On Monday morning's New Day on CNN, during a discussion of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's decision to condemn right-leaning Fox News hosts even while appearing on the news network for a town hall with voters, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin suggested that the primetime hosts are "racists and bigots."
During one discussion from the 7:00 a.m. Eastern hour of the show, panel members responded to Buttiigieg using the town hall to condemn some Fox News hosts in their coverage of the detention of illegal immigrants, while also praisng audience members as just looking for information. In his first response, Toobin referred to the "ugly side" of Fox News:
The relationship between Donald Trump and Fox is symbiotic for the most part. But Fox also at least, other than in primetime, wants to try to preserve a modicum of journalistic respectability, so they invite on Democrats occasionally. But I don't think anyone is under any sort of misimpression of what Fox News is really about. And I do think Buttigieg did a good job of, you know, explaining why he was there, but also disassociating himself with the ugly sides of Fox primetime.
A bit later, after CNN's Michael Smerconish praised Buttigieg's strategy for responding to criticism from some Democrats for appearing on Fox, noting that it also helps Fox promote itself to advertisers who are skeptical of the more conservative hosts, New Day co-host and former Fox News anchor Alisyn Camerota observed:
I think that that's really interesting because I also think that it did reveal the predicament that Fox will be in for the next year and a half because they do want to act as though they are a news network, so they, of course, would have to have Democrats, but they don't want to alienate the golden goose that they have had for the past three years, President Trump, Donald Trump before when he was a candidate, and he has already been threatening to take his business elsewhere.
About an hour later, during another panel discussion on the issue, liberal CNN contributor and former Bill Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart criticized Buttigieg for going on Fox News:
I'm with Elizabeth Warren on this, though. I think that Fox News is a corrupt enterprise. I think it is not a journalism company -- it's a company that was built by Roger Ailes in order to promote conservative Republican political ideas. And in primetime, they spread the kind of disinformation that actually worked with the Russians to sow dissent in this country. So I'm with her -- I think the Democrats should avoid going on because -- like they should avoid being involved with any other corrupt enterprise.
At 8:10 a.m., Toobin got to comment again and made his suggestion about racism at Fox News:
Fox can use these debates as a vehicle to go to advertisers and say, 'Look, we are not just the racists and bigots in primetime -- we are a real news organization,' and I'm not sure Democrats want to give them that cover. I think that -- if you're going to not go on, that's the best argument.
Ironically, in spite of several panel members suggesting that Fox News wants to have Democrats on their network to make them look like a "real news organization," no conservatives took part in any of the three segments devoted to this topic on New Day even though liberals Lockart, Toobin and John Avlon all got to give commentary on the issue.