As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, members of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force have overwhelmingly appeared on Fox News to discuss the virus, while largely shunning CNN and MSNBC.
According to Media Matters’ internal database, from the formation of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force on January 29 through March 27, task force members appeared 109 times on weekday cable news programs. Of those 109 appearances, 82 have been on Fox News, 22 on CNN, and just five on MSNBC.
Task force officials' choice of cable outlets is unsurprising given the symbiotic relationship between the White House and Fox News. But it’s noteworthy that they have flocked to a network which has largely failed in its coronavirus coverage by downplaying the threat, promoting unproven cures, and spreading medical misinformation about the response to the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci had the most appearances among the task force members, appearing 36 times on weekday cable news. Fauci, who is essentially the only member to repeatedly appear on a network other than Fox News, has been on CNN 16 times, on Fox News 15 times, and on MSNBC five times. No other task force member has gone on MSNBC.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had the second most appearances with 11 each. Azar appeared nine times on Fox News and twice on CNN, while Adams appeared 10 times on Fox News and once on CNN.
Additionally, Trump’s six cable appearances all came on Fox News, including a town hall in which Fox’s “straight news” anchors failed to challenge the president as he misled viewers and pushed misinformation.
During this unprecedented pandemic, the Fox-Trump feedback loop could get people killed. It’s important now more than ever that task force members go beyond the safe confines of Fox News and open themselves up to questioning from other networks.
Media Matters searched our internal database for appearances by Mike Pence, Deborah Birx, Jerome Adams, Alex Azar, Stephen Biegun, Robert Blair, Ben Carson, Kenneth Cuccinelli, Kelvin Droegemeier, Anthony Fauci, Joe Grogan, Stephen Hahn, Derek Kan, Larry Kudlow, Chris Liddell, Steven Mnuchin, Robert O’Brien, Matthew Pottinger, Robert Redfield, Joel Szabat, Seema Verma, Robert Wilkie, or Donald Trump. The database includes cable news programming on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC from 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday.