Is the Biden Admin Threatening the Media Against Covering Democratic Primary Challenger Dean Phillips?

AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough

The Democrat Party has made it clear that it will not allow for a primary challenge of President Joe Biden. That led challengers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to change party affiliations, but it has not deterred Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) from throwing his hat in the ring.

The three-term congressman from Minnesota’s third congressional district first hinted at a run last summer, but he made his candidacy official in late October. He joined Marianne Williamson as Biden’s main primary opponents.

But the campaign trail has not been easy for Phillips thanks in no small part to the lack of media attention he has received. On Wednesday’s show, he joined Megyn to talk about why he is running against Biden and the blowback he has received for doing so.

Dean Phillips 2024

The former chairman and co-owner of Talenti Gelato, Phillips is forgoing his reelection to the House in favor of a self-funded presidential run. “I’ve torpedoed my career in Congress by design by challenging the president,” he admitted. “I wish we had more people in Washington that would knowingly torpedo their career to get something done.”

He is running because he does not believe President Biden can win in November – including against former President Donald Trump, who he considers a threat to democracy. Phillips has been focusing on New Hampshire’s Democratic primary on January 23 because Biden will not officially appear on the ballot. He is polling at 9.8 percent based on the RealClearPolitics average.

Whisper Campaign?

While he was once considered a rising star in the Democrat Party, things have changed. In challenging Biden, Phillips said he knew the party “would completely disenfranchise” him in a way that “would be hard to come back” from. While he “expected” to face pushback, it is unclear if he totally understood what he was in for.

The 2024 hopeful said he believes there have been some “behind the scenes tactics” to quiet his campaign. “The inability to attract any media interest is actually a function of the strategy of telling donors, telling media hosts, telling networks, that they better be careful; that if they platform me or support me because they’re watching,” he said. 

Phillips has a theory as for why the networks are staying away. “The lifeblood of Fox or MSNBC is access to the administration – information and people,” he explained. “If you do something to risk that flow, you’re literally risking billions of dollars of revenue.”

When Megyn asked explicitly if he thinks “the White House has given a warning to the CNNs and MSNBCs of the world… and maybe the broadcast channels too,” Phillips stopped short of saying yes. “Until I see hard evidence of anything, I will not say with absolute certainty,” he concluded. “But do I have anecdotal evidence? Lots of it, yes. That’s how the game works.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Rep. Phillips by tuning in to episode 699 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.