After doing its best to kill its viewers with disinformation and vaccine fear mongering, Fox & Friends cohost Steve Doocy today, pleaded with viewers to get vaccinated. But cohost Brian Kilmeade kept up the potentially lethal fear mongering.
Last week, Media Matters came out with an eye-popping study that found “Fox undermined vaccination efforts in nearly 60% of all vaccination segments in a 2-week period.” The top purveyor of anti-vaccination disinformation propaganda was Fox & Friends (my emphases added):
The network’s opinion programming aired 80 coronavirus vaccine segments, 69% of which included claims undermining or downplaying vaccines or immunization efforts. Its “news”-side programming aired 49 segments about vaccines, with 39% of those including claims undermining or downplaying vaccines or immunization efforts.
The show with the most vaccine misinformation was the network’s flagship morning program, Fox & Friends. Including its early morning and weekend counterparts, Fox & Friends aired 44 vaccine segments, 52% of which included claims undermining or downplaying vaccines or immunization efforts. Co-host Brian Kilmeade summed up the program’s resistance to vaccination efforts when he described the Biden administration’s campaign to get more Americans vaccinated as “mind boggling.”
Media Matters’ research found that Kilmeade was the worst offender, even beating out prime time disinformers Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson:
Fox hosts Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends and Laura Ingraham of The Ingraham Anglewere the network’s worst offenders. Kilmeade made 22 claims downplaying or undermining vaccines or immunization, and Ingraham made 18 such claims. Other top offenders were hosts Tucker Carlson (11), Rachel Campos-Duffy (11), Pete Hegseth (11), Ainsley Earhardt (11), and Will Cain (10).
As COVID cases rise and vaccination rates have slowed, especially in more conservative areas, Fox’s efforts look like a deliberate effort to sacrifice its viewers on the altar of ratings and anti-Biden politics.
Over the weekend, Dr. Rob Davidson, a Michigan emergency room physician blamed Fox and other right-wing media outlets “for poisoning the minds of millions of Americans with the deceptive propaganda they spray into living rooms 24/7.” He said he hears stories of disinformed patients from other medical professionals every day. Today, Fox’s former chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, blasted Fox’s toxic propaganda on CNN.
It’s hard to know what prompted Fox’s decision to suddenly add pro-vaccination talk to its anti-vaxxing. But this morning, Doocy urged viewers to get vaccinated. But first, Kilmeade made a point of sowing doubt on other public health measures and public health officials in his introduction. He sneered that Trump surgeon general Jerome Adams’ recommendation to wear a mask was “back to the future.” Kilmeade added scornfully, “we remember vividly him saying masks don’t work, then he told us the only reason he told us not to wear a mask is because we didn’t have enough.”
Kilmeade was even more vicious: “When you stop telling people the truth or acknowledging when you said things that were wrong, like Dr. Fauci always does, that’s when people get distrustful.” Funny, I never heard him say anything like that about #LyingKayleighMcEnany or World’s Biggest Liar, Donald Trump.
Despite admitting he’s been vaccinated, Kilmeade continued spewing doubts about the vaccine. At one point he yelled that the (very rare) complications of heart problems are real and not misinformation.
Eventually, Doocy broke in. He pointed out that the pandemic is really among the unvaccinated right now.
Oddly, Kilmeade said, “Thank you.”
“99% of the people who have died have not been vaccinated,” Doocy said. Doocy noted that some people have legitimate health reasons for not getting vaccinated. “Everybody else, if you have the chance, it will save your life,” Doocy said.
Clearly Fox is feeling the heat. That’s no reason to turn it down so long as the Murdochs’ network continues to endanger public health.
You can watch Fox posture as pro-public health even as it tries to undercut it below, from the July 19, 2022 Fox & Friends.