Fox News has promoted hydroxychloroquine nearly 300 times in a two-week period
From March 23 through April 6, Fox News figures and guests have made claims promoting an unproven drug treatment for COVID-19 nearly 300 times. Fox’s promotion has caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who has reportedly been advised on the use of antimalarials to treat COVID-19 by Fox News host Laura Ingraham and two doctors who regularly appear on her show.
Over a 15-day period, Fox personalities and guests have made statements promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine 275 times. In the same time period, there have been just 29 statements on the network questioning the effectiveness of the unproven drug treatment.
Notably, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has three times warned against pushing the efficacy of the drug while appearing on Fox News. Fauci has been outspoken about not pushing hydroxychloroquine before there’s data and evidence to support its use. However, it's clear that Fox News hasn't heeded his warning.
The most prominent promoter of the drugs is frequent Fox guest Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has made statements promoting the drugs at least 40 times on the network. Oz is followed by the hosts of Trump’s favorite Fox News programming: Laura Ingraham has made 35 claims promoting hydroxychloroquine; Sean Hannity has made 27 claims promoting its use; and Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade have each promoted the unproved medicine 10 times. Additionally, Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel has pushed it 11 times.
Media Matters’ original study on cable news’ promotion of hydroxychloroquine can be found here.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream and iQ media video databases for segments with any of the terms “hydroxychloroquine,” "malaria drug,” “antimalarial,” “azithromycin,” or any words with the roots “hydro” or “chloro” on Fox News from March 23 through April 6, 2020.
We included segments about the drugs in our analysis. Within those segments, we counted the number of claims that either promoted the use of the drugs or cast doubt on the efficacy of the drugs. We defined a single claim as an uninterrupted block of speech. For news packages, we considered clips supporting statements from a speaker as part of that speaker’s block of speech.
We counted as promotion of the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine any claims that encouraged the use of the drugs, including statements endorsing such treatments currently in use, mentions of personal use of such treatments, and expressions of hope or optimism that such treatments will work. We included any statements indicating that the drugs saved someone’s life as promotion.
We counted as casting doubt on the efficacy of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine any claims about the lack of clinical trials, the lack of solid scientific data or information, or the dangers of such treatments.