On Wednesday, the United States passed 100,000 recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That heartbreaking figure, which emphasizes the virus’ horrific toll and the ineptitude of the federal response, was front-page news for outlets across the country -- but was largely downplayed and ignored by the pro-Trump propagandists at Fox News.
Online, the story was buried at the bottom of Fox’s website on Wednesday and had disappeared by Thursday morning. On the network’s airwaves, it has generally been relegated to brief mentions, referenced only late in programs, or ignored altogether. In total, Fox devoted only 11 minutes of airtime to the story between 5 p.m. EST Wednesday and noon Thursday, according to a Media Matters review.
Fox host Laura Ingraham briefly interrupted her Wednesday night diatribe about the “power-crazed leftist governors" supposedly using “scare tactics" about the novel coronavirus and acknowledged the horrendous death toll the United States has suffered from the virus. “The Angle, of course, isn’t saying that the coronavirus shouldn’t be taken seriously; we take it very seriously,” she said. “The human toll, the economic toll -- of course we’ve passed 100,000 deaths. It’s just been heartbreaking.”
That was the sole mention a Fox prime-time host made last night about the U.S. reaching that grim milestone, part of a consistent pattern at Fox of not discussing the death toll during its most-watched hours. On Tucker Carlson’s program the same evening, the figure came up only in clips from other networks that the host pilloried as excessively critical of President Donald Trump. Sean Hannity, meanwhile, devoted his entire broadcast to George Floyd and the Minnesota protests in response to his killing by a police officer.
They also had plenty of time for their typical nonsense.
Things were much the same Thursday morning. All three broadcast networks ran segments about the death toll early in their programs. But on Fox & Friends, the story was relegated to a pair of news headline reads and a couple of other mentions.
Fox’s purported “straight news” programs have been little better, with their mentions of the story typically fleeting, often coming among a litany of other coronavirus news.