Administration

White House has reached out to Fox, other networks on vaccines

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The White House is regularly in touch with Fox News and other networks about their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, after a report there have been talks between high level administration officials and executives at Fox over its programming on vaccines.

“We’ve been in touch with every network and many, many media outlets about coverage of COVID-19 to make sure people have accurate information, to voice concerns when we have them, and I think you all know we’re never shy when we have an issue with a story,” Psaki said at a briefing with reporters.

“That’s really the frame we’re looking at here,” she continued. “We understand also the importance of reaching Fox’s audience about the COVID-19 vaccines and their benefits. And like we are with all of you here today, we of course are in regular contact and we also make efforts to have officials out on a range of networks to talk about COVID-19. We don’t see it as a partisan issue, we don’t see vaccines as a political issue. It’s an issue about keeping Americans safe.”

A Fox News media spokesperson denied reporting from CNN that there have been high-level talks between network officials and administration officials about pandemic and vaccine-related programming.

“We had one routine briefing with the White House in early May on vaccination rates and our DC bureau personnel are regularly in touch with them on a variety of issues, as is the case with every other network,” the spokesperson said.

Fox’s conservative opinion programming in particular has featured mixed messaging about the effectiveness of vaccines at a time when the White House is working to overcome hesitancy among many Americans to get the shot.

Sean Hannity, a prime-time host at Fox, directly encouraged viewers on Monday night’s show to take the pandemic seriously.

“Please take COVID seriously,” Hannity said. “I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death.”
 
“I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination,” he added.

Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, two other conservative prime-time hosts, have regularly disparaged vaccine mandates and argued viewers should not feel compelled to get the shot. 

Other personalities on Fox have pushed vaccines by putting their own vaccinations on their social media channels and talking up vaccines on the air.

Steve Doocy, a co-host of “Fox & Friends,” urged viewers on Monday morning to get the shot. Co-host Brian Kilmeade then chimed in and noted they are not doctors.

The White House has in recent days ratcheted up its efforts to curb the spread of misinformation about the pandemic, calling on social media platforms and news outlets to police misleading or false information about the vaccines or pandemic.

Updated: 3:49 p.m.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Fox News Jen Psaki Laura Ingraham Sean Hannity Tucker Carlson
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