Fox’s flagship “news” show Special Report with Bret Baier aired a report yesterday on the Department of Education’s push for mask-wearing in schools this fall, but the segment ignored rising coronavirus cases in the country and Arkansas' Republican governor’s public regret for banning mask mandates in his state.
With the spread of the coronavirus variant strains in recent weeks, the United States has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, particularly in states with low vaccination rates. On August 2, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced that Florida and Texas alone accounted for one-third of all cases reported in the U.S. last week.
On August 4, Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel reported on Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s push for mask-wearing in classrooms as children return to in-person learning. Emanuel noted this “policy” is at odds with the ban on mask mandates enacted by eight Republican-led states, including Florida, Texas, and Arkansas. Emanuel ended the segment by remarking that there is no clear resolution to the dispute.
Both Emanuel and guest anchor Shannon Bream did not acknowledge the rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, nor the potential consequences of banning mask mandates. Additionally, Emanuel ignored that earlier in the day, Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed his regret for signing a law banning mask mandates, saying, “In hindsight, I wish that had not become law.”
In a proclamation earlier this week, Hutchinson called the state legislature into a special session, urging lawmakers to amend the law to allow school districts to require masks. Hutchinson acknowledged the rising threat of the delta variant and noted that it “has infected a higher rate of school-aged children,” prompting the need for schools to have the option to mandate masks.
Fox News regularly promotes Special Report as part of its “straight news” programming, but segments like this one omitting details that do not fit Fox’s narrative demonstrate that it is just another cog in Fox News’ propaganda machine.