Psaki: we engage with Fox News in hope viewers might listen to medical experts

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The Biden administration engages with Fox News because its viewers “might” listen to its medical experts about the need to beat the coronavirus pandemic, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said.

Related: Fox News backs Covid vaccination – a pity no one told Tucker Carlson

Psaki was speaking to Good Luck America, from Snapchat, after a week in which Fox News denied reports it had engaged in high-level discussions with the White House before hosts including Sean Hannity (if not Tucker Carlson) exhorted viewers to get Covid-19 vaccinations.

Asked why any member of the administration should engage, given that Fox News was “only going to lash Democrats”, Psaki referred to primetime hosts such as Hannity and Carlson when she said: “Well first, we don’t do a lot of the personalities on Fox.

“Look, I would say that the president’s No 1 goal still is beating the pandemic, our objective is to put people back to work, and we need to talk to Fox and Fox viewers in order to do that.

“Now, they are not waiting for the president, the vice-president and other people from the administration to tell them what to do.

“But they might have listened to medical experts or some of our doctors. They might. There might be information that strikes them because it’s so fact-based, if we conveyed to Fox that they may hear that.”

Psaki has made headlines via briefing room exchanges with Peter Doocy, a Fox News reporter. Earlier this month, for example, Doocy asked about Texas Democrats who flew to Washington to avoid a vote on legislation restricting access to voting.

Doocy asked: “Do you know of any examples from his 36 years in the Senate that Joe Biden just hopped on a train and left town to avoid a vote that he knew he was going to lose?”

As reported by Vanity Fair under the headline “White House press secretary Jen Psaki stuffs Fox News’ Peter Doocy in another locker”, Psaki gave “a look that said, ‘Ugh, you again’”, laughed and answered in detail.

“I don’t think anything about this is funny,” Psaki said. “I think what is important to note here is that there are 28 states, including Texas, where there are laws in place or in process to make it harder to vote, and it requires bold action, it requires bold voices to speak out against that and make sure that people understand their rights. That’s exactly what’s happening.”

She told Snapchat: “I think our view at this moment is we don’t have to approve of everything [Fox News does] editorially, of everything their personalities say and do, but it is still a platform for us to communicate with the public.

“And frankly the other piece of it is getting in a fight with Fox News, at this point in time for the administration, isn’t particularly constructive coming off a [Trump] administration that completely destroyed trust in media, trust in institutions.

“That’s not the fight we want to fight right now. We want a fight about getting the pandemic under control and things that actually impact people’s lives.”

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