As COVID-19 surges in South Dakota, Laura Ingraham hails the state as a model

On the October 21 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham did a softball interview with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Ingraham led into the interview with a misleadingly optimistic presentation about how COVID-19 is affecting the state by giving numbers for one day and ignoring the massive spike in cases in October.

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Citation From the October 21, 2020, edition of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Under surge, under seize -- siege, whatever. We all do that. I do that. It's late at night. Now, those claims of this COVID explosion in South Dakota deserve a little fact-checking don't you think? Yesterday the state reported just 621 new cases and seven deaths. And as to the idea that hospitals are being overwhelmed, well COVID patients only occupy 12.4% of South Dakota's hospital beds. But that doesn't even tell the whole story because those talking heads you just heard want South Dakota to fail because they didn't lock down in South Dakota. And what has that produced? Well, something people really love. It's called a job. An unemployment rate that is the second-lowest in the country. Now, look at how this compares to blue states where things are really blue. New York, Illinois, California, Hawaii. Of course, they had the most draconian of lockdowns and restrictions. Total disaster zones. Joining me now is South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Governor, have you gotten any apologies from those individuals?

GOV. KRISTI NOEM: No, no apologies, Laura. But my people are happy. They appreciated the fact that we didn't shut down their businesses. We allowed them to be flexible, take care of health and protect the public while still taking care of their customers and their employees as well. So we're doing really good in South Dakota. We're managing COVID-19. But also our economy is thriving. I think people are really recognizing that leadership has consequences. And what we're doing in South Dakota is Republican leadership.

INGRAHAM: Now, Gov. Noem, when you toured the country, and I know you done some campaign events for President Trump, there is still a lot of women out there who -- especially women, I think more so than men, for whatever reason -- they're really freaked out and worried - this has been a terrible tragedy for the country, about COVID. And many of them think the president hasn't handled it well. But given what we're seeing in Europe with 200,000 cases now there and the economic damage, what can you say to the women of this country who are -- they're concerned?

NOEM: They're concerned about health but Laura, we're having real honest conversations. They're also concerned about their children, about their education. They recognize they're falling behind every day because in some of these Democrat-run states, their kids still aren't in the classroom. They're also worried about law and order. About raising their children on safe streets. And that's not happening in these blue states either. So, you know, the women are recognizing that they care about keeping their children healthy but also their children aren't the ones that are the most vulnerable during this pandemic. And meanwhile, they're the ones suffering the biggest consequences. They're not getting the education they deserve. They're living in a world that is filled with anxiety and fear - which the media is perpetuating - which is a grave disservice to our kids. And then, they're also living with more crime on their streets and concerned about even being able to let their kids walk down the street. So, I've just been telling folks that it matters who's in charge, it matters who's making decisions, that we all get emotional during campaigns and this is not the time to be emotional. We have to look at policies. What this president has done and how he's kept us safe.

Currently, over 220,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. The United States is witnessing a surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the nation. In South Dakota, the rate of new cases is one of the highest in the nation, with the 14-day average positivity rate being at 24% on October 14 -- roughly four times the national average rate of 5.1%. Since then, there’s been a 37% increase in the average number of cases per day. Hospitalization rates have increased so dramatically that parts of the state have run out of available general-care hospital beds. But Noem has blamed the surging case rate in her state on expanded testing, echoing claims by President Donald Trump.

Fox has downplayed the risk of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Ingraham herself has been Fox’s most prolific misinformer on COVID-19 and has peddled unproven treatments for the coronavirus. By continuing to fail at providing an accurate presentation of the risks COVID-19 poses to Americans, Fox is endangering the lives of its viewers.