Secretary Azar on Fox News' America's Newsroom to discuss coronavirus

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Administration officials have overwhelmingly flocked to Fox to discuss coronavirus

Since February 27, Fox-affiliated networks have had more interviews with Trump officials about coronavirus than all other networks combined

  • As the coronavirus outbreak in the United States worsens, you might expect the presidential administration to take to the airwaves to disseminate vital information about the disease. But under President Donald Trump, viewers wanting to hear from officials would be most likely to find them on Fox News Channel, Fox Business, or Fox News Sunday.

    Fox-affiliated networks have hosted administration officials more times than all other networks combined since Vice President Mike Pence was named to lead the White House’s coronavirus response, with 58% of all administration interviews that mentioned coronavirus taking place on Fox News, Fox Business, or Fox News Sunday.

    Trump’s  administration has taken to Fox News for a safe harbor since the beginning of his presidency, but now that approach comes when Fox News and Fox Business personalities are minimizing the risks and dangers of COVID-19. As administration officials flock to Fox -- a network known for not challenging the president -- the danger of repeating Trump’s falsehoods about the disease only intensifies.

    Media Matters reviewed appearances by Trump administration officials since February 27 on the major broadcast, cable news, and cable business networks in segments that at least mentioned coronavirus. Out of 51 total interviews with Trump officials, 30 have been on Fox-affiliated networks.

  • Trump administration official interviews mentioning coronavirus
  • Following a confrontation with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid noted that after holding interviews with Fox News and Fox Business, he declined to take questions from reporters with other news outlets.

  • Six of Azar’s nine television interviews since February 27 have been on Fox-affiliated networks. Two of his other three appearances were on Sunday morning political talk shows -- ABC’s This Week and CBS’ Face the Nation -- and one was on CNN’s New Day. In his CNN appearance, on March 10, Azar admitted that the administration has no idea how many Americans have been tested: “We don’t know exactly how many because hundreds of thousands of our tests have gone out to private labs and hospitals that currently do not report in to CDC.”

  • Five of Pence’s seven interviews have been on Fox-affiliated networks. His other two were on Sunday shows: NBC’s Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union

    U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has given five of his six interviews to Fox. In his one non-Fox interview, on CNN’s State of the Union, Adams dodged questions about how many Americans in the U.S. have been tested for coronavirus.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, represented the largest portion of these guest spots, with 17 interviews, or more than 33% of the total. But Fauci -- who is not a Trump appointee but serves on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force -- was also somewhat of an outlier, as he was the only administration official who had more collective appearances on other networks than on Fox-affiliated ones. If he is removed from the total, the portion of interviews with Trump administration officials on Fox-affiliated networks jumps to more than 73%.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters reviewed transcripts in the SnapStream video database for appearances by the following officials in the Trump administration: Jerome Adams, Matt Albence, Alex Azar, William Barr, David Bernhardt, Dan Brouillette, Jovita Carranza, James Carroll, Ben Carson, Elaine Chao, Kellyanne Conway, Betsy DeVos, Mark Esper, Anthony Fauci, J. Hogan Gidley, Richard Grenell, Gina Haspel, Kelly Knight Craft, Larry Kudlow, Bob Lighthizer, Brian McGuire, Mark Meadows, Steven Mnuchin, Mark Morgan, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pence, Sonny Perdue, Mike Pompeo, Wilbur Ross, Eugene Scalia, Donald Trump, Ellen Weintraub, Andrew Wheeler, Robert Wilkie, and Chad Wolf.

    We searched for all original programming on ABC’s Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and This Week; CBS’ This Morning, Evening News, Face the Nation, and 60 Minutes; NBC’s Today, Nightly News, and Meet the Press; Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday; and all-day programing on CNN, CNBC, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, and MSNBC from February 27 through 9 a.m. March 10, 2020. We included only those interviews in which coronavirus was at least mentioned.