Fox News upset other networks didn't spend more time attacking Obama's birthday

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Fox News is charging other networks with having political motivations for not covering Barack Obama's scaled-down party over the weekend.

Fox News on Monday complained that other cable news networks had not devoted as much airtime as it had to former President Barack Obama's 60th birthday party.

The party was held on Saturday at the Obamas' home on Martha's Vineyard. Originally planned for 475 guests and 200 staff, according to the Martha's Vineyard Times, it had been scaled down to just family and friends in response to the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

"Here is the coverage by network," said "America's Newsroom" host Bill Hemmer, running down the number of minutes various networks had dedicated to coverage of the event. "Are you ready? MSNBC, two minutes and 45 seconds; CNN, five minutes; Fox News Channel, 17 minutes and 35 seconds," Hemmer concluded, laughing and asking his guest, Joe Concha, a former staff writer for the Hill, "You want to make sense of this?"

"Oh, well, it seems this is being ignored for some reason. Wonder why that is?" Concha said:

No mention of Obamafest anywhere in the Sunday talk shows either, and instead I'm watching Chuck Todd ... on 'Meet the Press,' and he broached instead the Sturgis biker rally in an interview with the ubiquitous Dr. Fauci, and Fauci went off on the biker rally but didn't bring up the former president's maskless megaparty, so it may lead to an increasing number of people starting to think that the doctor is seeing things through a political prism than a scientific one.

While the city of Sturgis, South Dakota, the site of the annual motorcycle rally mentioned by Concha, was offering free COVID test kits to people who suspect they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem encouraged people to come to the event, for which neither testing nor vaccination is required and other safety measures are optional. "There's a risk associated with everything that we do in life. Bikers get that better than anyone," Noem tweeted last week.

On the Fox News program "Outnumbered," which aired an hour after Concha made his remarks, host and former Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany introduced a segment by saying, "Critics are slamming former President Barack Obama for reportedly hosting hundreds of guests and dancing without a mask at his celebrity-filled 60th birthday bash."

During the segment, Fox medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier said of the Obamas' event:

Good for them. They're in Massachusetts, they have a low testing positivity rate, they have low hospitalizations, low deaths, high vaccination rates in Massachusetts, just like many other areas in the Northeast. I think this sets a great example that people actually can gather together. The safest way to do that is if the majority are vaccinated, to add another level of protection, would have a rapid test before you go to the event, but I think this was a great thing, and I think that the rest of the country should be taking note of this, because this can happen.

Although she is now airing criticism of Obama for an event that even a Fox medical contributor says was appropriate during the pandemic, McEnany herself announced in October 2020 that she had been infected with the coronavirus. Her diagnosis was reported after she attended a Rose Garden ceremony later determined to be the source of several dozen new infections.

Reporters who worked alongside her reported their anger at the news, noting that she rarely wore a mask and could have exposed them to the coronavirus.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.