On CNN, guests explain how Fox News “laid the seeds” for Trump supporters to deny coronavirus threat

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Citation From the April 19, 2020, edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter

BRIAN STELTER (HOST): Fox hosts influencing the president's words and actions is nothing new at this point. Philip Bump, is there anything new about how it's happening this time around? 

PHILIP BUMP (WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT): No, it's sort of fascinating. I mean, there are a couple things that are new, just in terms of around the edges. But it's sort of fascinating to see how part of what's happened here is that Fox News hosts were following Donald Trump's initial lead — downplaying the virus — which created this base within the Republican Party, within Republicans who are Fox News fans and Trump fans, who are now skeptical that the virus is a big deal, anyway. So they sort of actually laid the seeds for them now to come back and say, “Okay, it's time to move past this, because nothing really is happening anyway.” So it's sort of interesting how over the course of the past month, Fox News has sort of gone full circle, and helped set the stage for where we are today. One of the things we are seeing, though, is in this push to reopen — and you know, as you said earlier in the show, everyone wants to see this reopen, but I think those two-thirds that were reflected in the Pew poll want to make sure we do so responsibly — the question is the extent to which and how Fox News is pushing for that to happen.

So we saw, for example, this week on two different occasions they had Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil come on and sort of poo-poo this idea that was something to be particularly concerned about here, by making bad comparisons or downplaying the extent of the potential death toll. Those sorts of things, I think, are new at least in the moment, and are used in service to this broader idea of, “There's nothing big to worry about here. Let's listen to what Donald Trump is saying in the moment.”

STELTER: What about the argument that we are seeing from some commentators, especially on the right — that the media is overhyping this the media is causing hysteria — that they are blaming the media for that, Juliette?

JULIETTE KAYYEM (CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST): This is called — look, I've been here before. Been there, done that. This is called the preparedness paradox. It means that people like me, who have been urging staying inside, people like the doctors, scientists, people who know about pandemics, say do this because it will save lives. People do it, as we've seen from the polling, as we've seen from the number of people inside, and therefore the numbers go down. This is not — we expected this to be called — to be told that we're overreacting, there are worse things in the world compared to the death that is occurring here. But it has a name, it's called the preparedness paradox, and just, you know, you just have to accept that's what these people do.