'Special Report' All-Star panel on Facebook, COVID vaccine


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Facebook isn’t killing people. These 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It’s killing people. It’s bad information. My hope is that Facebook instead of taking it personally that somehow I’m saying that Facebook is killing people, that they would do something about the misinformation, the outrageous misinformation about the vaccine.


BAIER: Somebody on Twitter said clean up on aisle 1600 today. The president did say this week that Facebook was killing people and talking about misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. We’ll start there with our panel, Ben Domenech, publisher of “The Federalist,” Harold Ford Jr., former Tennessee Congressman, CEO of Empowerment and Inclusion Capital, and Trey Gowdy, former Congressman from South Carolina. Trey, what about this and where this story is going?

TREY GOWDY, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA REPRESENTATIVE: Bret, I just — maybe it’s just being off in South Carolina. I don’t know a living soul that would take their medical advice from Facebook. Go ask your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, go find one that you trust. Who in the world would face any base any major decision in life based on something they read on social media? Democracies require educated and moral citizenry. Let’s focus on the first part of that, an educated citizenry. Go ask a medical doctor.

BAIER: All right, Ben?

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, “THE FEDERALIST”: Well, I certainly agree with Trey about Facebook. I think you would be better off looking at the entrails of a bat or something like that than taking advice from social media when it comes to our medical care. But look, I think the president was trying to walk this back and clean this up, but this really does betray a certain aspect of the failure of the approach when it comes to our government over the past several months and getting people vaccinated.

And as I have said before, the real reason that people are not doing this or that you have seen the levels of vaccination slow have to do with government policies themselves. When people prosecute were promised if you get vaccinated there will be results, positive results, you can get back to normal. Your kids can get back to normal schooling and work and everything else can get back to normal, and then they see these different policies across the country being rolled back, the potential for mask mandates to come back and the like, this has an effect where that lever being pulled means that people say, well, then why should I even bother being vaccinated? Why even go through this experimental treatment and the like if it’s not going to result in any change in the way that I’m allowed to live. That is the major factor that is happening here. It’s not this social media bugaboo of being the scapegoat for why people are not getting vaccinated.

BAIER: Speaking of coronavirus mandates, there are changes coming based on what’s happening. Take a listen to some Florida officials.


HILDA SOLIS, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR: I’m not pleased that we have to go back to using the mask in this matter, but nonetheless it’s going to save life. It’s not punishment. It’s prevention.

GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: We believe in lifting people up, not locking people down. I look at how people want to flee to Florida because we are viewed as the freedom state. We’re taking action doing all that. I’m proud of that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of that. But a great country shouldn’t need people fleeing to one oasis of freedom. The whole country should be an oasis of freedom.


BAIER: Again that’s L.A. County Board of Supervisors and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Harold?

HAROLD FORD JR., FORMER TENNESSEE REPRESENTATIVE: First off, thanks for having me. I think the people who are probably happiest hearing this set of arguments that we have here some nights, listening to Governor DeSantis and even my former colleague Hilda Solis, are the Chinese. I think if we are serious about fighting them and beating them and competing against them, one of the things we as individuals can do is get vaccinated.

If you believe there was a lab leak in Wuhan, which I happen to think it probably was more likely than not today — and I didn’t believe that months ago as much as I do today — if we want our economies to reopen, if we want to ensure that we’re not susceptible or pray for the Chinese as they hack not only Microsoft but others, we should get vaccinated.

The one way we can stay reopened, stay robust, stay strong is to try our hardest to be a able to fight against every variant. I wear a mask, Ben, when I’m out only because my kids haven’t been vaccinated. When I’m home I don’t wear it, but I want to try to prevent them from getting it. And when there’s a vaccination for kids I will get it for them. But if we want to beat the Chinese, if we believe in the theories or you believe it was a natural or a lab leak, if you want to combat and beat back the Chinese on this front, get vaccinated, unless there is overwhelming health reason. That’s what everyone should be preaching.

I give President Trump credit or Operation Warp Speed. I even give him credit getting vaccinated, he and his family very early. We should all follow that model. And although Joe Biden may have misspoke, I don’t blame him. He’s trying. People are going to make mistakes, politicians alike.

BAIER: Listen, we’re just getting some information about the Republicans on the select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot. They have been named by Minority Leader McCarthy. Jim Banks of Indiana will be the ranking member, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Armstrong of Dakota, and Troy Nehls of Texas. Trey, important for Republicans to be a part of this?

GOWDY: I’m not sure, Bret. I have talked to Kevin frequently. There is an argument to not participate at all. I think the better argument is to do what he did. Of course, Jim Jordan has been — he is a veteran of many, many of these, quote, investigations. So, he probably had to do it. But you know what, look, they are going to come talk to Kevin. This committee wants to put Kevin under oath. So narrowly I think he made the right decision.

BAIER: We’ll follow this, first hearing July 27th.

OK, when we come back, tomorrow’s headlines with the panel.


BAIER: Finally tonight, a look at tomorrow’s headlines with the panel. Trey, first to you.


GOWDY: Texas Democrats arrested for bioterrorism and stupidity for leaving the great state of Texas to go to the District of Columbia.

BAIER: All right, Ben?

DOMENECH: Today, this marks the anniversary of the release of one of the best films about politics and culture ever, “The Dark Knight.” And so my headline today is “I believe in Harvey Dent.”

BAIER: Wow. OK, Harold?

FORD: History made in Tampa, first time an all-women led umpire team umpires a game, Tampa-Baltimore. Best, fairest game ever called.


BAIER: There you go. Thank you, panel, I appreciate it.

I am asserting anchor privilege here, ending with my own headline, and that is the FOX family welcomes a new SPECIAL REPORT viewer to the ranks. Meet Cocoa (ph) Lucia (ph) Rose (ph) Kramer, the daughter of correspondent Gillian Turner and Alex. Mom and baby are very healthy. We are very happy to hear that. And we are increasing our audience one viewer at a time. It also helps with the demo. We just keep on producing here.


BAIER: All right, thank you. Congrats to Gillian.

All right, tomorrow on SPECIAL REPORT Amazon founder Jeff Bezos scheduled to fly into space aboard his Blue Origin aircraft with no pilot. Did you know there was no pilot? We have that covered for you.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That’s it for this SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and still unafraid. FOX NEWS PRIMETIME hosted by Brian Kilmeade this week starts right now. Do you have a headline, by the way, Brian?

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