Biden blasts GOP's attack on voting rights — Fox News doesn't air it

President blasts "21st-century Jim Crow" attack on voting rights — Fox News airs right-wing outrage, but not speech

By Zachary Petrizzo

Published July 14, 2021 5:50AM (EDT)

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about voting rights at the National Constitution Center on July 13, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Biden and Congressional Democrats are set to make another push for sweeping voting rights legislation as Republican state legislatures across the country continue to pass controversial voting access laws. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about voting rights at the National Constitution Center on July 13, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Biden and Congressional Democrats are set to make another push for sweeping voting rights legislation as Republican state legislatures across the country continue to pass controversial voting access laws. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Fox News, the conservative cable heavyweight, elected not to dedicate air time to President Joe Biden's Tuesday address in Philadelphia, which blasted Republicans for their efforts to restrict voting rights across the country. That didn't stop Fox News, along with many other conservative pundits, finding ample time in the day to counterattack the president's speech. 

During his speech at the National Constitution Center Tuesday afternoon, Biden described Republican efforts to limit access to the ballot box as a "21st century Jim Crow assault."

"They want to make it so hard and inconvenient that they hope people don't vote at all," Biden said of GOP efforts to roll back voting rights. "That's what this is about. This year alone, 17 states have enacted, not just proposed but enacted, 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote, not to mention nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of the state legislature are trying to pass," he added. 

"The 21st-century Jim Crow assault is real. It's unrelenting," Biden stated. "And we're going to challenge it vigorously."

Biden went on to characterize the GOP-led push for stricter voting rights laws as "pernicious." The president said, "Some state legislators want to make it harder for you to vote. And if you vote, they want to be able to tell you your vote doesn't count for any reason they make up. They want the ability to reject the final count and ignore the will of the people if their preferred candidate loses."

Fox News did not respond to Salon's request for comment on the network's decision not to air the presidential address live.

Right-wing Twitter pundits didn't mince words following Biden's address, blasting his speech as a complete "lie." 

"It's demagoguery, designed to make the left think Biden's doing something about HR 1, and guaranteeing that nothing will ever be done about it — or that, if it passes, it will mark the end of democracy, as Republicans will see it as a Lockean change of government, and resist it," right-wing Breitbart editor Joel Pollak wrote on Twitter. 

"Almost every word of this Biden speech is a lie," National Review senior writer David Harsanyi added.

Daily Wire pundit Matt Walsh also got in on the action, writing: "The right to vote is not universal or inherent, nor is it meant to be enjoyed by all people or even most people. It should be a responsibility entrusted only to those most qualified to fulfill it."

Before the president's address, Fox News even got in a few swipes at Biden's push to expand voting in America. "Are you concerned that President Biden is weaponizing the DOJ to enforce his moral views about voting?" Fox News anchor John Roberts asked former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a network contributor.

"I am. I'm concerned about how Biden is using the Department of Justice," Chaffetz responded. "Look, they've lost at the Supreme Court. I don't think this bill at the federal level has any chance of passing. And if Joe Biden is going to give a speech today, tell me specifically, President Biden, what you are opposed to in Texas and Georgia — because they talk in platitudes, but they won't offer specifics."

"Authenticate the vote. That is a winning proposition. That's where the president should be, but he hasn't been in the past," Chaffetz concluded.  

Over the past nine months following Biden's election in November, Republicans have used the cover of former President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims to push for legislation in numerous states that sharply limits or restricts access to voting in the name of "election integrity." 


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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Aggregation Fox News Hr 1 Joe Biden Republicans Right-wing Media Voter Suppression Voting Rights