In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, when President Trump was obfuscating and misleading the nation about the pandemic, Fox News was his echo chamber.
While this story focuses on individuals, Fox News was a virtual COVID-19 criminal enterprise. Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity stand out, but other talking heads were just as culpable.
Fox Business News host Lou Dobbs, Fox Five’s Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perrino and Jeanine Pirro parroted Trump’s outrageous claims about the disease. Add Geraldo Rivera and Tomi Lahren as well.
As late as this past December, Carlson declared the pandemic a “global fraud” perpetrated by China and exploited by powerful elites.
But it was their messaging early in the pandemic that is the most damning.
Trump and right-wing Fox News talking heads went absurdly overboard dismissing the danger of COVID-19, delaying the nation’s response to the pandemic for weeks and putting the lives of countless Americans at risk.
Their comments were clearly motivated–and likely coordinated–to prop up the president’s misstatements and to attack politically what Hannity frequently refers to as the “media mob” and Dobbs labels the “national leftwing media.”
Hannity is memorable for his now infamous “Chicken Little” commentary:
“Tonight, I can absolutely report the sky is absolutely falling; we are all doomed; the end is near; the Apocalypse is imminent and you’re all going to die. Or, at least that’s what the media mob would like you to think,” he sneered.
“The far more deadly, the far more lethal threat right now is not the coronavirus, it’s the ordinary old flu,” said Rivera on Feb. 28. “People are dying right now… nobody has died yet from the coronavirus in the United States as far as we know.”
Pirro was emphatic on her Mar. 7 broadcast. “It’s a virus, like the flu,” she asserted. “All the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly doesn’t reflect reality.”
Watters, American Conservative Union lobbyist Matt Schlapp, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Fox talking head Ainsley Earhardt all sounded the same refrain–the virus was no more deadly than the common flu, and harder to contract.
Check out the video below: