During Fox News’ town hall with 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro, co-moderator Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that 90% of immigrants who are detained and then released “do not ever show up for their court date.” This is false. The number is only related to a Trump administration pilot program launched in late 2018 to expedite asylum cases; in contrast, the traditional program for these families is effective, with just 27.4% of families failing to appear for their court dates.
MacCallum appears to have lifted the lie from erstwhile Fox contributor Tom Homan, whom Trump recently announced could be rejoining the administration as a “border czar.”
This highlights the Faustian bargain that Fox News town halls offer to Democrats. The candidates want exposure, but the cost is exposing the audience to a massive slew of Fox News propaganda (this is not the first time a Fox moderator pushed misinformation during a town hall). And this puts the candidates in a lose-lose position. They either need to be able to debunk all the lies off the top of their head (and lose the chance to talk about their policies), or they let the propaganda go by without debunking it. And all the while, Fox News is using the image of the candidate’s appearnance to sell ads, subsidizing the hate from the rest of the network.