If you watched Fox News’ reaction to President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress last night, you might have thought the most important – and worst - thing about the speech was that face masks and social distancing portrayed the country as “at a weak point.”
There was quite a bit of substance in Biden’s speech last night. And the Foxies probably knew it would be very popular with viewers. So it was no surprise that “objective” host Martha MacCallum dug right in on a favorite right-wing bugaboo in her opening comments:
MACCALLUM: I think it’s worth noting at the top, just the feel of this room and the fact that he talked a lot in the beginning about COVID, about pulling through COVID, and getting through this era that really marked so much of his candidacy, and yet you have this new CDC guidance that came out just this week, which said, and I'll read it to you, “Fullly vaccinated people can visit other fully vaccinated people indoors, without wearing masks or social distancing.”
So, you just have to ask yourself if this is setting an example, looking forward for the country, of what everyone can expect the country to be like in this period now where people now have very open availablity to vaccines.
The panel complained about other aspects of the speech: “We didn’t learn a ton,” cohost Bret Baier sniped. Brit Hume got appreciative chuckles from the rest of the panel when he sneered, “I felt about this one the same way I felt about nearly all the rest of them. The best thing about it was that it is that it’s over.” I guarantee you that Hume never said that about a single Trump address. But with a Democrat in office, Hume continued griping, while feigning bothsidesism: “It’s never very fun to listen to no matter who’s giving the speech and this was no exception.”
Hume also groused that Biden didn’t provide a “grace note” and credit Trump as “the guy that believed we could, on an accelerated basis, produce a vaccine in an unheard of brief period of time.” Biden also didn’t point out that Trump lied to the public about the seriousness of the pandemic, that he and his family repeatedly insisted it would disappear, and that he promoted dangerous so-called cures. So maybe Hume should have provided a “grace note” and credited Biden for doing such a great job after Trump's disastrous mismanagement.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace’s opinion was surely a downer for this crowd: “You know, I think this is going to be a popular speech with the American public,” he said. However, he took his own swipe at Biden, saying he “offered a lot of stuff” and told the public “you’re not gonna have to pay for it” because big corporations and people earning more than $400,000 will.
Panelist Katie Pavlich saved her comments about the substance of the speech until after she did her part to demonize health and safety measures.
PAVLICH: I want to talk about what I'm seeing and, you know, Martha, you mentioned these people who are all vaccinated, being indoors, socially distancing with their masks on. That's against CDC guidance. And it's not just that that's theater, it actually shows that the United States is at a weak point when the Congress can't show up in full to show that the United States is standing strong after coming out of a pandemic that was caused by China. I mean, if you give a joint address to a Congress that is not even half full, does it really even count as a joint address to Congress? I mean, I think that's really a question.
FACT CHECK: It is not against CDC guidelines to wear masks indoors. In fact, CDC specifically recommends vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear face masks at an “uncrowded indoor shopping center or museum.” That’s roughly analogous to the socially distant crowd at the Capitol last night. Furthermore, it seems neither Pavlich nor MacCallum knew for sure everybody in the room was vaccinated.
Pavlich went on to fear monger that “rushing through trillion-dollar bills without a single Republican vote” is not democracy and Biden’s plan will result in Americans paying “through the death tax and losing your family farm.”
The lone Democrat on the panel, former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., now a Fox News contributor, was the last to speak. He praised Biden’s speech as directed to the "middle class in mainstream America." But Ford never challenged the pro-death spin on face masks nor any of the other right-wing malice. Instead, he gave a gratuitous shoutout to it by agreeing that Hume “was right, too, in large part that people are glad the speech is over.”
But Ford forfeited some of his own credibility by going along with the charade that Fox is a legitimate news outlet. Sure, this was an example where it performed some news functions. But let’s not forget that, while everyone was waiting for Biden to arrive at the Capitol, a Fox producer placed a graphic on the screen stating, “AWAITING BIDEN ADMIN PROPAGANDA ON CAP HILL.”
If that’s not enough to keep you from joining the team, it should at least be enough to prompt you to speak out against the propaganda and disinformation.
You can watch the latest in Fox’s pro-death agenda below, from the April 28, 2021 “reaction” to Biden’s address last night.
Vaccinated people have a lot of protection with these vaccines but it is not 100% and nobody knows if they will work as well with the variants. This sort of stupidity – wilful or not – is guaranteed to extend the life of the pandemic.