primetime there. You have Democrats that watch Fox News. Independents watch Fox News, swing voters watch Fox News. You have to get out in front of people who may not agree with you. Barack Obama in 2008 talked about how he won in places like Iowa. He'd go to counties in Iowa that might be 70/30 Republican. Instead of saying, well, I'll never win there, he'd go. He'd try to lessen the margins. Maybe 60/40. Maybe it's 55/40. And that was his strategy: Engage everywhere.

"Fox News is a great place for Democrats to go engage, pick up a few swing voters. Who knows?" Scarborough said.

You know who watches Fox News, Joe? Fox News viewers. No one who leans toward the middle can tolerate more than ten minutes of the insanity that is Fox News. But once again, we hear about these mythical swing voters who just happen to enjoy being scared to death over Muslims and black people with guns. People who know Donald Trump is the innocent victim of a Deep State conspiracy that... oh, never mind, I can't even.

Joe has been in cable TV for so long, he actually believes if he doesn't see something on TV, it must not be happening. Elizabeth Warren is already visiting Trump voters, in deep-red Trump country. And they like her! So maybe she's just smarter than Joe and Mika.

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