Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters
The Fox Corporation's upcoming annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles will feature something that totally contradicts its own media outlets' right-wing editorial line: vaccination passports, mask requirements, and a variety of other COVID-19 safety measures as part of Fox's health and safety protocols.
The company's blatant hypocrisy is already well-documented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fox News has undermined the Biden administration's vaccination campaign nearly every day in a six-month period, and turned vaccine resisters into culture war heroes. At the same time, the network has practiced COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements that are more stringent than anything mandated by the Biden administration, while also requiring masks in close quarters.
This dichotomy has played out for a quite a while, as Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch stated in a company memo on remote work that "the health and safety of our workforce has remained my priority" while he has also supported prime time host Tucker Carlson's anti-vaccine misinformation. (And moreover, network founder Rupert Murdoch took the vaccine early on, receiving his first dose back in December 2020.)
Indeed, a person can go through the full health and safety protocols memo line by line and demonstrate the ways that the company is not practicing any of what its news network personalities have been preaching to viewers.
The memo makes it clear that the company is complying with public health recommendations and other requirements: "FOX has developed health and safety protocols based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ('CDC'), as well as orders and other directives from state and local governments."
To follow all such policies, however, flies in the face of the network's own commentators calling for "mass resistance," "civil disobedience," and the supposedly urgent need to "fight back" against public health requirements that the company is already implementing for its own workers, executives, and shareholders. Indeed, according to Fox host Laura Ingraham, these requirements are all the products of "small-minded control freaks," and yet the conservative network is still following them.
The memo continues: "The protocols further our goals of preventing COVID-19 exposures in our workplaces, occupied spaces and production areas, reducing the spread of the disease, and managing active cases we may encounter."
Preventing COVID-19 exposure and reducing its spread, however, also contradicts the network hosts and guests who have promoted "natural immunity" — the process by which people develop antibodies after contracting COVID-19 itself — instead of simply getting the vaccine.
In addition to a pre-entry screening for COVID-19 symptoms, stockholders will also have to present either "an original or copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record card from the CDC" or a negative COVID-19 test from the previous 24 hours.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, has defended the usage of "counterfeit vaccine cards" that "might allow people to get around insane vaccine mandates, which are immoral and unconstitutional."
The memo further explains: "If during the course of the health screening process a stockholder does not provide verification that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or acceptable proof of a negative COVID-19 test … they will not be permitted entry into the FOX Studio Lot and will not be able to attend the Annual Meeting."
By contrast, Fox News gave favorable coverage just last week to an anti-vaccine mob that tried to storm the Brooklyn Nets basketball arena in support of benched vaccine refuser Kyrie Irving. Fox hosts and guests have also compared similar vaccine mandates to "medical apartheid" and "Jim Crow."
It turns out that proof of vaccination or a negative test are still not enough, though — the company has a strict masking policy, too: "All stockholders must wear facial coverings while inside buildings at all times on the FOX Studio Lot." (Emphasis in original.)
By contrast, Fox News contributor Charlie Hurt has compared COVID-19 mask mandates to living under the Taliban. (Or, perhaps, just working in a Fox News control room or the company's well-masked offices.)
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