President Donald Trump held a large outdoor campaign rally in Wisconsin during the state’s spike in new COVID-19 cases, and Fox News — Trump’s media ally and informal adviser — basically ignored the virus in its coverage.
On October 17, Trump held a series of campaign rallies in the Midwest, including one in Wisconsin, which currently has the fifth highest number of new coronavirus cases in the last seven days. Just last Sunday, his own White House coronavirus task force released a state report for Wisconsin that recommended mitigation efforts, including “mask wearing, physical distancing, … avoiding crowds in public” to avoid “preventable deaths.”
Despite all this, Trump pressed ahead with the rally, and several of his loyal Fox servants -- in both the “news” and opinion divisions -- reported on it without mentioning that his campaign is likely spreading COVID-19, instead treating the rally as though there is no pandemic.
Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke previewed the Wisconsin rally on October 17 with glowing coverage of the support Trump received from the Michigan crowd, as well as his “simple” message of “rejecting the Democrats’ plans to tear down the country,” followed by a clip of Trump appearing to criticize coronavirus mitigation efforts. The following day, the “straight news” show America’s News Headquarters reported on Trump’s “back-to-back rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin” and Trump’s focus on “his economic message.”
During a Fox & Friends Weekend segment on “a free speech rally,” reporter Mark Meredith mentioned that Trump “blasted Big Tech” in Wisconsin and previewed several of his upcoming rallies. Later on the show, the co-hosts discussed the Michigan and Wisconsin rallies, and co-host Jedediah Bila (a survivor of COVID-19) finally mentioned the virus -- not in context of the crowded and largely maskless rally in a state seeing a spike, but to speculate about how many Americans have mailed in their votes so far.