WASHINGTON (Reuters) -White House press secretary Jen Psaki says she is in regular contact with the conservative news network Fox News about its coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fox News commentators Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, as well as other news program hosts, have often cast doubt on the vaccines’ safety and efficacy to the network’s millions of viewers. The network ended January with a 19-year streak as the top U.S. cable news network.
Noting health official guidelines that encouraged masking and distancing even for vaccinated people in April, Carlson said of the vaccine: “So maybe it doesn’t work, and they’re simply not telling you that.”
Ingraham on Monday night called Biden and his allies “consistent superspreaders of misinformation on COVID.”
The White House understands “the importance of reaching Fox’s audience about the COVID-19 vaccines and their benefits,” Psaki told reporters Tuesday. “And like we are with all of you here today, we of course, are in regular contact.”
The White House has also engaged more broadly with the network on their coverage of COVID-19 and vaccine confidence, including with a network-specific briefing between producers and White House officials to discuss accurate, informed coverage of the COVID-19 vaccines, according to White House source familiar with the details.
Psaki was responding to a question from a CNN reporter who asked if there were high-level conversations between the White House and the news network over vaccine coverage.
In an emailed comment, a Fox News spokeswoman said: “There have been no high level conversations between FOX News Media and the White House regarding our coverage.”
The spokeswoman said they had a routine briefing in May on vaccination rates and Fox News White House reporters are in routine contact with the White House staff on a variety of issues.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose, Jarrett Renshaw and Heather Timmons; Editing by Aurora Ellis)