More often than not, Fox and Friends hosts Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt, and Steve Doocy are all on the same page. They praise President Donald Trump and ensure that the Republican party's talking points reach their intended audience.
But Thursday morning, Ainsely Earhardt appeared to go off-script.
The hosts were echoing statements made by Trump and others that stay-at-home and social distancing measures imposed by governors to slow the spread of the virus had gone too far.
Experts believe that lockdown efforts have dramatically slowed the transmission rate of the viral pathogen and saved untold lives. For this reason, the vast majority of Americans approve of the measure.
But with the economy a key talking point to his reelection, Trump wants businesses back open and people back at work in enough time to forget his bungled response to the crisis by November.
Earhardt pushed back when co-host Brian Kilmeade echoed those calls while discussing Newport City Council's decision to deploy police officers to enforce social distancing orders on some crowded California beaches.
"This is the foundation for an overreach that I never thought was gonna happen in this country. As serious as the virus is, so are people's freedoms—mental health, drugs, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse—that are all on the rise with this. It's not a matter of showing discipline. People are watching their lives melt away...when they think the governors are overreaching, that's when people are gonna snap."
This type of breathless exaggeration is par for the course for the show, but Earhardt wasn't having it.
"Well, you know, that beach was open and people could make the decision. The problem is, though, Brian, they started to seeing more people go to the hospitals after that weekend, after those images were released in California, with [the virus]...And then you have people like my mom, [who] is very sick. And as much as I want to go out, I still want everyone to play by the rules because when I finally do get to go home to visit her, I don't want—"
Kilmeade interrupted to ask if Earhardt's mother was going to the beach before Earhardt pointed out that this was irrelevant due to the high contagion rate of the virus and the inevitability of person-to-person interactions.
People were surprised at the dissidence—and how quickly it was shut down.
Then again—maybe it wasn't so surprising.
Over 60 thousand Americans have died of the virus in just two months.
For a deeper look into the relationship between Fox News and the Republican party, check out Foxocracy, available here.