‘Typical Bullsh*t’: Fox News Host Melts Down When Mediaite Asks About Fox’s Vaccine Policy and Whether Trump Lost in 2020
Fox News host Pete Hegseth was my guest on this week’s episode of The Interview. Hegseth is the co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also been guest-hosting the network’s 7 p.m. show, Fox News Primetime. The occasion for our interview was the third annual “Patriot Awards”, an event put on by streaming platform Fox Nation and emceed by Hegseth.
I called up Hegseth on Thursday, the morning after the Patriot Awards, to talk about the event, his hosting job at Fox News, his relationship with former President Donald Trump, and the Covid pandemic.
Hegseth had a tough time answering some of my questions, specifically regarding who won the 2020 election. Our conversation was spirited. He had a bit of a meltdown, repeatedly insulted your humble host (“dumb questions”) and Mediaite (“trash heap”), and ultimately ended the interview early in a bit of a rage.
Before our conversation derailed, we had a nice chat. Hegseth explained that the awards — held this year in Hollywood, Florida — are partially a response to the liberal politics of typical Hollywood award ceremonies.
“I want actors talking about the roles they played and how grateful they are for this amazing country that gives them the opportunity to pretend to be people on stage,” Hegseth said. “Instead, they preach at us with all left-wing, condescending politics and people are turning it off. And the energy you saw [Wednesday night], and it’s only going to grow, was a reflection of people grasping for something real, something positive. Not political, just patriotic.”
There was a heavy dose of politics at the Patriot Awards, however, including ample criticism of President Joe Biden and other enemies on the left.
I wanted to ask Hegseth about politics, and brought up a viral interview he had with a Democratic lawmaker from Texas who confronted him on whether Trump lost the 2020 election. That’s when our chat first went south:
Mediaite: I should note that you did not answer his question as to whether Trump lost the 2020 election. What is your answer for that?
Hegseth: I’m not interested in answering your question, either. We’ll see what happens. Look what happened in 2021. We’ll see what happens. It’s not my job to sit out — unlike every other anchor of every other network, to immediately preach my view of what has happened and what ought happen. People are smart. People are people gathering information for themselves.
Mediaite: It’s been a year now since 2020. We know who won and who lost.
Hegseth: We don’t have to get into it. But no one can tell me that what happened leading up to 2020, the treatment of then-President Trump was at all fair. But I’m not interested in hearing your — if you want to talk about the Patriot Awards we can, if you want to do a hit job, then we can go for it.
Mediaite: Not a hit job. A very simple question about who the president is.
Things got back on track for a bit, and I asked Hegseth a benign question about whether he prefers hosting Fox & Friends Weekend or Fox News Primetime, a question he did not appreciate, but begrudgingly answered.
Then I brought up Covid vaccine mandates. The Patriot Awards required all attendees to either show proof of vaccination or a negative test, which is similar to the policy at Fox News that requires staff to either prove vaccination or submit to daily testing. It’s effectively the same as the Biden policy for large businesses, which Fox News hosts like Hegseth have railed against.
I asked him whether he has an issue with the Fox News policy:
Mediaite: There was a vaccine or test requirement at the Patriot Awards, which is very similar to the policy at Fox News. Do you have an issue with Fox News having a policy like that, which is effectively the same as Biden’s vaccine mandate for big businesses?
Hegseth: You’re not mandated to get the vaccine because you can get a test. I’m not in charge of it. I don’t make the calls, but either you — you have the option to get a test, so it’s not actually a complete vaccine mandate, and that’s fine. I mean, so it’s not my call. So I’m grateful for the people that provide us this opportunity and the show went off without a hitch.
Mediaite: Right. But Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for big businesses has been the subject of criticism, and that’s even less stringent than the one at Fox News, right? It requires weekly testing as opposed to daily testing. So I’m curious as to why you have an issue with the Joe Biden vaccine mandate, but no problem with the one at Fox News.
Hegseth: What do you want me to say? I mean, ultimately, companies have prerogatives. What the government shouldn’t be doing is telling them what to do. The government shouldn’t be telling them what to do. Every company has its own policies and I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to work at Fox News Channel. And it does things that no other organization does, including your organization Mediaite, which is part of the trash heap of left-wing media.
I also asked Hegseth, who contracted Covid a year ago, is he is vaccinated:
Mediaite: Have you been vaccinated?
Hegseth: I’m not interested — it’s not my job. This is the shameful part of this moment we’re in. You want me to give you my personal health information. Is that my job? Oh, so you get to ask — I don’t even know your name! And I’m not interested, actually. So my job is to give you my personal health information. Do you feel entitled to that information?
Mediaite: I mean, I just find it to be a strange objection. Why is it such a personal piece of information? If you asked me if I got the flu shot this year, I would have no problem telling you. Why is Covid vaccination so personal and controversial?
Hegseth: Because you’re intruding into every part of every person’s life and forcing them to take a personal choice and make it public.
Moments after that exchange, Hegseth ended the interview. It was a short 13 minutes, shorter than the usual 30 that we have for this show, but I am grateful he took the time nonetheless. He is welcome to return any time.
The Patriot Awards are available to stream on Fox Nation, and will air on Fox News Channel this Sunday night at 10 p.m.
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