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Fox News scores interview with Democratic candidate Kirsten Gillibrand



Fox News continues to prevail over other major cable news networks in ratings, and they may have found another ingredient to their success: interviews with Democratic candidates in the 2020 US presidential election.

Coming on the heels of its interview with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Fox News has booked Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — Gillibrand’s first interview with the network after she declared her candidacy.

Fox News host Chris Wallace will be filling in for host Bret Baier for the interview on Monday.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont may have grabbed the spotlight from his Democratic competitors following news of his record-breaking first-day donations, but both Gillibrand and Klobuchar are still considered to be formidable contenders in the election.

Fox News’ “Special Report” with host Bret Baier attracted 2.5 million total viewers during its roughly 17-minute interview with Klobuchar on February 12. Meanwhile, CNN’s one-hour townhall featuring Klobuchar and host Don Lemon drew in 1.1 million total viewers on Monday night.

The CNN event in New Hampshire placed third amongst cable news networks that night, with Fox News leading with 2.5 million viewers, followed by MSNBC’s 2.46 million viewers.

Fox News’ interview with Klobuchar also led the key 25-54 age demographic with 388,000 total viewers, compared to CNN’s townhall with 294,000 total viewers.

CNN has faced some criticism over its coverage of the 2020 election, particularly after its town hall featuring Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO and a possible independent candidate.

Democrats and other journalists questioned whether it was prudent for the network to dedicate valuable air-time and a large platform for Schultz, who has yet to officially declare his candidacy. The network also faced backlash over its recent decision to hire Sarah Isgur, a former Republican political adviser and Justice Department spokesperson, to oversee its 2020 campaign coverage.

Fox News’ bookings may signal its willingness to buck the traditional perception that it is a conservative-leaning news network, and could provide a valuable opportunity for Democratic candidates to televise their message. The network’s numerous opinionated hosts continue to face scrutiny over their glowing appraisal of President Donald Trump and his allies. But some Democrats, including 2020 candidates, say they recognize the value of seeking a wider audience.

“One of the reasons I came on this show is that I believe that candidates for office, whether a Democrat or Republican, have to go not just where it’s comfortable, but where it’s uncomfortable,” Klobuchar said to Baier in her Fox News interview. “And I love you, but, you know, Fox may not always be comfortable for Democrats.”

Former Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, a former Fox News contributor, agreed it was sensible for Democrats to appear on the network.

“Democrats need to understand that Fox News is not a monolith, that there’s diversity within its audience, and that the viewers are listening and weighing things carefully,” Kucinich said in a Washington Post report published earlier in February. “How can you change someone’s thinking if you refuse to talk to them?”

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