He’s right, Biden did lie.
Or, if you want to be charitable, our 78-year-old president got … “confused” about what Fox’s actual policy is.
Still, I’m surprised Carlson called out Biden on it since doing so invites a fact-check about the vaccine rules at Fox. And those rules won’t make anti-vaxxers happy. Watch.
“Fox News requires vaccinations for all their employees,” Biden laughed. Wrong. But it’s telling that Tucker didn’t elaborate on what, specifically, was incorrect about what Biden said. I think he wanted his audience to come away believing there are no COVID rules at all at Fox, that Biden had conjured the idea of a vaccine mandate inside the company out of thin air. And who could blame viewers for assuming that? Given the amount of vaccine skepticism in primetime, especially on Carlson’s show, it seems preposterous that the company would pressure its workers to get vaccinated. Upon being told that it does, most Fox fans would understandably have the same incredulous reaction that Todd Starnes did last month:
Biden says even @FoxNews has a mandatory vaccine policy. Is that true? That can't be true. Have Hannity and Tucker and the others gotten the vaccine? That just can't be true.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 9, 2021
It can’t be true. It would be absurd to have Tucker rallying viewers to question the vaccine while Fox management was quietly telling staff to get the shots or else.
The truth is that Fox doesn’t have a strict vaccine mandate, as Biden implied. It has a vax-or-test mandate. But that mandate is onerous as far as these things go: If you don’t get the jab you need to get tested every day.
Kevin Lord, executive vice president of human resources at Fox News parent Fox Corp., said in a memo this week the company will be requiring all unvaccinated employees to be tested each day — not just once a week — in order to work in company facilities. The policy was first reported by CNN.
Fox last month required employees to report evidence of their status, and Lord said more than 90% of full-time employees have been fully vaccinated…
Fox was attacked from the right by a former employee, Eric Bolling. Now on the conservative network Newsmax, Bolling said Wednesday night that network leaders are pushing the wrong policies.
“So while Fox hosts bemoan and complain about the liberals who are forcing Americans to get vaccinated, they themselves are doing the same thing — and that is the textbook definition of hypocrisy,” he said.
Why didn’t Tucker make that clear during his comments last night? Because he knows that Biden’s own federal vaccine mandate is less burdensome than Fox’s. The federal mandate requires vaccination or a test every week.
If Carlson rightly believes that Fox’s vax-or-test-daily mandate doesn’t “require” workers to get vaccinated, how can he believe that Biden’s vax-or-test-weekly mandate does? Yet he and other Fox hosts do believe it, as Aaron Blake notes:
“Democrats’ plan to ensure that companies end up enforcing Biden’s vaccine mandate is to bankrupt the ones that don’t,” Fox host Laura Ingraham said Sept. 30…
“Joe, you canceled all medical freedom today with your broad edict and your mandates, one-size-fits-all medicine,” Sean Hannity said the same day. “You eliminated medical privacy. You eliminated all doctor-patient confidentiality.”
“So Joe Biden’s order forcing a hundred million Americans to take the covid shot is totally insane as a matter of public health,” Carlson said in mid-September.
Biden’s vax-or-test mandate doesn’t actually force anyone to get the shot, Blake points out, just as Fox’s mandate doesn’t. Each one provides a testing alternative. So why is one “totally insane” and the other unobjectionable?
The answer should be that the federal government is abusing its enumerated constitutional powers by trying to pressure Americans into getting vaccinated whereas a private entity like Fox is doing no such thing with respect to its own employees. But as I’ve detailed before, Fox primetime’s objections to vaccine mandates have less to do with who’s imposing them than that they’re being imposed at all. Just last night, at least three anti-vax guests who work for private companies were featured on Fox for resisting their employers’ mandates. Biden had nothing to do with it. The core populist objection to the federal mandate isn’t that it’s a case of government overreach, it’s that it’s an attempt to coerce unvaccinated individuals into getting a medical treatment they don’t want. That logic applies equally to private mandates.
But fair is fair: Biden did misstate the Fox policy. That’s just one more reason why Americans don’t trust him as much on COVID anymore.
He all but declared “mission accomplished” when the CDC announced in May that the vaccinated could safely unmask, only to have the emergence of Delta suddenly drown Americans’ hopes for a rapid return to normalcy. (In June, Axios found 36 percent thought they’d be back to their pre-pandemic normal within six months; today just 13 percent say so.) Then he and his scientific bureaucracy took a month to get on the same page about booster shots. Lately Americans are absorbing daily news about breakthrough infections and wondering if the vaccines work as well as originally advertised. All of that has taken a toll on the president’s credibility. Even within Biden’s own party, the share who say they have a “great deal” of trust in him on COVID has fallen from 45 percent in June to 33 percent today. A notable quote from Axios: “In the absence of a villain, Democrats are kind of turning on the president because they don’t know who else to blame.” Biden had better hope that Scott Gottlieb is right that we’re in our last major wave of the disease now. If the virus is still raging in his second year in office, his core promise to get the virus under control will have proven to be a bust.