(PresidentialInsider.com)- In what is seemingly an unprecedented move, Fox News has been in regular, direct touch with the White House recently regarding coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration has also talked with other networks about the coverage. As she explained:
“We’ve been in touch with every network and many, many media outlets about coverage of COVID-19 to make sure people have accurate information, to voice concerns when we have them, and I think you all know we’re never shy when we have an issue with a story.
“That’s really the frame we’re looking at her. We understand also the importance of reaching Fox’s audience about the COVID-19 vaccines and their benefits. And like we are with all of you here today, we of course are in regular contact and we also make efforts to have officials out on a range of networks to talk about COVID-19.
“We don’t see it as a partisan issue. We don’t see vaccines as a political issue. It’s an issue about keeping Americans safe.”
For their part, a spokesperson for Fox News denied that network officials and Biden administration officials have had “high-level talks” about their reporting about the vaccines and the pandemic. This contrasts a story reported by CNN earlier in the week.
The spokesperson instead said the network had a routine briefing with White House officials in May. The company also said their personnel at the DC bureau are also obviously in constant contact with White House officials on a variety of issues, as most major media networks are.
It’s not a surprise that the White House would want to reach out to Fox News to try to convince the network to change its coverage of the pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccines. Fox News has a traditionally more conservative audience, and that’s an audience the White House is having trouble reaching when it comes to convincing them to get a vaccine.
Different personalities at Fox News have taken different stances when it comes to vaccines and the pandemic. Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, two of the network’s most recognizable personalities, have spoken out against mask and vaccine mandates regularly, and have encouraged their viewers not to feel like they have to get a vaccine.
At the same time, prime-time host Sean Hannity took a much different stance on Monday. He directly all his viewers to take the pandemic seriously. He said:
“Please take COVID seriously. I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death.
“I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”
Battling misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines has been a huge undertaking for the Biden administration thus far. Now, they are taking it to another level by trying to influence major media outlets on what they should report, and how they should report it.