After Meghan McCain claimed on the Monday, July 19, airing of “The View” that Fox News hasn’t discouraged the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19, her co-host Sunny Hostin set the record straight and accused the conservative network of contributing to vaccine hesitancy that has resulted in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Bolstered by the Delta variant, coronavirus cases are rising in all 50 states for the first time since January. While there are some breakthrough cases of the virus in vaccinated people, the vast majority of the uptick is occurring among unvaccinated people, while less than half of Americans are fully vaccinated.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a White House briefing last week, “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
McCain contended on Monday that Fox News has not discouraged members of the public from getting vaccinated, saying she saw host Steve Doocy tell people to get the vaccine. “Fox & Friends is like the mothership of MAGA of media and if someone like Steve Doocy is imploring people to get the vaccine I think that’s effective and I think not everybody on Fox News is saying don’t get the vaccine. I actually haven’t heard anyone say that but maybe I’m just misinformed.”
Whoopi Goldberg noted that former president Donald Trump and Melania Trump received their vaccinations after leaving office, and added that the only people who “are really feeling the hell of this are people who are not vaccinated.”
Goldberg tossed to Hostin who laid out a case against Fox News. McCain, who is known for frequent outburst, remained quiet as a mouse. Fox News has played a “key role” in anti-vaccine propaganda and pointed to a Media Matters study to back up her claim, said Hostin. “Fox has undermined vaccination efforts in nearly 60 percent of all vaccination segments in a two-week period,” she added. “That is where this misinformation is coming from.”
According to the study, from June 28 through July 11, 57 percent of segments about vaccinations on the network included claims that undermined vaccination efforts.
“Amid a push from the Biden administration and medical officials to increase vaccination rates, Fox News has repeatedly fearmongered about and downplayed the need for continued vaccination campaigns,” the study says. “Fox News’ dismissal of vaccine efforts is particularly dangerous as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have surged in unvaccinated red states, with polling showing conservative and Republican voters — who count Fox as their most trusted news source — are less likely to get vaccinated.”
Hostin went on to speculate about the platform’s motivations. “Why is Fox News doing this? she questioned. “Well, I think that they believe that hurting the Biden administration’s vaccination efforts will lead to big wins for the Republicans in the mid-terms. This is really just all about politics and I think it’s despicable and I think they’re harming their base.”
On social media, some users agreed that Fox has contributed to vaccine hesitancy, even without explicitly telling the public not to get the shot.
“Yes Karen ur Misinformed,” one user wrote.
“Not only is MEghan misinformed, she’s also a liar,” another added.
“Meghan McCain sat there with a straight face and said she never heard Fox news tell people not to get the vaccine,” another social media user wrote.
McCain announced several weeks ago that she would be leaving the show at the end of the month. “I will be here through the end of July to finish out the season with all of you which I am grateful for,” McCain said. “This was not an easy decision. It took a lot of thought and counsel and prayer and talking to my family and close friends.”