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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The Fox Business show hosted by Trish Regan will be going on hiatus until further notice after she received scrutiny for saying on the show that concerns about the coronavirus outbreak were “another attempt to impeach the president.” She further stated that the Democrats and liberal media were using the coronavirus to “demonize and destroy” Donald Trump by blaming him for the pandemic, causing “mass-hysteria,” and bringing down the stock market to “stop [the] economy dead in its tracks.”
Fox has faced repeated controversy over how it has handled and conveyed information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak to viewers.
Recently, Fox News host Sean Hannity told his fans to ignore any warnings from the Democrats about the coronavirus, remarking that “since the beginning, all they’ve done is use the virus, politicize the virus to bludgeon President Trump.”
Jerry Falwell Jr., who appeared on Fox and Friends as a guest this week, said it was “just strange to [him] how so many are overreacting” about the virus. Similar to Hannity and Regan, he also accused the Democrats of causing panic and “hype” as “their next attempt to get Trump.”
So far in the United States, more than 3,000 people have contracted the virus with the death toll being at least 60. Globally, the virus has now killed more than 5,000 people and infected around 130,000. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a pandemic and that the virus has a 3.4 percent death rate; much deadlier than seasonal flu.
Political writer Eric Boehlert, during an interview on MSNBC’s AM Joy with host Joy Ann Reid, blasted Fox News, calling it a “cancer on this country.” He particularly criticized Fox for perpetuating a rhetoric that concerns of the virus are overreactions and simply politically motivated against Trump. He argued that this brainwashes viewers into believing that the virus should not be taken seriously.
“The problem is when people watch Fox News, the hardcore viewers, they don’t watch it with an à la carte menu, they don’t pick and choose which topics they think they believe or maybe they are not going to believe. They are all in. They believe everything. Even during a pandemic,” Boehlert said.
Reid suggested that the Fox News disinformation could potentially lead to actual loss of lives, especially as the average age of Fox viewers is 65, meaning they are more vulnerable to the virus. When she asked Boehlert if it was possible that “Fox may want to try to save its own viewers by forcing this narrative to change?” he rejected this possibility.
“Fox News has been getting people killed for years, I mean just look at their crusade against affordable health care and crusade against expanding Medicaid,” Boehlert remarked, adding, “their programming is to vilify, stir hatred and paranoia, and if it’s a pandemic as the backdrop then they are going to do it.”
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