On Fox News, Vaccination Pleas Intensify, but Skepticism Persists


Aides to Mr. Biden say they are wary of criticizing Fox News directly, reasoning that it would be counterproductive to promoting a pro-vaccine message to Fox News viewers.

“We need every media platform to step up and ensure their coverage provides accurate, objective information,” a White House spokesman, Kevin Munoz, said in a statement that avoided an aggressive attack against Fox News. “As with any misinformation, we don’t shy away from calling it out.”

Some right-wing media outlets have generated mixed coverage in recent days about vaccines. Breitbart News, for instance, still features articles on its website grouped under the category “Mask/Vax Cult.” But Newsmax, a cable network whose opinion shows run further to the right than Fox News, ran an essay on Tuesday by its chief executive, Christopher Ruddy, that praised Mr. Biden’s vaccination efforts.

“I myself have gotten the Pfizer vaccine,” Mr. Ruddy wrote in the piece, which was published on the Newsmax website. “There’s no question in my mind, countless lives would have been saved if the vaccine was available earlier.”


In an interview, Mr. Ruddy said the White House had not contacted Newsmax regarding its coronavirus coverage. He said he wanted to credit Mr. Biden for “doing a good job,” though he also cautioned that his network would not censor alternative views. “I don’t want to be the thought police,” he said.

Fox News has produced its own 30-second vaccine public service announcement, featuring the hosts and anchors Mr. Doocy, Harris Faulkner, Dana Perino and John Roberts. “If you can, get the vaccine,” Ms. Faulkner says in the ad. The anchor Bret Baier said in April that he was “grateful” to be vaccinated. Mr. Hannity and Mr. Doocy have previously told viewers to consider whether a vaccination would be beneficial to their lives and their families.

On Monday’s “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Doocy echoed government officials in noting that nearly all coronavirus deaths now involve unvaccinated people. After acknowledging that some people, such as pregnant women, might be hesitant, he said: “Everybody else, if you have the chance, get the shot.” Mr. Doocy also cited examples of online disinformation claiming the vaccine is “killing lots of people” or “changes your D.N.A.” or comes with “little microchips.”


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