Fox News under fire for failing to report on trooper’s death from Covid after they aired his anti-vax stance

·2 min read

Fox News is facing backlash for not reporting on the Covid-related death of a former Washington state trooper, as the man had previously appeared on the network to critique vaccine mandates.

Robert LeMay was interviewed on several Fox shows back in October of last year, where he explained why he resigned from his position after refusing the Covid vaccine.

While the conservative network attempted to paint Mr LeMay as a defiant hero in the ongoing culture war, Fox itself has implemented a system whereby employees need to be vaccinated (or tested daily).

The 22-year veteran of the Washington state trooper force had actually received a medical exemption from getting a vaccine, but he still resigned before that was due to take effect. In doing so, his story became a politically expedient one for right-wing outlets that wished to bash proposed vaccine mandates.

On 18 October 2021, Mr LeMay appeared on Fox & Friends First, with co-host Carley Shimkus concluding an interview with him by saying: “The choices that people like you are being forced to make are pretty unbelievable,” before praising him as “a fantastic police officer” whose resignation was “Washington state’s loss”.

“What’s next for you — other than being a celebrity now — what’s next for you?” host Laura Ingraham asked toward the end of the interview. Mr LeMay replied that he was a “spokesperson” for thousands, even millions, of Americans, and also that he had some great job prospects.

“All right, well, a sleeping giant, maybe a sleeping giant,” Ms Ingraham added, referring back to Mr LeMay’s use of the term earlier in the interview. “We hope that that’s what’s happened here. We’ve awakened it slowly but surely. Robert, thank you for joining us. We really appreciate your voice and best of luck to you.”

On Friday evening, the chief of the Washington State Patrol issued a statement announcing Mr LeMay’s passing, before praising him for his service, which “will be long remembered and appreciated”.

Many news outlets, including Fox’s website, quickly confirmed that he had lost his battle with Covid-19 at age 51. Soon after, commentators began criticising Ingraham and her ilk for their handling of Mr LeMay’s story.