A member of Laura Ingraham’s “Medicine Cabinet” of pandemic quacks just won GOP support for governor of Minnesota

Minnesota GOP candidate Scott Jensen used Fox News prime time to build his political brand as a COVID-19 conspiracy theorist

The Minnesota Republican Party convention over the weekend endorsed former state Sen. Scott Jensen for governor, positioning him as the party’s likely nominee to face Democratic Gov. Tim Walz in November. Jensen has built his campaign on pushing misinformation against COVID-19 health measures, especially against the vaccines, and he built up his public profile with a long trail of appearances on Fox News.

According to Media Matters’ internal database, Jensen, a physician, has appeared at least 15 times on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle as a member of her “Medicine Cabinet,” promoting a number of false and dangerous claims about the COVID-19 pandemic. His first appearance was on the April 8, 2020, edition of the show, in which he and the host accused hospitals of overcounting COVID-19-related deaths and complications for financial incentives.

“Any time health care intersects with dollars, it gets awkward,” Jensen claimed. “Right now, Medicare has determined that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital, you'll get paid $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator, you'll get $39,000 — three times as much.”

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Citation From the April 8, 2020, edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle

Then-President Donald Trump later echoed the claims that the COVID-19 death count had been padded so that “doctors get more money and hospitals get more money,” a message he likely got from Fox News. (In fact, medical authorities have long argued that COVID-19 cases and deaths were really being undercounted.)

In subsequent appearances on The Ingraham Angle, Jensen promoted the use of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as well as the antiparasitic drug ivermectin for treating COVID-19, both of which have been shown to be ineffective for that purpose.

In a recent appearance this past February, Jensen told Ingraham to “follow the money” on the promotion of COVID-19 vaccines. “We know that this has been about power, it’s been about control,” he said. “It’s been about big government, Big Tech, it’s been about Big Pharma, and it’s coming to an end and they're getting scared.”

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Citation From the February 11, 2022, edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle

Jensen is a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, a conservative organization peddling pandemic misinformation that right-wing media have promoted. The group’s founder Simone Gold was later arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Jensen became one of the lead plaintiffs in May 2021 for a lawsuit brought by Gold’s organization, seeking to block the emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccines for use on children ages 12 to 16. At the time, Jensen said he “did not know Simone was in any hot water over Jan. 6.” Gold has since pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and she is awaiting sentencing.

The petition for the lawsuit states: “Given that the statistical chance of death for children ages 0 to 16 is 0%, Dr. Jensen believes it would be reckless to subject anyone in that age group to the experimental COVID-19 vaccine. To recommend something that he considers reckless would violate his oath as a doctor and place him in an untenable position.” Right-wing voices have long downplayed the risks to children from COVID-19, instead linking any deaths to other comorbidities as well as ignoring the risks of long COVID.

Jensen has also dabbled in paranoid theories about the 2020 election, having suggested jailing Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state for supposed election cheating. (Joe Biden carried Minnesota by a 7-point margin in 2020.)