Former Clinton Aide Urges Democrats to Avoid Fox News: 'Corrupt Enterprise, Not a Journalism Company'

Pete Buttigieg, Chris Wallace
Fox News' Chris Wallace (right) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (left) during a town hall with Fox News in Claremont, New Hampshire, on May 18. Sarah Rice/Getty Images

Bill Clinton's former White House press secretary has urged Democrats to avoid appearing on Fox News, suggesting it is a "corrupt enterprise."

Joe Lockhart, who served in the Clinton administration between 1998 and 2000, warned Democratic presidential hopefuls against accepting invitations from the network.

"Fox News is a corrupt enterprise," Lockhart told CNN's New Day on Monday morning.

"I think it is not a journalism company."

He elaborated on his opinion, suggesting Fox News was responsible for spreading disinformation.

"It's a company that was built by Roger Ailes in order to promote conservative Republican political ideas, and in prime time they spread the kind of disinformation that actually worked with the Russians to sow dissent in this country," Lockhart continued.

"Democrats should avoid going on... like they should avoid being involved with any other corrupt enterprise."

Lockhart's comments arrived just a day after Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg agreed to answer questions from New Hampshire voters at an event moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace.

A number of Democrats called for a boycott of the network. In March, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said the party was ready to turn down Fox News' requests to host the primary debates, as the party cannot rely on Fox to host a "fair and neutral debate."

Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) declined to appear at an event similar to the one that featured her fellow candidate, describing the network as a "hate-for-profit racket."

Warren said Fox News was "designed to turn us against each other" and to "provide cover for the corruption that's rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class."

However, Buttigieg insisted he was happy to feature on Fox News, saying a number of viewers were watching "in good faith" and deserved to hear Democratic candidates.

At the same time, the 37-year-old also used his appearance as an opportunity to strongly criticize two of Fox News' most prominent hosts.

"I get where that's coming from, especially when you see what goes on with some opinion hosts on this network," said Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

"I mean, when you've got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty. When you've got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps.

"There is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem."

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are among the Democratic candidates that appeared on meetings moderated by the network.