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Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
In a monumental display of hypocrisy on Sunday, a Fox News anchor and his guest attacked President Joe Biden for the fact that America’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 is too low.
“This year we have lost more people in this country to COVID than we did during the first year of the pandemic, when Donald Trump was president — and now we have the vaccines,” anchor Jon Scott said.
Hugo Gurdon, editor-in-chief of the Washington Examiner, further pointed out that “the vaccination rate is only 58 percent here, considerably lower than in other places. So [Biden] hasn't got his arms around it.”
But Fox News itself has undermined the Biden administration’s vaccination campaign relentlessly, running at least one claim that undermined vaccines nearly every day in a six-month period. At the same time, the company has implemented its own stringent health policies, including vaccination and testing mandates and masking at company offices — even as the network has elevated those who refuse the vaccine in other places into culture war heroes, calling for Americans to “fight back.”
Considering that the company is now attacking Biden for his supposed failure to get the whole country vaccinated, it can no longer be denied that the network’s anti-vaccine campaigning is part of a deliberate campaign of political sabotage — even if this could potentially damage its own viewers’ health. (Fox News viewers, meanwhile, have become visibly angry at the few network personalities who encourage vaccination.)
On Sunday’s edition of Fox Report with Jon Scott, the anchor and his guest accused Biden of hypocrisy for implementing travel restrictions on South Africa after that country had identified the new omicron variant of COVID-19. As the conversation progressed, Scott and Gurdon accused Biden of having over-promised the extent to which the country would become vaccinated — ignoring the extent to which the network’s opinion commentators and purported “straight news” anchors have baselessly spread fears about the vaccines.
Upon further thought, the two concluded that Biden could not be specifically blamed “if people don't want to get the vaccine,” but Gurdon insisted that the president still should not have claimed the U.S. would reach his goal of 70% of the population being vaccinated.
As for figuring out whom to blame for continued vaccine hesitancy, though, perhaps they should try watching more Fox News programming, in which the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine for people over age 16 was treated as bad news, and since then vaccinations for children have been relentlessly propagandized against. And in the wake of the omicron variant having been identified, the network’s anti-vaccine misinformation from its hosts and guests still isn’t stopping.
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Congressional Republicans are dishonestly attacking President Joe Biden's effort to slow the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, reviving debunked accusations from the 2020 campaign. They are still false.
On Friday, Biden signed a temporary suspension of some travel from southern African nations where the new omicron variant has been most prevalent. The emergency action, he wrote, was an effort to "swiftly and aggressively to prevent further spread of the disease."
But Republican lawmakers who cheered a similar travel restriction on some visitors from China — implemented by then-President Trump in early 2020 — have attacked Biden's efforts. Trump boasted — without evidence — that his orders saved 2 million lives.
"Almost two years ago, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris called President Trump a racist for protecting Americans by restricting travel for those entering the U.S. as the pandemic began," tweeted Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn on Sunday "Now, they're doing the exact same thing."
"When President Trump took bold and decisive action in February 2020 to impose travel restrictions into the United States from coronavirus hot spots, Joe Biden attacked him, calling this decision a disgrace and xenophobic," claimed House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.
North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn retweeted former President Donald Trump's leadership PAC, which wrote that "Joe Biden is now using the Trump policies he once criticized. HYPOCRITE!"
"I had Biden calling me xenophobic," he claimed in a March 2020 Fox News appearance. "He called me a racist, because of the fact that he felt it was a racist thing to stop people from China coming in."
In their first debate last September, Trump scolded Biden, saying, "I closed it and you said, 'He's xenophobic. He's a racist and he's xenophobic,' because you didn't think I should have closed our country."
But independent fact-checkers debunked these statements, noting that Biden warned in late January 2020 that it was "no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia, and fear-mongering to lead the way instead of science" and criticized Trump's racist use of the term "Chinese virus," but never attacked the travel restrictions.
Indeed Biden's campaign said last April that he "supports travel bans that are guided by medical experts, advocated by public health officials, and backed by a full strategy."
Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL) tweeted Monday, "President Biden has banned travel from 8 countries in Africa due to the new COVID variant. But when President Trump did the same thing, it was a 'disgrace.'"
He linked to a Feb. 1, 2020 tweet from Biden, criticizing Trump's travel restrictions on people from six African countries with significant Muslim populations. But that "Africa Ban" had nothing to do with the coronavirus and was — according to Trump — entirely about addressing those nation's alleged "deficiencies in sharing terrorist, criminal, or identity information."
On Saturday, Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) — Trump's former White House doctor and his unsuccessful pick to be secretary of veterans zffairs — baselessly suggested that the omicron variant is just a Democratic ploy to stay in power. "Here comes the MEV - the Midterm Election Variant! They NEED a reason to push unsolicited nationwide mail-in ballots. Democrats will do anything to CHEAT during an election - but we're not going to let them!"
One expert told the Washington Post that it's possible Biden's ban might slow the variants spread in the United States by days or weeks, as the public health community rushes to understand its impact. But some public health experts warn that travel bans like this can undermine scientific transparency and African leaders say they are not justified by science.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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