On June 26, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy commented that “125,000 Americans have died so far” of COVID-19. However, most discussion of the “jaw-dropping” number was a setup to mock presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for accidentally saying that “over 120 million” have died, even though co-host Ainsley Earhardt also clarified (once) that Biden “corrected himself immediately.”
According to a Media Matters analysis, Fox & Friends’ June 26 mentions of the national COVID-19 death toll were the first time the show mentioned it since at least June 18, when it was brought up briefly by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) -- not the hosts -- in response to a question about unemployment benefits.
The June 26 edition did feature a handful of news-style reports about America’s new single-day record for new cases (including just before Doocy’s first Biden segue). But not only did these segments not mention the national death toll, they also pushed the president’s false claim that COVID-19 cases are up because testing is up.
Other than those misleading segments, Fox & Friends treated the 125,000 confirmed American deaths from coronavirus as little more than the setup to criticize Biden, and guests used his misstatement to speculate about his alleged “dementia” and “mental impairment” -- even though Earhardt seemed to admit that the error was insignificant. Rather than meeting the somber gravity of the staggering death toll with the seriousness it deserved, Fox & Friends chose half-hearted mockery against its favorite viewer’s political rival.