White House praises Fox for its new Covid policy, encourages network to 'convey to their audience' why it's effective

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

© Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images NEW YORK CITY, NY, UNITED STATES – 2020/02/17: A view of an american conservative cable television news channel Fox News logo. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Fox is earning some rare praise from the White House after essentially admitting on Tuesday that it will follow the protocols pushed by the Biden administration to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In a memo I obtained, Fox Corp. human resources chief Kevin Lord effectively communicated to employees that they all face a choice: Get vaccinated or face a daily Covid-19 test.

Lord told staffers that after the company asked employees to report their vaccination status, more than 90% of full-time Fox staffers “reported that they are fully vaccinated.” Lord then explained that “soon” the company will introduce daily testing for the staffers “who are not vaccinated or have not provided their vaccination status.” Lord said “additional details about this protocol” would be “shared with the relevant employees in the near future.”

In effect, Fox has adopted a more stringent version of the vaccine and testing mandate President Biden announced last week — the mandate that the company’s loudest voices have trashed and deemed to be nonsensical and “authoritarian.” While Biden pushed a vaccination or weekly testing requirement, Fox is saying it will implement a vaccination or daily testing requirement for unvaccinated staff.

All of this has prompted the White House to offer some praise to the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company, while also issuing a challenge to it: “Today’s news from Fox News follows a trend we’re seeing across the country: vaccination and testing requirements work,” a White House spokesperson told me Tuesday night. “We are glad they have stepped up to protect their workforce and strengthen the economy, and we encourage them convey to their audience that these types of practices will protect their employees, their communities, and the economy…”

The hypocrisy should be no surprise

Throughout the pandemic, Fox has privately implemented common sense health measures to protect its employees, while simultaneously allowing its most influential hosts and personalities to publicly trash such measures. It has been true for face masks. It has been true for the concept of vaccine passports. And now it is true regarding vaccines and testing. Which is all to say, that while it would be nice if Fox’s biggest stars did encourage its audience to follow basic health precautions — as the White House is challenging the company to do — I will not hold my breath…

>> Related: Here’s a thread from Andrew Lawrence showing the network attack Biden’s vaccine/testing mandate Tuesday night while it implements a version of it…


NBC delays “full company reopening” to 2022

NBCUniversal exec Adam Miller announced in a Tuesday memo to staff that the company is “moving our full company reopening to January.” Miller cited “the prevalence of the Delta variant and increasing number of breakthrough cases” that “caused us to amend our plans.” That said, Miller noted some employees have been participating in the company’s “soft reopening” and said the hope is to “bring even more” employees to offices in mid-October…

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