Fox News’ early coverage of novel coronavirus COVID-19, which minimized the risk the disease posed in order to provide political cover to President Donald Trump, should be a stain on the network and its propagandists that never washes out.
Watch this video from The Washington Post.
Fox had a responsibility to provide its viewers with clear, accurate information about the ongoing public health crisis. Instead, for crucial weeks, as COVID-19 spread to become a global pandemic, the network’s propagandists downplayed the danger posed by the virus and portrayed it as a politicized hoax engineered by Democrats and the media in order to damage their beloved president. That initial coverage doubtlessly fed Trump’s own lack of concern over the threat, hampering public efforts to curtail the coronavirus. Only after Trump himself showed signs of taking the virus more seriously did many of the network’s hosts pivot and begin informing their viewers they were facing a “crisis.”
And now, the network wants to recast its earlier coverage as sober, reality-minded skepticism.
At a time of maximum peril, Fox put the president’s political standing over the health and well-being of its viewers and the country as a whole. This should follow each and every person who participated in the despicable effort for the rest of their days.
UPDATE (3/18/20): People who pay the most attention to Fox News are much less likely to say they are worried about coronavirus, according to a new poll.