Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried took her aggressively pro-vaccine message to an unusual audience, buying time on the Fox News Channel to air a 30-second PSA on Friday.
Fried, a Democratic candidate for Governor, continues to draw contrasts between herself and incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis on advocacy for vaccines, and this ad buy was no exception.
“You won’t hear this on Fox News from Gov. DeSantis, but you need to,” Fried said in the video. “Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy and your family doctor all agree. Vaccines will save your life, your job and the economy.”
“Even Donald Trump recommends getting vaccinated,” Fried added, before likening the effort to get people vaccinated to World War II.
“Think about it. The greatest generation had to beat the Nazis to preserve our way of life,” Fried said. “You’re only asked to get a shot! So be a patriot, turn off the TV, and go get vaccinated.”
The Fried spot, buoyant as it is, may be targeting the demographics most likely to have had shots earlier in the pandemic. Gov. DeSantis took a “Seniors First” approach to vaccinations that saw an aggressive pattern of deployment to senior communities, where Fox News is a particular staple. The Department of Health has had its own PSAs throughout the pandemic, also, including hundreds on Fox News alone.
For Fried, who has remarked on DeSantis’ ability to get earned media hits on Fox and other right-leaning outlets, the spot served multiple purposes. It increased audience outreach and also served to troll, at least in theory, the Governor.
The PSA comes as Fried’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services plans on publishing COVID-19 data, a response to the DeSantis administration’s move to weekly reporting in June, just before the current delta variant swamped Florida’s long-suffering hospitals.
The Agriculture Department’s COVID-19 updates will be disseminated through news releases, social media, and news conferences “as frequently as we feel that we need to,” Fried said Wednesday at the Capitol.
The Commissioner plans another briefing Thursday at 12:30 on the same subject.
We are running this vaccine PSA on Fox News statewide tomorrow.
RT to help us end the pandemic of unvaccinated in Florida & the nation. pic.twitter.com/DuPCOZsK04
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) July 29, 2021