Fox News calls Biden vaccine mandate a 'war' on GOP governors

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As it assails mandates, Fox News requires daily screenings of its employees who don't provide evidence of vaccination.

The hosts of Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program lashed out on Friday at President Joe Biden, characterizing his announcement on Thursday of vaccine mandates as a "war" on Republican governors.

"The president does what he does best. He picks out popular Republican governors and he takes them on," complained host Brian Kilmeade.

The right-wing network ran a clip from the speech during which Biden introduced his "Path out of the Pandemic" plan, which requires vaccination or weekly testing of all federal employees and of workers at hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding and private sector companies with 100 or more employees.

In the clip, Biden was shown criticizing the policies of officials like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has threatened to cut the pay of school officials who require that students wear masks.

"School officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs," Biden said. "If these governors won't help us beat the pandemic, I'll use my power as president to get them out of the way. ... Any teacher or school official whose pay is withheld for doing the right thing, we will have that pay restored by the federal government 100%.  I promise you I will have your back."

As Fox showed a montage of photos of Republican governors, host Ainsley Earhardt said, "Here are pictures of all the governors that are opposing the mandate, and the president is declaring war against them, and he's telling them, Get out of my way."

The third host of "Fox & Friends," Steve Doocy, cited supposed polling results, without mentioning sources, regarding vaccine mandates: "Eight in 10 Democrats support mandates, but six in 10 Republicans oppose."

But polling shows that a majority of all Americans support mandates, not just Democrats but independents and a significant number of Republicans as well.

A Gallup poll from Aug. 16-22 found that majorities of Americans surveyed support vaccination requirements for air travel, restaurant dining, and office work. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from Aug. 12-16 found similar levels of support for vaccination in workplaces, schools, stores, restaurants, and hospitals.

Fox News' rhetoric against vaccine mandates runs counter to its policies for its own workers. The company requires daily health screenings for employees, which can be bypassed by presenting proof of vaccination, effectively an in-house "vaccine passport."

In announcing an emergency rule requiring that private sector companies with 100 or more employees mandate vaccination for them, Biden noted, "Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this: United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and even Fox News."

In recent months, a number of states have struggled with coronavirus infection surges while their Republican governors have opposed measures that have been shown to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions. Several cities in the state, including Houston, have defied the ban and imposed mandates.

In Florida, DeSantis has faced legal challenges to his ban on mask mandates. On Sept. 8, a county circuit judge ruled that the state cannot enforce DeSantis' ban in public schools; the case now goes to a Florida district court of appeal.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem complained in August that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "continues to pick on" Republican governors after he criticized Noem's decision to allow the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to go forward without vaccine requirements.

By the end of the month, hospitals in the state were reporting a spike in COVID infections following the rally.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.