It’s a tale of two standards: one for Fox News employees, the other for their audience.
On Tuesday, CNN’s Oliver Darcy obtained a memo from the head of human resources at Fox Corporation, Kevin Lord. It reveals that 90% of full-time Fox staffers are vaccinated, a number tallied after the company asked employees to self-report their inoculation status.
The memo explains that staffers who have not shown proof of vaccination must soon submit to daily COVID-19 tests.
In effect, Fox has adopted a more stringent version of the vaccine and testing mandate President Biden announced last week — the mandate that the company’s loudest voices have trashed and deemed to be nonsensical and “authoritarian.” While Biden pushed a vaccination or weekly testing requirement, Fox is saying it will implement a vaccination or daily testing requirement for unvaccinated staff.
The new Fox policy is out of sync with the anti-science opinions expressed by many of their most prominent on-air voices. Tucker Carlson has long muddied the waters on the efficacy of vaccines, going so far as to defend fake vaccination cards as a legitimate way to undermine vaccine mandates.
Meanwhile, after Biden announced new vaccine requirements last week, a series of Fox News graphics described the president as an “authoritarian” who “declare[d] war on millions of Americans” and “shame[d] the unvaccinated.”
The Daily Beast has more on Fox News’ anti-mandate sentiment:
Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy and contributor Katie Pavlich, meanwhile, have urged viewers to “fight back” against the requirements that mirror their own employer’s, wondering aloud when people will say “enough is enough.”
And later Thursday night, Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway likened Biden’s new rules to “fascism,” adding that it would “require everybody to stand up and resist and fight.”
The following evening, Campos-Duffy, who has also compared vaccine mandates to apartheid, again blasted the vaccine policy as taking “authoritarianism to a whole new level by forcing vaccines on millions of Americans.” Separately, warned Hannity, “you will be canceled” and the government will target “your loved ones” if you don’t get vaccinated.
Again, these Fox News personalities are reacting to a government policy that is less imposing than the one their employer has adopted.
The White House has noticed the hypocrisy:
“Today’s news from Fox News follows a trend we’re seeing across the country: vaccination and testing requirements work,” a White House spokesperson told Darcy Tuesday night. “We are glad they have stepped up to protect their workforce and strengthen the economy, and we encourage them convey to their audience that these types of practices will protect their employees, their communities, and the economy…”
Fox has privately implemented common sense health measures to protect its employees, while simultaneously allowing its most influential hosts and personalities to publicly trash such measures. It has been true for face masks. It has been true for the concept of vaccine passports. And now it is true regarding vaccines and testing. Which is all to say, that while it would be nice if Fox’s biggest stars did encourage its audience to follow basic health precautions — as the White House is challenging the company to do — I will not hold my breath…