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Well, this was predictable: Following President Joe Biden’s announcement of a plan to encourage vaccinations, including requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated, Fox News—whom Biden called out by name for its own restrictive vaccine policies—absolutely lost it.
Biden’s plan to boost vaccinations after the emergence of the Delta variant went further than many expected Thursday, as the administration will require companies with more than 100 employees to require their employees to get vaccinated or tested weekly.
"Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this: United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Food, and even Fox News," Biden said Thursday evening.
While Fox News doesn’t actually have a mandate such as the one Biden describes, it does require employee to disclose their vaccination status and has a version of a vaccine passport for employees, allowing vaccinated people who self-report their status to bypass health screenings, CNN reported. grants.
Apparently, Fox News did not take kindly to being called out by name. Sean Hannity, one of the network’s biggest stars, claimed “Democrats and the media made COVID political.”
“No vaccine mandates, now vaccine mandates. No vaccine passports, now they condone and encourage local vaccine passports,” Hannity said. “They created COVID hesitancy, they did this. They will say conservatives did this. No, you did this.”
Before taking office, Biden said there would be no vaccine mandate, and initially championed more incentivize-based approaches to encouraging vaccinations. But five months after vaccines became widely available, just 53 percent of the country has been fully vaccinated, and the emergence of the Delta variant has overwhelmed hospitals in the South and Northwest and threatened the still-tenuous economic recovery.
Appearing on a Tucker Carlson-less ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ Thursday, far-right internet personality Matt Walsh called Biden a “rotting bag of oatmeal” and “the real tyrant” compared with former President Donald Trump, the “least tyrannical president we’ve had in a very long time.”
Dr. Harvey Risch, a Yale epidemiologist who previously boosted hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus remedy, went on Fox News to claim that “the only way we will get out of this whole COVID pandemic is having a large amount of natural immunity throughout the population.” A CDC study published last month reported that the vaccines are better than natural immunity at preventing reinfection from COVID-19.
Rep. Claudia Tenney, a New York Republican, appeared on the network and called the administration an “authoritarian regime, full-on” and claimed her phone was “blowing up” with people, including Democrats she knows, who were telling her it was “unacceptable.”
“There’s no science to back this kind of move,” Tenney, who said she was vaccinated and called vaccines “fairly effective,” told Fox News.
Tenney was far from the only Republican politician to criticize Biden’s plan Thursday. J.D. Vance, the venture capitalist and ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author now running for Senate in Ohio, released a statement saying the mandate was “morally reprehensible” and calling for “mass civil disobedience” against the mandates. “I have a simple message for America’s business community: DO NOT COMPLY,” Vance wrote.
“Do not comply with the mandates. Do not pay the government fines. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied & controlled,” Vance, who wrote in an April Fox News op-ed that he was “willing to take” the “unknown risk” of the vaccine on himself, said. “Only mass civil disobedience will save us from Joe Biden’s naked authoritarianism."
Fox News did not immediately respond to questions asking whether it would comply with the mandate. At least one conservative outlet, however, has already said it wouldn’t.
The Daily Wire, a right-wing news site founded by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, said Thursday it won’t comply and is preparing for a legal battle, with CEO Jeremy Boreing calling it “unconstitutional and tyrannical.”