Fox News COVID Infection Sends Election Coverage Plans Into ‘Chaos’


Fox News has been planning its election night coverage for weeks, prepping staff and on-air talent for the biggest news night of the year. But now Fox faces uncertainty after the network’s president and many of its key on-air stars may have been exposed to COVID-19.

“Everyone is in a panic about election night,” said one current Fox News staffer.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that top Fox News executives and talent will quarantine and get tested after flying on a network-chartered flight from Nashville to New York—following Thursday night’s presidential debate—with a staffer who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Passengers included network president Jay Wallace and on-air political hosts and analysts like Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Dana Perino, and Juan Williams. (A Fox News spokesperson would not confirm the Times story or the exposure, citing employee confidentiality.)

All four of those stars were expected to play key in-studio roles for Fox’s election-night coverage. But now it’s unclear how the network plans to proceed with its top talent potentially unable to gather in the same room.

“I believe it will put election night-plans into chaos,” another current Fox staffer told The Daily Beast under condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “It will be like starting from scratch… It’s not good for anyone.” The employee added: “It’s insane that there’s a possibility the anchors will have to host the biggest night of 2020 from their homes.”

“We have multiple contingency plans in place and always have back-up plans for all kinds of scenarios, even without a pandemic,” a Fox News spokesperson told The Daily Beast.

In a Monday internal memo obtained by The Daily Beast, Wallace and CEO Suzanne Scott acknowledged that some staffers had tested positive for COVID-19, and said that the network would reduce staff in buildings and implement “enhanced testing procedures.” The executives said that the network will further pare down its in-person election night coverage, and that “only those employees who are critical to that night’s production will be permitted to work from [Fox’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters].”



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