Fox’s rivals in a frenzy to blame network for vaccine-hesitancy; Howard Kurtz sets record straight

Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz clapped back against left-leaning media outlets that have blamed his network for hesitancy among millions of Americans to take a COVID-19 vaccine as he began his Sunday “Media Buzz” program.

Saying that “it makes for a great liberal narrative” to say the hesitancy “is the fault of right-wing media,” Kurtz went on to point out that many of the network’s personalities and hosts have been talking up COVID vaccines, especially in recent weeks as the new Delta variant has begun to increase sickness around the country.

“Fox’s rivals are in a frenzy about blaming this network. But there are a lot of voices on Fox News Channel and many, including me, including the anchors who just made a second pro-vaccination PSA, want the tens of millions of holdouts to get the COVID shots, and that includes these conservative hosts,” he added.

Kurtz went on to play clips of various Fox News figures including “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy and “Hannity” host  Sean Hannity pushing back on false information while also encouraging viewers to take the virus seriously and to get vaccinated.

(Video: Fox News)

Kurtz juxtaposed those clips with others from left-leaning networks whose hosts and personalities expressed mixed views about Fox News personalities’ pushing vaccination.

“There are an awful lot of people, many on the right, who are either hesitant or outright refusing to get these life-saving vaccines,” Kurtz said. “That would be true if Fox went off the air tomorrow.

“Overcoming their fears and doubts is a complicated problem for the Biden White House and all the vitriolic finger-pointing isn’t helping one bit,” he added before playing a variety of clips from President Joe Biden praising Fox News’ vaccine persuasion efforts to left-wing journalists claiming conservative media and Republicans are telling “lies” about the vaccine, to another of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) telling Americans specifically they should get a vaccine.

Kurtz then brought in two guests, The Federalist co-founder Ben Domenech and Fox Business Network host Liz Claman, to discuss the discrepancies.

Domenech, who is a frequent Fox News fill-in host and contributor, said that what “I see on the right is overwhelming unanimity among the political class and among the media class as well that these vaccines are good, and to the degree there’s skepticism, it tends to be about should children be vaccinated or is that something that’s necessary in order to go back to school and the like as opposed to doubting the vaccines or saying there’s some overwhelming danger from taking them.”

Domenech also said that according to available data, the populations that are “most vaccine-resistant” are blacks and Hispanics, typically not consumers of conservative news programs or Republican voters.

“That’s a huge problem, and that’s not going to be fixed no matter how many times Mitch McConnell goes out there and says that they ought to do so,” he continued.

Claman pushed back on Domenech’s claim of “unanimity” among conservative voices, saying that some of the worst states for new COVID infections are red states — and that Florida is leading the pack.

“I really have to disagree with Ben on what he said regarding unanimity within the Republican party or conservative voices,” she said, adding that former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “have not been very clear” on vaccine messaging “until very recently.”

Claman also said that GOP officials “should not stand in the way of mandates” by private companies to get vaccinated.

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Jon Dougherty

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