Fox News has a lot of blood on its hands, but, most of the time, the path from inciting hatred through a constant bombardment of deranged broadcasts to the development of real-world policy, violence, and bigotry is abstracted enough that the network can claim innocence. Its hypocritical coverage of the coronavirus, however, illustrated in a nauseating compilation of time-stamped comparison videos curated by the Washington Post’s The Fix, paints an extremely clear picture of just how dangerous Fox’s talking points actually are in recent, real-world terms.
The video begins on March 9 with Trish Regan doing one of her community theater-style monologues about how pandemic warnings were part of a petty attempt to impeach Trump. It then switches over to a clip from her show that aired a few days later (just after the White House addressed the nation), where, suddenly, Regan urges the country to test “for the virus in order to stop the spread of it.” The video continues on with these kind of examples, each spaced out to show Fox News’ line shifting from COVID-19 being a “hoax” to a legitimate threat that could, y’know, kill a lot of people.
Clips from before and after Trump’s position shifted show various hosts moving from dismissing the virus as less worrying than the seasonal flu to calling it, as shown in angry ghoul Jeanine Pirro’s change of blackened heart, “an incredibly contagious and dangerous virus.” On Monday, March 9, rectangle-headed dipshit Sean Hannity gets angry about anyone “using this virus,” which isn’t as deadly as “the standard flu,” as “a political weapon.” The next Monday, March 16, he tells viewers how important the quarantine is as a collective effort to halt its spread. Worst of all, Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt tells her audience on Friday, March 13 that the pandemic made it “the safest time to fly” before changing course yesterday with a comment about our “responsibility to slow down this virus and to think of other people during this time” through social distancing.
Of course, the difference made by a few days of taking the outbreak seriously or not matters tremendously when it comes to halting the spread of a highly contagious virus. Because Fox News treated the pandemic lightly—encouraging its audience to dismiss it as unimportant or a hoax—it encouraged others to do the same.
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