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Fox News and vaccines: What changed this week and what didn't as fears over Delta variant rise

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Positivity     36.00%   
   Negativity   64.00%
The New York Times
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Free subscriber-exclusive audiobook!“No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention”Get it now on using the button below.Typified by Sean Hannity's monologue Monday night imploring his viewers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a sea change has come over the Fox News airwaves this week when it comes to the life-saving shots.The same day Insider and other outlets reported on Fox Corporation's strict return to work policy involving an internal type of vaccine passport — first reported by Ryan Grim of The Intercept — Fox News hosts cranked up their vaccine messaging and banners featuring the federal government's vaccine domain page ran across Monday's programming.Fox News' vaccine coverage has often mirrored its overall pandemic framing of public health measures as culture wars, a format pioneered by its late founder and CEO Roger Ailes.Fox News would not comment on internal deliberations for this story, and the network's top hosts have long boasted about the autonomy they are given from leadership when it comes to their shows.However, what may have seemed like a surprising development on Monday was actually the result of a months-long trajectory, with notable holdouts in the primetime lineup remaining.Over the past few months, Fox's pandemic segments did not usually feature open hostility toward vaccines, but some guests and top primetime hosts would baselessly lambast the Biden administration for potentially forcing the shots on Americans.More than a year into the pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 Americans and continues to result in preventable deaths among the unvaccinated, the takes remain high in how Fox News covers the coronavirus and vaccines.Worries the highly infectious Delta-variant of the virus could continue spreading among the unvaccinated and force more lockdowns sent financial markets plunging Monday.Conservative men are still among the most likely Americans to refuse the shots, and Fox viewers more likely than the general population to say the same, according to polling from Pew Research and the Public Religion Research Institute.The network has maintained that it has a sharp division between its news and opinion programming, with most shows airing during the day falling into the former category, while the "Fox & Friends" morning show, "The Five," and primetime shows fall under opinion and routinely attract the largest audiences.Yet when it comes to overall framing of COVID-19 measures, there have been similarities stretching from early mask mandates to vaccine passports.The administration's door-to-door outreach program was the latest subject of misleading segments, with both daytime and primetime hosts often focusing on the backlash to the program and a slippery slope toward authoritarianism rather than what it was: a nationwide outreach campaign led by local "community corps" groups.Government overreach has been a consistent theme when it comes to the Biden administration's pandemic response and vaccine rollout, but many anchors and hosts have attested to the benefits of the vaccine from personal experience.Beyond news anchors who have spoken about getting the vaccine, opinion hosts Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Jesse Watters, Dana Perino, and Greg Gutfeld have all gone on-air to share that they got the shots.Hannity initially said he was "beginning to have doubts" about the vaccine back in January, then said on his radio show that "it's none of your business" before eventually disclosing on his radio show that he'd plan on getting it.In an exclusive interview with Insider earlier in July, Watters framed his vaccine endorsement in terms of personal choice."Well, I got vaxxed.

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