Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, has a new job at Fox News. This is not, one would think, a natural fit for someone who’s spent their entire career working for the party that Fox has spent two decades demonizing, but here we are.
Her justification for doing this—going to work at a place that is actively harming the country on a daily basis—is pretty weak. Here’s how she put it in a Monday op-ed on Fox News’s website:
My decision to serve as a commentator for Fox News is rooted in the belief that you cannot make progress, let alone reach compromise, without first listening to, and understanding those who disagree with you on critical issues.
Will I agree with my fellow commentators at Fox News? Probably not. But I will listen.
Great. Civility and listening. This answer was not good enough for the many people disgusted by the daily workings of Fox, but fortunately, Brazile also spoke with the New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner to further explain her thinking. Unfortunately that didn’t really happen, as things seemed to go off the rails fast.
Brazile made the case that her objective in working at Fox News is to reach a different demographic of Americans, to “go into places where you are uncomfortable and try to stir things up.” Fine, great. Civility again. But then Chotiner pressed her directly on the fact that, uh, don’t you think Fox is actually a major part of the problem. Brazile didn’t like that question one bit.
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From the interview, which was published online this afternoon, with Chotiner’s questions in bold:
I just want to return to this: you have, over your career, talked a lot about bigotry. Are you concerned about the amount of bigotry and racism in our society, and do you have any concern about the network you are working for propagating those things on a nightly and daily basis?
I have a concern about society in general.
And I hope whenever I see it, I am going to call it out.
You will be seeing it a lot now, so that will be good.
I hope you understand that you are having a conversation with me because I chose to call you back. I chose to get your digits, and I chose to call you. I understood that when I made this decision to call you that you probably wanted to get up in my crap about going on Fox. I made my position known. I wrote a column and I put out a statement. I knew people were going to call and say, “Don’t you know the house might stink up?” “Yeah, but is that the only house that is stinky?”
I just want to be clear that you were—
No, no, I want you to be clear that I have my marbles. This is Donna Brazile. You are not talking to a phantom. You are talking to me. Don’t call me and act as if you are somehow appalled that a black woman, or a woman, or a liberal progressive, would go, “Hell, yeah, I want to go in that den.” And I want to fight from inside and fight from the outside. I may be naïve in my judgment, but I am wise in my view that, long term, we are not going to make progress by simply being out throwing rocks. I don’t want to do that. This is my decision.
Brazile, by her own admission, gets “spicy” with Chotiner at other points in the interview for repeatedly questioning why she would take a paycheck from people who very clearly hate everything her party claims to represent. For the record, it’s a pretty good question, and one that still deserves a sufficient answer.