Fox News rolled out a new public service announcement on Wednesday to encourage viewers to get a Covid-19 vaccine. “America, we’re in this together,” Steve Doocy said in the ad. “If you can, get the vaccine,” Harris Faulkner said.
He did it by bashing CNN: He said that “as a channel, CNN shouldn’t have a position on whether you should take medicine or not, because it’s a news channel, it’s not a health agency.” A little bit later, he added, “Why is a news channel doing this? Any news channel. A lot of them are.”
Yes, including Fox. Yet Carlson is objecting. I’d like to know how Doocy and Faulkner feel about Carlson’s reckless rhetoric…
“The exact opposite message”
Over on CNN, at the same time as Carlson’s rant, President Biden was speaking at a town hall and giving Fox some backhanded credit for changing its tune about vaccines.
“One of those other networks is not a big fan of mine, uh, one you talk about a lot,” he said, looking at moderator Don Lemon, “but if you notice, as they say in the southern part of my state, they’ve had an altar call, some of those guys. All of a sudden they’re out there saying, ‘Let’s get vaccinated. Let’s get vaccinated.’ The very people who before this were saying — so that — but that — I shouldn’t make fun of it. That’s good. It’s good. It’s good. We just have to keep telling the truth.”
Yes, there’s been a slight change in Fox’s tune, as I wrote in yesterday’s newsletter. I checked the TVEyes database to confirm this: Fox shows have plugged Vaccines.gov at least 7 times this week, after going 6 weeks without mentioning the site at all. No matter what, “this is a good thing,” Anderson Cooper said on CNN. His guest, Dr. Peter Hotez, said this shift “was clearly at the direction” of Fox management, after an earlier “systematic effort to delegitimize scientists.”
The shift is a welcome sign. But some of the news coverage has overstated the change. Fox’s highest-rated shows, starting with Carlson’s, are still spreading anti-vax storylines, as I described up above. Immediately after the town hall, CNN’s Dana Bash noted that on Fox “the exact opposite message was being sent as the president was speaking on CNN.” Arguably Biden gave the network way too much credit…
FOR THE RECORD
— Lemon expertly moderated Wednesday’s event in Cincinnati, and noted at the outset that the audience was fully vaccinated…
“The rest of the world’s wondering about us”
>> Biden’s key quote: Democracy “has to stand up and demonstrate it can get something done…”
The “disinformation dozen” is being overhyped