Fox's Kurtz defends network's news division after DNC debate rejection

Fox's Kurtz defends network's news division after DNC debate rejection
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Fox News host Howard Kurtz defended the network on Thursday after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced the previous day it would not grant Fox any of its 2020 presidential primary debates.

"I do just want to make this point on the news today, and that is the prime-time opinion people and [morning show] 'Fox & Friends,' they get a lot of the attention. I understand that," Kurtz, who hosts "Media Buzz," told "America's Newsroom" anchors Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith.

"But there are an awful lot of people at this company," the media critic continued. "Bret [Baier] and Martha; remember Martha MacCallum grilling Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGraham urges Trump not to abandon infrastructure talks with Democrats 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Maker of 'F*ck Trump' lipstick vows to donate proceeds to reproductive rights groups MORE when he gave the only interview as the Supreme Court nominee? And John Roberts and Gillian Turner and Mike Emanuel and Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith and others who are journalists who try to play things right down the middle."

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"It would be like writing a whole piece saying The New York Times is an anti-Trump newspaper and mostly quoting from the editorial page," Kurtz added.

The former longtime CNN "Reliable Sources" host also offered examples of stories considered negative to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE that were covered substantially by reporters on Fox News, including the Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenAvenatti indicted for allegedly defrauding Stormy Daniels The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump blows up meeting after Pelosi 'cover up' remarks Unsealed Mueller docs reveal new details of Cohen probe MORE hearings last week, special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE's Russia probe and the alleged Trump hush money investigation around Stormy Daniels.

"Opinion people are something else," Kurtz added. "That is the distinction that I want to make, and that [The New Yorker] article should have made.”

Kurtz joined other Fox personalities weighing in on the announcement this week. Host Brett Baier called the DNC's decision "really a shame" in a tweet Wednesday, saying Fox News's fairness "speaks for itself."

The DNC announced Wednesday afternoon that Fox News would not be permitted to host any of its 12 scheduled primary debates after The New Yorker on Tuesday reported on the network's close ties to Trump.

“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,” DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said in the statement.

Fox News Senior Vice President and Managing Editor Bill Sammon responded Wednesday afternoon, touting Fox News's news division while noting having Democratic candidates appear on the network would help candidates reach key voters during the 2020 election cycle.

“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,” Sammon said in statement.

Several declared and presumptive Democratic presidential candidates have recently appeared on Fox News, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Anita Hill: Female 2020 Democrats 'not being taken seriously' Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (D-Minn.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — CBO officials testify on pros and cons of 'Medicare for All' | Booker vows to form White House office on abortion rights | Measles outbreak spreads with cases now in half the country Lee, Sanders introduce bill to tax Wall Street transactions MORE (D-N.Y.), former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers Castro to strike with McDonald's employees in North Carolina MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Progressive Democrat says Trump victory shed light on divide between Silicon Valley, rural US Anita Hill: Female 2020 Democrats 'not being taken seriously' MORE (D-Hawaii).

Perez also appeared as DNC chairman on Baier's "Special Report" last month.