Fox News rolled out a wave of positive coverage for an anti-vaccine mandate march in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, revealing not only Fox’s continued undermining of public health but also its own blatant corporate hypocrisy in mobilizing opposition to public health measures that the company practices for itself.
The rally was promoted on Sunday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends Weekend, during which Fox News contributor Johnny “Joey” Jones explained: “That ability to choose for yourself how you’re going to live your life, what medicines you’re going to put in your body — not having your employer do it for you, not have your government do it for you — that’s a uniquely American thing, and it’s something we should not let go of easily.”
Left unmentioned in this discussion was the obvious fact that Fox News practices a strict regimen of vaccination, testing, and masking requirements within its own walls — making the network a top example of “having your employer do it for you.”
Fox also gave a flattering online write-up for the march. For example, the article credited rally speaker Dr. Robert Malone as being the “inventor of mRNA technology used in COVID vaccines,” a claim that is highly exaggerated, and included an embedded tweet of rally footage with the bold introduction: “Dr. Robert Malone destroys the approved narrative in 2 minutes.”
It is important to note that many of the rally speakers have been promoted by Fox News as they peddled anti-vaccine rhetoric and/or false cures for COVID-19. This included not only Malone, but also Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Pierre Kory.
One of the headline speakers was anti-vaccine activist Robert Kennedy Jr., who spread a number of conspiracy theories involving Microsoft founder Bill Gates and 5G communications — which he compared to the Holocaust.
Just to start with the historical inaccuracies and inappropriateness of Kennedy’s comparison, Anne Frank lived in the Netherlands, which Nazi Germany invaded. Her family was later found hiding in the aforementioned attic, and she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The Auschwitz Museum responded to Kennedy’s remarks, calling them “a sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay.”
Rally speaker Del Bigtree claimed that the vaccine mandates are a violation of the Nuremberg Codes — a code of medical ethics adopted in the wake of Nazi war crimes including the medical experimentation on concentration camp inmates — a claim that was further echoed on signs brought by participants. This argument has spread through far-right media, and was also repeated Friday night by Fox host Tucker Carlson in an interview with rally speaker Malone. In fact, the codes do not apply because the vaccines are not experimental, having already gone through clinical trials with human volunteers, and a society-wide public health mandate during a pandemic is entirely different from the gruesome acts committed upon individual prisoners by the Nazi regime.
Meanwhile, Bigtree also threatened repercussions against media outlets for promoting vaccines, an act that would be more reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.
Fox again promoted the rally Monday morning, in a Fox & Friends interview with PragerU commentator and march organizer Will Witt, who said the rally “went better than we ever could have hoped for.”
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt also sought to soft-pedal the rally’s message, suggesting to Witt that “you’re not against vaccines, right, just against mandates.” Witt continued, however, to repeat boilerplate anti-vaccine rhetoric — much of which has been trafficked on Fox before, including complaints about people being “silenced off social media” and claims that people are being “vaccine-injured.”
Earhardt and Witt also discussed “people forced to leave their work” over vaccine requirements — again, without mentioning that Fox has required its own employees to either be vaccinated or undergo daily COVID-19 testing for months.
Earhardt concluded the interview: “I know Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was one of the organizers, Dr. Robert Malone was there speaking, there were some great Christian artists that were playing as well. Thank you so much, Will, great job.”
In addition, the B-roll footage from the rally that Fox aired during the segment included a poster attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci and a flag promoting far-right host Alex Jones’ Infowars site, which has been spreading dangerous anti-vaccine messaging surrounding the pandemic for over a year. Also present at the rally were some Proud Boys as well as a flag for Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes' group “America First.”