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Democratic congressman says his party is in the wrong for not allowing Fox News to host a primary debate

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'It's watched by millions and millions of Americans'

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.) criticized his own party Monday over the Democratic National Committee's recent decision to bar Fox News from hosting any of its 2020 presidential primary debates.

What are the details?

Last week, DNC Chairman Tom Perez announced that "Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates," accusing the network of having an "inappropriate relationship" with the Trump administration. Perez cited a disputed article in the New Yorker as reasoning for his decision.

Perez argued, "The network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates."

Speaking on CNN's "New Day," Himes said that was the wrong call. Responding to host Alisyn Camerota's question over the move, Himes said, "Well, with all due respect to the DNC, no, I don't think it was the right decision.

"Look," he added, "it's no surprise to anybody, including to Fox News watchers, that Fox is largely an instrument of the right wing, of the Republican Party. ... However, and the reason I go on Fox, is that it's watched by millions and millions of Americans."

Himes argued that "a debate is a very highly structured moment," saying, "It's not like, you know, Sean Hannity can jump in and challenge Bernie Sanders. As they say, 'You don't need to persuade your friends, you need to persuade people who disagree with you.' So I would've made a different decision."

Anything else?

The Huffington Post reported that Himes isn't the first Democrat to question the party's decision. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell — who served as DNC chairman during the 2000 presidential election — told Fox News' Laura Ingraham, "If we could pick the commentators and moderators, I think we should have the debate on Fox, because let me tell you — even if we can persuade 3 percent of Fox viewers, 3 percent last time out, carries Michigan."

According to HuffPost, "Fox News is the most-watched basic cable network, averaging 2.5 million primetime viewers in 2018."

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