After the pandemic's deadliest day yet, Fox News promotes a business flouting basic COVID-19 protocols
Update: Fox touted a Staten Island bar for defying COVID-19 protocols. The co-owner was just arrested for allegedly driving into a Sheriff's Deputy after fleeing authorities who tried to enforce the protocols.
Update (12/6/20): On December 6, Mac’s Pub owner Daniel Presti allegedly hit a sheriff’s deputy with his car, injuring him.
As NBC New York reported:
The NYC Sheriff's Office said deputies attempted to take Daniel Presti, 34, into custody just after midnight Sunday after observing patrons entering Mac's Public House via an empty commercial space next door.
On identifying themselves, the Sheriff's Office said, Presti allegedly fled on foot, got into his car, drove into one of the deputies, and then continued driving with the injured deputy clinging to the hood.
Deputies were eventually able to stop the car and take Presti into custody; charges are pending, and the injured deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Video posted by PIX11 News apparently showed people entering into Mac’s through the commercial space.
COVID-19 killed over 2,700 Americans on December 2, the United States’ deadliest day of the pandemic yet. Also on December 2, and December 3, Fox News continued its promotion of a Staten Island bar whose co-owner was arrested for operating without a liquor license, which they lost earlier for flouting public health restrictions against indoor dining.
Fox News went through a similar cycle of promoting a business for flouting COVID-19 regulations in May, centered on a New Jersey gym that reopened despite orders to shut down due to ignoring pandemic guidelines.
On December 2, Fox’s talk show The Five celebrated the bar owners for declaring their space an “autonomous zone,” a reference to a summer protest in Seattle which many Fox figures denounced as an attack on the rule of law. Co-host Jesse Watters said, “One [autonomous zone] was pro-business, one was anti-police, but they get treated completely different. ... [In Seattle], people got shot. Here, people just took a few shots. But all of a sudden, the guy’s arrested for that? It’s sick.”
On “straight news” show The Story, occasional Fox guest Mike Rowe said that “something amazing is going on right now, and, you know, I think that what’s happening in Staten Island is sort of indicative of the old expression, you know, ‘you can forgive people for being wrong or even for being stupid, but hypocrisy is a hard thing to get over.’” Rowe went on to compare the Staten Island bar to hypocritical actions of California politicians, who do not represent New York.
Tucker Carlson Tonight hosted one of the owners for the second night in a row, lamenting that he “was arrested in a city where people push human beings in front of subway trains and get away with it.”
The December 2 edition of Fox & Friends began with an acknowledgement that the previous day had “the highest death toll since the pandemic started,” but the hosts quickly pivoted to hailing the Staten Island bar’s defiance as “the canary in the coal mine” for Americans to rise up against “the oppressive way in which politicians are shutting them down. … Why can’t we at least go down with a fight?” Co-host Brian Kilmeade falsely suggested that the bar was following pandemic guidelines and steamrolled over co-host Steve Doocy’s attempt to note that the bar’s donation system -- a workaround for losing its liquor license -- was “mandatory” for would-be customers, not voluntary as Kilmeade implied. The hosts also mentioned that the bar has a GoFundMe page, with Kilmeade suggesting supporters “get behind them.”
The “straight news” show America’s Newsroom also promoted the Staten Island bar, with anchor Trace Gallagher telling one of the co-owners that “it looks like support and momentum are going your way,” a reference to the supportive crowd outside the bar -- which also included members of the extremist group known as the Proud Boys, who went unmentioned.
During the deadliest pandemic in 100 years, public health guidelines bear an obvious, arguably paramount, importance. Asking businesses to restrict operations and even temporarily shut down is an enormous burden, especially as Congress has repeatedly refused to extend sufficient aid to so many in such need, but it’s also dangerously reckless — yet true to form — for Fox News to promote flouting pandemic guidelines as a triumphant moment for American liberty.