Sen. Sanders Didn’t Sell Out on Fox News – He Won

On Monday evening, Bernie Sanders visited a place many advised him to avoid: Fox News. The senator held a televised town hall in Pennsylvania to share his policy visions for the future and Fox News actually let him use the hour to do so, with only minimal pushback.

In front of a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd that Fox said represented a spectrum of political affiliations, he laid out his plan for improved health care, explained why a higher marginal tax rate is good for the country, delivered sensible views on immigration and even attempted to make the phrase “Democratic socialist” sound less scary to conservative viewers.

Moreover, he did it all to impressive ratings – 2.5 million voters – about twice the viewership of MSNBC and three times the eyes on CNN. Sanders stated the goal was to reach out to Trump voters in an attempt to show them the light, and there’s no better place to reach that crowd than on Fox News, despite the network’s myriad of problems.

The Democratic Party at large has shied away from engaging with Fox this cycle, going so far as to refuse to have any primary debates hosted by the network. Who can blame them, though? It’s a “news” outlet that operates more as propaganda in conjunction with the current administration.

However, Sanders shows that perhaps the door shouldn’t be completely closed to collaborations, if only to disrupt the usual rhetoric the Fox audience hears. When Sanders gets to explain his stances, rather than have them negatively explained on his behalf, the crowd seemed to like it.

Heck, check out this moment when Fox News host Bret Baier asked the crowd first if they have private insurance and then if they’d be willing to transition away from that to a Medicare-for-All type of plan:

Sure seems like they’d be more than okay with it!

Boy did that ruffle some feathers. Sensing how well the event went for Sanders, Sean Hannity later mocked his own network for giving airtime to Sanders, whom he called crazy and a communist. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump expressed his anger that Fox would take time away from celebrating him, and took special offense to the “smiley and nice” treatment Sanders received.

Speaking of Trump, Sanders did discuss the president at points. First he stated that it’s important for the Democrats to give the voters a clear, exciting platform rather than resting on anti-Trump sentiments. Then he made sure the audience knew that Trump is a “pathological liar” who has failed on his promises to Americans and can’t give it to them straight.

If Sanders made any missteps during his time on Fox, it was how much he bashed Fox. The initial minutes consisted of Sanders pointing out how misleading Fox is on multiple occasions, which probably doesn’t endear him to the typical Fox viewer he’s trying to reach, and certainly didn’t endear him to Baier who kept pointing out they were giving him an opportunity to share his perspective, which is fair.

By the end, though, Sanders course corrected and was more antagonistic to the larger corporate media that focuses on the wrong things, which seems like a more agreeable and no less valid approach.

Look, it’s highly unlikely that Fox is going to start covering Sanders more favorably overall after this town hall exposure, but he got his message across and stressed the points that Americans of all affiliations agree on according to the polls (offering a living wage, making the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes, health care for all, etc.) and challenging voters to select a leader that will help make those happen.

That’s a bigger victory than most Democrats could expect while on Fox News, and now it seems like more Democratic candidates may be willing to enter the lion’s den in an attempt to convert the same crowd.

64 comments

Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hillabout a month ago

thanks

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a month ago

Mark,
Since all the cost figures are estimates, and they come from different sources, and include different costs, it is hard to compare them directly. Here are just a few estimates for an entire bowl of fruit:

https://www.crfb.org/blogs/how-much-will-medicare-all-cost

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Mark Spiegel
Mark Spiegelabout a month ago

Dan Blossfeld:

Dan, your math is mostly correct. We currently have about 320 million people in the United States. That pencils out to $10,938 per person per year for a $3.5 trillion insurance cost. However, you fail to account for the people who are on Medicare/Medicaid and those whose health insurance costs are paid for wholly or partially by their employers. But let’s say everyone pays that $10,938 out of their own pockets. If the Forbes figures are correct the new system costs are $2.5 trillion per year and that amounts to $7,812 per year per person. So even assuming everyone pays for their own insurance their savings under the new system would be $3,126 per year for each person. Sounds like a better system even if some call it Socialism.

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Celine Russo
Celine Russoabout a month ago

France has a government run healthcare yes but it doesn't pay all, there are still some health insurances to add in to cover for some expenses, but still overall good. I can go and get medicine to treat some of my problems and not have to pay anything at the counter :)

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

Susan Govenment run healthcare works in other countries. It lower cost by preventing our criminal health insurance industry from controlling our healthcare. People over 65 love Medicare for all, except it doesn't cover Dental and it has a donut hole. Bernie Sanders wants to add dental coverage and improve on Medicare in other areas. By expanding Medicare, we cover everyone and end having 31 million uninsured like we have now. Canada, the UK, and France have govenment run healthcare, and they don't seem to have the problems you're describing. I'm not downplaying what you are saying, and I'm not saying Medicare for all is perfect. But I think we need to have Medicare for all and get the criminal health insurance industry out of our healthcare.

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Susan S
Susan Sabout a month ago

Brian F - Just because you have health INSURANCE does not mean you will get health CARE. If Medicare doesn't pay the doctors more than they do now, there will be a doctor shortage. People will wait months to see a doctor or get an operation, potentially causing MORE people to die. I also think there is a good possibility everyone will have to by supplemental insurance like they do now, so not only will your taxes skyrocket, you will still need to pay for supplemental insurance. I think what I have laid out has a good possibility of happening, and once we go all in for government run health insurance, there will be no going back. There are just to many unknowns to support a Medicare for All plan at this time. We could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

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Shelley w
Shelley wabout a month ago

The competitive health market encourages innovation and inventions to improve health. A government run medicare for all will significantly reduce the quality of health care in America. Bernie is a typical socialist politician who has millions of dollars, three homes and a stellar health plan from his government position. He does not need to worry about crappy health care for the rest of America. Also, since he wants millionaires to pay more than 55% in taxes and he paid 23% last year, why is he not donating more money to taxes to pay his fair share? Bernie is a pig at the trough just like the capitalists he says he despises.

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a month ago

Susan At least 45,000 people die each year, because we don't have Medicare for all. The ACA also leaves 31 million uninsured. Bernie Sanders wants to make Medicare cover dental procedures as well. You ask good questions, and their are many unknowns, but I would rather have our government control our healthcare under Medicare for all, then have our criminal health insurance industry control our healthcare and cause 45,000 people to die, and have 31 million uninsured like we have now. Medicare for all is not a panacea, but it's the best plan we have moving forward and most people support it.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a month ago

Susan S.,
You ask many good questions. Unfortunately, there are currently no answers,

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pam w
pam wabout a month ago

Bernie has BALLS! :-) And, reading the headline here, I knew we'd have our resident TROLL show up to blame everyone except the GOP! It's just boring.

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