Since Saturday, Fox & Friends’ weekend and weekday editions have hosted just one medical professional over 41 total interviews and guest panels -- featuring a total of 49 guests -- that discussed some aspect of the coronavirus.
That single medical professional was St. Mary’s Hospital intensive care unit nurse Michelle Vaughan from Richmond, Virginia. Her interview on May 16’s Fox & Friends Weekend focused on Be There Bears, a program she co-created that provides teddy bears embedded with audio recordings from family members for patients recovering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The interview touched on both the teddy bear program and NASCAR’s plan to honor Vaughan, among other front-line health care workers, during the sports league’s comeback race that aired on Fox Sunday. But the segment failed to focus on any of the health implications of the virus.
By contrast, Fox & Friends hosted small-business owners 15 times and politicians and pundits 12 times each since Saturday.
These interviews included three conversations with Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym in New Jersey, over the last four days -- that’s three times as often as the show hosted any medical professional about the coronavirus.
Smith has become something of a folk hero recently on the network for defying his state’s executive order and reopening his gym anyway. The show also hosted salon owners Sarah Huff, who received a cease-and-desist letter after reopening her salon despite stay-at-home orders in her home state of Michigan, and Lindsey Graham, whom the state of Oregon fined $14,000 for reopening in defiance of state orders. Huff took to Facebook over the weekend, saying she will lose her “house,” “business,” and “livelihood” if she doesn’t get “back to work.”
In all, 28 of the 41 interviews and panels focused on three economic impacts of the virus: the difficulties facing small businesses during statewide shutdowns; efforts some states and localities are taking to reopen their economies; and the coronavirus relief package known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, passed by the Democratic-led House last Friday.
One thing is apparent from Fox & Friends' discussion of the coronavirus: The show's focus is clearly on the economic impacts of state and local stay-at-home orders and closures of nonessential businesses rather than the health aspects of the pandemic.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for any interviews or guest panels that included any of the terms “coronavirus,” “virus,” “COVID-19,” “reopen,” “pandemic,” “outbreak,” “stimulus,” “vaccine,” or “treatment” on Fox & Friends Weekend for May 16 and 17. We also reviewed video in real time for the Fox & Friends episodes that aired May 18 and 19 for any interviews or panels that discussed any aspect of the coronavirus.