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Town Hall Turmoil: Outlining The Various TV Strategies Of 2020 Presidential Candidates




Democratic presidential candiate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to a crowd during a campaign stop at Fat Hill Brewing on May 4, 2019 in Mason City, Iowa
Democratic presidential candiate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to a crowd during a campaign stop at Fat Hill Brewing on May 4, 2019 in Mason City, Iowa
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren made headlines on Tuesday when she announced in a series of tweets that she would not be participating in a Fox News town hall, calling the cable network a “hate-for-profit racket” and saying that it “gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”

The decision highlights what has been a divide among the 2020 field -- how to handle appearances on the very conservative and often Trump-defending network. On the one hand, it offers an opportunity for the Democratic candidates to try and sway Trump supporters and conservatives on the fence to their side. But candidates like Senator Warren appear to want to focus on the liberal voting groups that will make up a majority of Democratic votes in 2020.

Senator Bernie Sanders, by contrast, did a Fox News town hall in April which the New York Times reports drew the largest audience for any TV appearance by a 2020 candidate so far. CNN’s town hall programs, meanwhile, have not gotten so much love from viewers. The Washington Post reports that so far, CNN’s town halls have all lagged in the ratings behind even regular programming on MSNBC and Fox, and have failed to even eclipse CNN’s own daily programs.

What do you think of Senator Warren’s decision not to participate in the Fox News town hall? What about the TV strategies of some of the other candidates? What is contributing to the low ratings for CNN’s town halls? Are people simply not interested yet? Is it a function of overall low ratings at the network? Or is their approach just dull?

Guests:

Joe Concha, media reporter at The Hill; he tweets @JoeConchaTV

Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush

Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist and founder and chief executive officer of Rodriguez Strategies. He is also a former senior Obama advisor in 2008; he tweets @RodStrategies

Margaret Sullivanmedia columnist for The Washington Post

David Folkenflik, media correspondent for NPR News and the host of NPR'S "On Point"