Mr Biden’s aides say they are reluctant to criticize Fox News directly, believing it would be counterproductive to promote a pro-vaccine message to Fox News viewers.
“We need every media platform to step up and ensure that its coverage provides accurate and objective information,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said in a statement that averted an attack aggressive against Fox News. “As with all misinformation, we don’t hesitate to call him.”
Some right-wing media have generated mixed coverage in recent days about vaccines. Breitbart News, for example, always has articles on its website grouped under the “Mask / Vax Cult” category. But Newsmax, a cable network whose views are more to the right than Fox News, on Tuesday published an essay by its chief executive, Christopher Ruddy, praising Mr Biden’s vaccination efforts.
“I myself received the Pfizer vaccine,” Mr. Ruddy wrote in the article, which was posted on the Newsmax website. “There is no doubt in my mind countless lives would have been saved if the vaccine were available sooner.”
In an interview, Mr Ruddy said the White House had not contacted Newsmax regarding its coronavirus coverage. He said he wanted to thank Mr Biden for “doing a good job,” although he also warned that his network would not censor alternative views. “I don’t want to be the thought police,” he said.
Fox News produced its own 30-Second Vaccine PSA, featuring hosts and presenters Mr. Doocy, Harris Faulkner, Dana Perino and John Roberts. “If you can, get vaccinated,” Ms. Faulkner says in the ad. Presenter Bret Baier said in April he was “grateful” to have been vaccinated. Mr Hannity and Mr Doocy have previously asked viewers whether a vaccination would benefit their lives and the lives of their families.
On ‘Fox & Friends’ Monday, Mr Doocy echoed government officials noting that nearly all coronavirus deaths now involve unvaccinated people. After recognizing that some people, such as pregnant women, might be hesitant, he said, “Everyone else, if you get the chance, get your shot. Mr Doocy also cited examples of misinformation online claiming that the vaccine “kills a lot of people” or “changes your DNA” or comes with “little microchips”.