Bernie Sanders: Fox News is a propaganda arm of Trump admin

MUSCATINE, Iowa ― Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is standing by his decision to do a town hall on Fox News, saying it’s important to distinguish between the network and its viewers.

Still, he said he believes the conservative network is largely a propaganda arm of President Donald Trump’s administration. 

“In most respects, I think it is,” Sanders told HuffPost on Saturday during a sit-down interview before an event he held in Iowa.

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Supporters stand in the crowd cheering as they wait for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to speak during a rally in Carson, California, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Women hold up signs and cheer as they wait for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to speak during a rally in Carson, California, U.S., May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
UCLA graduate Miguel Rodriguez, 32, (R) and Joannie Small, 4, queue to listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak at a campaign rally at Casa del Mexicano in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Bernie Sanders supporter Drew Rainer dances prior to the U S. Democratic presidential candidate's campaign rally at Colton Hall in Monterey, California, U.S., May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Fiala
An attendee reacts as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders prepares to enter Kaiser Permanente Arena during a campaign rally in Santa Cruz, California May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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A woman holds a sign in support of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during a campaign rally in Santa Cruz, California, U.S., May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Supporters cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as he speaks at a campaign rally in Santa Barbara, California, U.S. May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters listen as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Santa Maria, California, U.S. May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as he speaks at a campaign rally in Santa Barbara, California, U.S. May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters wait for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to speak at a campaign rally in Santa Barbara, California, U.S. May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders greets supporters after a campaign rally in Santa Maria, California, U.S. May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders looks as supporters wish him and his wife a happy wedding anniversary at a campaign rally in Santa Barbara, California, U.S. May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Tyler Morris holds up look-a-like puppet of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is held up during campaign event in San Pedro, California, U.S. May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
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Supporter Tina Boyd holds signs inside Johnie's Coffee Shop, which has been closed since 2000, during a one night only re-opening for a rally in favor of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Los Angeles, U.S., May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Supporters of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders cheer at a campaign event in Ventura, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn
Charles Parker of Desert Hot Springs shows off his large replica U S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders head while waiting in line to hear the senator speak at a campaign rally in Cathedral City, California, U.S., May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
Bradley Giles of Cathedral City waits to enter to hear U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak at a campaign rally in Cathedral City, California, U.S., May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
Supporters cheer as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders arrives to speak at a rally in Anaheim, California, United States, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters wait in line to attend a morning rally for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Anaheim, California, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters hold signs after U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' motorcade passed by in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporter Maria Antonio waits for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to speak in East Los Angeles, California, U.S. May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Supporter Koelen Andrews, 34, waits for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to speak in East Los Angeles, California, U.S. May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters wait for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to speak in East Los Angeles, California, U.S. May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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People cheer at a campaign rally for U S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Irvine, California, U.S. May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
Young female supports cheer as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders steps up to the podium during a rally in Vista, California, United States May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters cheer as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally in Vista, California, United States, May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Joshua Zepeda of Escondido, takes off his shirt as he attends a rally for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Vista, California, United States, May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A supporter of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wears a wig in San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Supporters cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Stockton, California, United States, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
From left, Myrna Leon, her daughter Bella Leon and her mother Frances Hernandez cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Stockton, California, United States, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
Supporters cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Stockton, California, United States, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
Supporters cheer and hold up banners before the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Sacramento, California United States May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
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Supporters cheer as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S., May 8, 2016. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses the crowd during a campaign rally at Heritage Hall in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. May 4, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders cheer during his five state primary night rally in Huntington, West Virginia, U.S., April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Marcus Constantino
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - MAY 9: Bernie Sanders supporters cheer during a rally with the Democratic presidential hopeful at Boardwalk Hall on May 9, 2016 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sanders is campaigning in New Jersey ahead of the state's primary on June 7. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - MAY 5: Bernie Sanders supporters holding a 'We Love Bernie March' a day before the state Democratic Party Convention march down Congress St. in Portland Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 3: Campaign supporters show their support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as he speaks to them during a campaign rally at the Big Four Lawn park May 3, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Sanders is preparing for Kentucky's May 17th primary. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 3: Campaign supporters show their support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as he speaks to them during a campaign rally at the Big Four Lawn park May 3, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Sanders is preparing for Kentucky's May 17th primary. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - MAY 01: People cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during a campaign rally at the Century Center on May 1, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Sanders continues to campaign leading up to the state of Indiana's primary day on Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 29: People listen as Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during a rally at the Indiana state Capitol on April 29, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sanders addressed the rally of mostly union workers and their supporters protesting the Carrier Corp. plans to cut 1,400 manufacturing jobs in Indianapolis and move 2,100 jobs to Mexico. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Sanders is scheduled to do a Fox News town hall on April 15 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It will be anchored by Brett Baier and Martha MacCallum, who are considered more neutral than the hosts in the primetime hours, such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. 

He is the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to do an event of this type on the network, and his decision is a break with the Democratic National Committee, which declared it would not give Fox a primary-season debate because of its connection to Trump. 

Investigative journalist Jane Mayer recently published a lengthy piece in The New Yorker outlining the extensive ties between Fox and the Trump administration, two entities that swap staff and take their cues from each other. 

“It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV,” Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia who has studied conservative media, told Mayer. 

Sanders said he believes it’s important to reach the network’s viewers, even though Fox News is clearly pushing an agenda: 

When I go on Fox, what I will say is, Look, many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you. He told you he was gonna provide health care for everybody. Yet his policies are to throw 30 million people off of the health insurance they have.

He told you he wasn’t gonna cut Medicare and Medicaid. He lied to you. Massive cuts in his budget for Medicare and Medicaid. We’re not going to let him do it, but that’s what he wants to do.

Told you his tax plan would not benefit the wealthy. He lied again. Of course, 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent. How do you explain that to people who voted for Trump if you don’t talk to people who voted for Trump?

But it’s not just Fox. If you check where I go, and where I will go into this campaign, I’m not just going to go into blue districts. You’ve got to go into areas where people are. Working people need to know the truth, and that is that Donald Trump betrayed them, lied to them. And I intend to do that.

Both Sanders and Hillary Clinton participated in a town hall event with Fox News during the 2016 presidential election. 

“For better or for worse ― and it is for worse ― for whatever reason, you know, Fox has a huge viewing audience,” Sanders said. “And to simply say that we’re not going to talk to millions of people who watch that network, I don’t think is smart.”

Video by Ben Klein, Will Tooke and Tyler Tronson. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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