Joe Biden’s jokes about Fox News met with ‘stony-faced silence’ from network reporters

President’s jokes about Dominion Voting Systems hit a sore spot for Fox reporters at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 01 May 2023 20:25 BST
Joe Biden cracks jokes at the White House Correspondents’ dinner

Joe Biden clearly hit his target when he lambasted Fox News and the network’s reporters at the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association.

That at least was the review of MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan, who was seated near the Fox News tables in the Washington Hilton’s ballroom, revealed that reporters from the network had sat in “stony-faced silence” as Mr Biden tore them apart for their bosses’ $787m settlement with Dominion Voting Systems — the consequences of the decision to allow opinion hosts on the network to “endorse”, in Rupert Murdoch’s words, lies and conspiracies about the 2020 election.

Hasan gleefully reviewed the reaction from the reporters on Sunday as he and MSNBC colleague Ayman Moyheldin completed the traditional handoff between their shows.

“I’ll enjoy his gags at Fox’s expense, I’ll admit it,” said Hasan. He noted that amid the jokes, “there were no cutaways to the Fox tables”, including the one next to his seat where CEO Suzanne Scott was present for the festivities.

“It was stony-faced silence throughout,” he continued, noting the table’s other conservative guests — former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr, and ex-Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.

Mr Biden joked at Saturday’s event that Fox was now “owned” by Dominion Voting Systems and even personally called out, gloating a little, the firing of primetime host Tucker Carlson.

“The truth is, we really have a record to be proud of: vaccinated the nation, transformed the economy, earned historic legislative victories and midterm results. But the job isn’t finished, I mean, it is finished for Tucker Carlson,” he quipped.

He added: “Last year, your favorite Fox News reporters were able to attend because they were fully vaccinated and boosted. This year, with that $787.5m settlement, they’re here because they couldn’t say no to a free meal.”

Reporters on the news side at Fox have been notably silent about the overall dynamics at their network amid the tumultuous legal battle for the company that ended last month.

None have publicly addressed at length the comments made by their own coworkers about the work that they were producing during and after the 2020 election, nor have they touched on the admissions from those same people that the opinion side of the network was platforming people whom its hosts knew were spreading disinformation.

Mr Biden’s remarks were followed by those of Roy Wood Jr., a host at The Daily Show and the night’s headliner.

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