Fox News hosts Dinesh D’Souza after he spread conspiracy theory about coronavirus death counts

D’Souza touts approach taken in Sweden — where COVID-19 deaths are higher than its neighbors — to preserve economy

Right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza appeared Monday night on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle — on the same day that he had tweeted a conspiracy theory claiming that coronavirus-related death totals were being inflated by medical practitioners, to deceive the public.

D’Souza’s very next tweet was a promotion of his appearance that night on Fox News:

During a previous appearance on The Ingraham Angle back in March, D’Souza dismissed the threat of coronavirus as spreading “mainly in the blue states,” even as outbreaks and shelter-in-place orders were going on in Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, and other states that had voted for President Donald Trump. (And since then, major outbreaks have occurred in the handful of red states without stay-at-home orders, such as South Dakota.)

During the April 20 show, D’Souza contrasted the approach of economic lockdowns with the program adopted in Sweden. “They have never had an economic lockdown, but they do have social distancing,” he said. “So it's possible to have one strategy without the other.”

Fox News personalities and other right-wing commentators have celebrated Sweden’s relatively hands-off approach, even as evidence continues to mount that it’s not working — the country now has nearly 10 times the number of coronavirus-related deaths than the other Nordic countries. (Though at the same time, that country’s economy has not been as severely hard-hit as locked-down areas — which appears to be what this is really all about for conservatives on Fox.)

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Citation From the April 20, 2020, edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Dinesh, as Dr. Fauci admits he doesn't have to make decisions with the economy in mind — that's not his focus — is that an issue?

DINESH D'SOUZA (AUTHOR): Well, I think that there have been two separate ideas that have been conflated from the beginning of this crisis. The first one is the idea of social distancing, and the other is the idea of a comprehensive economic lockdown.

Now, those have been pursued in tandem, but they're not the same. If you look to other countries — consider Sweden for example. They have never had an economic lockdown, but they do have social distancing. So it's possible to have one strategy without the other.

And yet what's happening now is there's a kind of rhetorical bludgeoning, in which protesters who are saying, “Listen, let's take a second look. Yeah, we're all for social distancing, but there may be ways to open up the economy and still have social distancing.”

And those people are treated as if they are somehow reckless, as if they are not considering the possibility of death, as if they're trying to infect their friends. Nothing could be further from the truth. A legitimate debate is being demonized, and I think that's very unfortunate.

It is also notable that D’Souza denounced the “rhetorical bludgeoning” of protesters against the lockdowns and stated that they accepted social distancing but not economic shutdowns. Fox News has actively promoted and encouraged the ongoing protests at state capitols — in which, as you can see from the video clips, a great many people are not at all practicing correct social distancing measures.