Fox News Urges 'Fight Back' Against Its Own Corporate Pandemic Policies
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
Fox News' hypocrisy is on full display in its outraged coverage of President Joe Biden's announcement yesterday that large businesses would now be required to have their workers either be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19 — something that Fox News has already been doing for months.
Previously, the network had attacked Biden for instituting a similar policy for the federal workforce. But it was also first reported two months ago that Fox News has used an internal program called the "Fox Clear Pass," in which employees who provide their proof of vaccination could bypass daily health screenings — a policy that stands in stark contrast to the network's relentless fearmongering about vaccine passports. And three weeks ago, Fox employees were further required to upload their vaccination status into a human resources database.
Meanwhile, the network's content has relentlessly undermined vaccination efforts, celebrated people who refuse to take the vaccines, and even encouraged the use of counterfeit vaccination cards — all acts that Fox's own human resources department would likely frown upon.
Biden announced in his speech Thursday that over 175 million Americans are now fully protected by the vaccine, "Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective, and free." He also noted that his policy lined up with what a certain company has been doing for its own workforce.
"Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this," Biden said. "United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Foods, and even Fox News."
But faced with the choice of either acknowledging that fact, or stirring up the fringe who continue to refuse safe, effective vaccines and even the most basic public health measures, Fox News has chosen the latter.
On Thursday night's edition of Fox News Primetime, rotating host Rachel Campos-Duffy bemoaned that Americans have been compliant for too long, and asked Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich whether Americans would start to "fight back" against these requirements. Neither of the two commentators acknowledged that they work for a network that has already been practicing these rules, which they have both presumably been "compliant" with in one manner or another.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY (HOST): Katie, I've just been really surprised throughout this pandemic of how compliant Americans have been, especially young people. How do we fight back? What is going to be the final straw before Americans say enough is enough?
KATIE PAVLICH (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think a lot of Americans are fighting back and saying enough is enough.
On a side note, Pavlich then claimed that the U.S. Postal Service union was exempted from the new rule — seemingly based on a false report and a misunderstanding of the legal nature of the USPS workforce — claiming this as evidence to declare that "we do know that people are fighting back."
And on Tucker Carlson Tonight guest host Jesse Watters spoke with former Trump campaign legal adviser Harmeet Dhillon, who said that she already had "multiple clients" asking to file a legal challenge to the regulations once they were formally issued. (The two also discussed the supposed "carveout" for postal workers.)
The two went on to say that this policy would be impossible for companies' human resources departments to actually administer. But then again, any such company that actually does find this task difficult could just ask Fox News for advice.
JESSE WATTERS (GUEST HOST): And I think if you can listen closely, you can hear every HR department in the country go hit the liquor cabinet after this, because it's going to be -- it's going to get rowdy in the workplace.
HARMEET DHILLON (FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LEGAL ADVISER): It's that bad, and I'm an employer.
DHILLON: It is going to be impossible to administer this and who are the police going to be policing it? And who is going to pay the cost of it? It is effectively a tax on the American employer, and I think it's not going to fly, frankly.
WATTERS: I would agree.
Fox host Sean Hannity also protested Biden's announcement that "scolded we, the American people," and "vilified the unvaccinated," adding: "Joe, you cancelled all medical freedom today with your broad edict and your mandates, one-size-fits-all medicine. You eliminated medical privacy. You eliminated all doctor-patient confidentiality" — in which case Hannity ought to also speak to his own company's HR department.
And on The Ingraham Angle, Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway compared the vaccine and testing mandates to "fascism," and said it would "require everybody to stand up and resist and fight." (Still no word on whether Hemingway plans to stop going on Fox News, for its own role in having practiced these exact policies even before the "fascist" government order came down to everybody else.)
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY (THE FEDERALIST): It's just amazing that for four years, every time there was a mean tweet we were told that it was fascism come to America. And then you actually have the government ordering corporations what to do, telling individuals what to do, and the same people who were hysterical for the last four years don't seem to notice what's happening. This is a tremendous assault on American constitutional governance. It's going to require everybody to stand up and resist and fight. But we can't count on anyone in the media because they believe their job is to support one political party over its political opponents and they will paper over all these things that just a few years ago they would have thought horrific and unacceptable of any president.
This blatant lack of self-awareness continued into the morning. Introducing a news update on Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said that Biden's order "could put jobs on the line for millions of hard-working Americans who will not have a choice."
Fox News correspondent Mark Meredith also attempted to turn this into a political gotcha moment, in line with the network's efforts to scaepgoat undocumented immigrants for COVID-19 infections despite a total lack of validity.
"Some people were noting that in the speech last night, there was no mention of requiring migrants crossing into the U.S. to get the jab," Meredith said — though one could suppose that this problem would be solved if any of them were to apply for jobs at Fox News.
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