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OVERVIEW: FOX NEWS' COVERAGE

OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC


Medically Inaccurate, Malevolently Racist, Motivated by Politics
Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Executive Summary
As coronavirus became a global health crisis, Fox News has spent weeks putting the health and well-being of
millions of viewers and, thanks to the symbiotic relationship between Fox and the White House, the country as a
whole at risk. Here’s how:

Defending and praising President Donald Trump’s response, while attacking others as a distraction 2
Sycophantic praise of the administration’s handling of coronavirus 2
Blatant lies defending the administration’s response 7
Attacking Democrats and the media 9
Repeatedly downplaying and dismissing the risks, spread, and impact of COVID-19 13
Overtly downplaying the spread, risks, and impact of COVID-19 14
Dismissing the concerns about COVID-19 as an attempt to hurt Trump 21
Attacking institutions attempting to warn and protect the public 24
Repeatedly amplifying harmful conspiracy theories about the origin and treatment of COVID-19 25
Promoting inaccurate conspiracies about the origins of COVID-19 26
Giving a platform to unproven and sometimes false “cures” 27
Deploying racism and xenophobia and blaming the most vulnerable for the outbreak 30
Racism and xenophobia 31
Attacks on homeless populations 34
Spreading misinformation about the economic impacts of COVID-19 36
Promoting misinformation about the economic impacts of COVID-19 36
Pushing Trump to prioritize the economy over human lives 37
Fox’s so-called “news” personalities are no exception to spreading misinformation 40

Fox’s coverage has had devastating consequences. Opinion polls show that Fox News viewers are far less likely
than others to believe the crisis is serious and to think that the media coverage of it is overblown. Trump, too, has
aligned with Fox’s tone, dragging his feet in addressing the seriousness of the outbreak and squandering precious
time and resources to mobilize a more effective global response.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Defending and praising President Donald Trump’s response, while attacking


others as a distraction
Since mid-February, Fox News and Fox Business hosts and contributors have cheered Trump’s handling of the
coronavirus outbreak while trying to distract from the administration’s struggles by attacking Democrats and
reputable news organizations.

Sycophantic praise of the administration’s handling of coronavirus

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing editor of Fox’s health news, said: “I think that this is going to come and it’s
going to go. I think we have it under control. ... I’ve never seen such a quick response.”
DR. MANNY ALVAREZ (FOX HEALTH NEWS SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR): I think that this is going to come
and it’s going to go. I think we have it under control. I think that President Trump's task force is
magnificent.
HARRIS FAULKNER (HOST): It was quick, too.

ALVAREZ: It was magnificent. I've never seen such a quick response. [Fox News, Outnumbered Overtime,
2/4/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel said of the Trump administration, “I can't believe how well they are
handling this.”

CHARLES PAYNE (GUEST HOST): You know, doc, on Friday, I think one of the things that actually helped
the market was a report out from Morning Consult that 61% of Americans felt that the government, the
U.S. government, was doing the right thing in the way they have been handling this coronavirus. Only 23%
did not. Contrasting that with the Ebola virus, where 62% thought the government mishandled that. Are
you happy with the way the government's handled this, the way the CDC has handled everything?

MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): Charles, I have been following contagious outbreaks,
as you know, for 15 or more years. I can't believe how well they are handling this. The proof is in the
pudding. We have 15 people in the United States with it. That's it. No one has died. The case in Washington
got an experimental drug, recovered. I mean, the travel advisories and restrictions -- so far, everything is
working. CDC has a very patented plan: isolate people, identify the problem, and look at contacts of
everyone that's been in contact with a person that gets coronavirus. This is working so far. Our biggest
problem is the burgeoning number of cases in China. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 2/17/20]

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs congratulated the Trump administration “because within this country, it seems to
be under control and every safeguard taken.”
LOU DOBBS (HOST): Well, one of those -- and congratulations to you, to the administration, and to the
president for what you are doing, because within this country, it seems to be under control and every
safeguard taken. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/18/20]
Dobbs said “the government has done an amazing job, I think, in constraining the spread of the virus into this
country.”

LOU DOBBS (HOST): Let's turn to the coronavirus. It is -- as Ken Cuccinelli and I were just discussing, it is a
low thread, as he put it, in this country because we only have, well, at least 15 confirmed cases. But we
have others under observation. They've done -- the government has done an amazing job, I think, in
constraining the spread of the virus into this country. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/18/20]

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dobbs and Siegel agreed that Trump’s leadership on coronavirus had been superb.

LOU DOBBS (HOST): Breaking news tonight. Two passengers have died from the coronavirus. They were
released from quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Princess Cruises says it plans to have the
ship sailing again by the end of April after what they term a “thorough cleaning.” Fourteen Americans who
were on that ship still remain in Japan. They're under quarantine tonight.
Worldwide, the coronavirus has killed more than 2,200 people, infected more than 76,000. And a new
Gallup poll finds 77% of Americans surveyed are very confident in the Trump administration's ability to
handle the coronavirus outbreak. That's higher than any administration in any of the previous health
scares that the country has had. Joining us tonight, Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel.
Doctor, good to have you with us. Are you impressed by that -- the number of Americans who have got
that much confidence in the Trump administration?

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): Absolutely, Lou. I think that the task force that
the president put together and his leadership on this has been tremendous. I have followed health scares,
as you know, for many years and contagions. And you know what's different this time? The messaging.
Because we have this enormous threat to us over there in China infecting probably well over 100,000
people in real numbers, and the messaging from CDC, from NIH, from the president, from Alex Azar, from
the Department of Homeland Security has been here's what we're doing to try to contain it here.
Transparency. Here's what the numbers are here. Here's how we're isolating people. They're spreading
confidence.
DOBBS: And every one of those people you mentioned, including yourself, have been straightforward,
treating the audience of this broadcast and all of our fellow citizens as adults. Straight talk and some
careful language as well, just because you don't want to overstate the situation. I understand that. But
this has been a remarkable exercise for the American people because we're sitting here still with 15 -- it's
15 right now who have come down with the virus. I think it's being managed well. The results speak for
themself. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/20/20]

Alvarez said: “I think that the federal response has been incredibly positive.”

DR. MANNY ALVAREZ (FOX HEALTH NEWS SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR): Well, listen, in those
communities, whether you’re talking about China and what they did, and South Korea, they can take more
draconian measures. But I have to tell you, and I think I've spoken to hundreds of physicians and different
scientists and biotech companies since the epidemic broke out, the president's action of closing the
border was the right move. The task force -- I mean, he has incredible task force put together, looking at
exactly how is all this -- you know, this is a big country. This is not Korea. We have 50 individual countries,
if you will, with large populations. So I think that the federal response has been incredibly positive. [Fox
News, Fox News Democracy 2020, 3/10/20]

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier praised Trump for focusing on the economic impact of
coronavirus instead of public health.

DR. NICOLE SAPHIER (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): So we now have called it a pandemic — OK,
great, we know that. It's already in the United States, we have community spread. The administration is
doing what they can from a specialty standpoint. They're doing what they

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
can to contain and mitigate. They're testing more, they're closing — they're not having large gatherings.
Some schools are closing. They are doing what they need to do, and the word is getting out there. We are
having daily briefings, and people are being educated. What I am not going to pretend to know is — the
economic person that President Trump is. And I think it is great that we have a president who has
historically done wonderful for our economy, who is actually going to continue to focus on that while he
lets the specialists and the experts focus on containing the coronavirus. [Fox News, Outnumbered,
3/11/20]

Fox host Sean Hannity praised Trump for “the number of Americans that did not contract” coronavirus.

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Doctor Anthony Fauci did confirm on this program even last night that the
outbreak of this Wuhan, China, province coronavirus would have been far worse -- we will not be able to
even calculate the number of Americans that did not contract this disease because the president acted in
unprecedented ways and literally within three weeks. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/11/20]
Fox Business host Charles Payne pointed to an opinion poll to say the Trump administration has “done a pretty
good job” on coronavirus.

CHARLES PAYNE (GUEST HOST): I saw a piece out of Morning Consult survey there, and it was really
impressive because 61% approved of the way the government is handling this. Only 23% did not. Contrast
that with Ebola where only 27% thought the government did a good job and 62% did not. You know, this
is something -- initially, Joe Biden brought it up on one of the campaign stumps. But since then I haven't
heard a lot of Democrats talking about this. It feels like Americans think that the government, particularly
the CDC, have done a pretty good job.[Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/17/20]

In discussing Trump’s coronavirus response, Fox host Laura Ingraham said he “has great judgment, he has great
political and managerial skills.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/11/20]

Fox Nation host Tammy Bruce said Trump has “gotten the country healthy, healthy enough of course to
withstand this.”
TAMMY BRUCE (FOX NATION HOST): The president's gotten the country healthy, healthy enough of course
to withstand this, and even to lead the way in overcoming it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/20]

Fox anchor Martha MacCallum defended Trump from criticism: It was “only the second time he has done an
Oval Office speech.”

ARI FLEISCHER (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I regret to say that I thought the president's speech to the
nation last night was not reassuring. The manner in which the president read that speech, it appeared to
me, Martha, as if he had barely seen it before he read it off the teleprompter, and that was reflected in
the lack of emotion, the lack of connection, as he read that important speech. So, I think the president fell
short of that mark last night. Now, his policies, I think, are the right policies so far. The other factor, of
course, too, is as you pointed out, we need people to stand shoulder to shoulder. What a signal of
reassurance it would send when Democrats and Republicans stop the maneuvering and the posturing to
spend more on this program or that program, and do what is right to fight the virus.

MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): Yeah. You know, as far as the president's speech, you know, obviously, it
sounds like you -- you're citing, maybe a failure among, I don't know, the speechwriter, or making sure it
was run through several times before they went in there. This is only the second time he has done an Oval

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Office speech like that, and it is -- it is a unique sort of presentation, and it does demand -- it demands
attention, right? [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/12/20]
On Fox Business, radio host Sebastian Gorka said the coronavirus outbreak shows Trump “has been utterly
proven correct.”

SEBASTIAN GORKA: You called it two days ago and I supported you on social media: This is impeachment
2.0. This is a disgusting politicization of a Chinese virus that has killed people in the United States. There's
a reason that we have a population much larger than Italy, but Italy has factors more people infected and
people who have died. Why? Because the president was right.
He instigated a travel ban months ago which saved people's lives in the United States. This is the
vindication of everything that propelled him into the White House. Just look at the facts, whether it's the
border, building the wall, whether it's our overreliance on China, or whether it's reasserting America's
national sovereignty in the face of globalism, which undermines it. The president on just this one issue of
the Wuhan virus has been utterly proven correct. And the idea -- the clip you just played, Trish,
unbelievable that you have got Democrat leaders saying, "Well -- the virus is already here, so we don't
need to do anything about it." Is that what we said after 9/11? The terrorists executed 9/11, so it doesn't
matter if any more terrorists come into the country? It is rank politicization of a crisis and it is absolutely
despicable. [Fox Business, Trish Regan Primetime, 3/12/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel said he “would absolutely applaud the president's move” to ban most
travel from Europe to the U.S., which experts criticized.

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I would absolutely applaud the president's move last night
because, you know, there’s over 9,000 cases in Italy. There’s over 2,000 cases each in Spain and in France.
There’s over 13,000 cases in three countries alone, and our public health officials have determined that
they’ve helped to seed the cases here. Him banning travel for a month is a bold move, and that's the kind
of moves he’s been making. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/20]

Fox Business guest Doug Wead said that “from the standpoint of history,” Trump’s coronavirus response “is
almost perfect. It looks like he was born for this moment.”

DOUG WEAD (PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN): What he's doing right now, from the standpoint of history, is
almost perfect. It looks like he was born for this moment. For one thing, he's transparent by nature. He
gets into office and opens the files on the Warren commission, and UFOs, and the assassination of
Kennedy. When they criticized him for the phone call to Ukraine, he makes that public. So we hear what
he's thinking in real time -- he tells us. That's very healthy. Woodrow Wilson didn't tell the American
people anything and actually gave them misinformation which added to the crisis.

And Donald Trump seems to be beyond ideology. A conservative president might hesitate before putting
the full weight of the federal government behind this. And a Democrat president might
hesitate before allowing the private sector to become involved. Obama, as you know, had all these
regulations against private clinics, who are now trying the vaccines. So with Trump, you've got a man born
for this moment. He unites Walmart and Target and Pelosi and Mnuchin. He's willing to use the
government, he's willing to turn loose the private sector. He wants to do good, that desire to be a good
president. I think it's a healthy thing, even in spite of all the criticism. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/16/20]

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Fox host Sean Hannity declared Trump’s travel ban on China “without a doubt … the single most consequential
decision in history.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We can say this tonight without a doubt. The president’s China and European
travel ban I predict will go down as the single most consequential decision in history. That's not political.
It brought us time. It bought hospitals time to prepare for the worst-case scenario. [Fox News, Hannity,
3/16/20]
Fox Business host Charles Payne pointed to an opinion poll to say the Trump administration has “done a pretty
good job” on coronavirus.
CHARLES PAYNE (GUEST HOST): I saw a piece out of Morning Consult survey there, and it was really
impressive because 61% approved of the way government is handling this. Only 23% did not. Contrast
that with Ebola, where only 27% thought the government did a good job and 62% did not. You know, this
is something -- initially, Joe Biden brought it up on one of the campaign stumps. But since then I haven't
heard a lot of Democrats talking about this. It feels like Americans think that the government, particularly
the CDC, have done a pretty good job.

ROBERT MORAN (BRUNSWICK GROUP): Well I think there’s a couple things that are going on here. First,
at least right now at least, the coronavirus appears to be mostly contained to Hubei province and also to
mainland China, with a growing number of cases outside. But in the United States, I think we have only 15
cases as of today? So that, I think, number one, is still a very small number relative to our population. I
think the second is that the administration did very quickly start to shut down flights as a reaction, which
is what people worry about, and what people were concerned about during the Ebola outbreak. But the
question is not just -- so, the first question is, does it continue to spread? And that’s a big health and
economic question. But there’s another just basic economic question, which is, even if it’s contained in
Hubei, what does that do to the growth rate coming out of China and Asia and how does that impact the
U.S. economy?

PAYNE: Sure. But I think though with respect to President Trump and the idea, the commander-in-chief,
and how they’ve handled this so far, dovetails nicely with your list. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/17/20]

A poll on Lou Dobbs Tonight asked if Trump’s response to coronavirus has been “superb,” “great,” or “very
good.” Lou Dobbs called it an “important question.”
LOU DOBBS (HOST): Be sure to vote in our poll tonight. How would you grade President Trump's leadership
in the nation's fight against the Wuhan Chinese virus? Superb? Great? Or very good? Cast your vote on
Twitter, @loudobss. We'd like to hear from you on this important question. Scientific answers we will
share with you tomorrow evening. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/18/20]

Blatant lies defending the administration’s response


Fox host Laura Ingraham claimed people were criticizing Trump’s appointment of Vice President Mike Pence to
lead the coronavirus response only because “he’s not a liberal” and “is pro-life,” rather than because he is not
qualified. Ingraham dismissed critics of Pence’s selection to oversee the coronavirus task force as “so pathetic
they're almost not worth dignifying with a response. They really just hate the fact that Mike Pence is pro-life. That
he doesn't believe in enabling drug users, basically that he's not a liberal.” In fact, Pence’s policies as governor led
to a wider HIV outbreak in Indiana. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/27/20; Media Matters, 2/26/20]

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
On America’s Newsroom, a GOP consultant lied about Trump’s record on health care. On America’s Newsroom,
Republican consultant Brad Blakeman argued that with coronavirus spreading, Trump had “tried very hard to
change health care for the better. He was stopped by Democrats.” In fact, the Republican proposals to repeal the
Affordable Care Act in 2017 would not have changed health care “for the better” but would have instead
eviscerated protections for preexisting conditions. The potential impact of the ACA’s repeal would have meant
tens of millions more people living without health insurance or paying increased premiums. Additionally, the
Trump administration has continued seeking to overturn the entire ACA through the court system. [Fox News,
America’s Newsroom, 3/4/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel joined Fox host Sean Hannity in misleadingly comparing Obama’s swine
flu response with Trump’s coronavirus response.

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): All right, Dr. Siegel, maybe as a point of comparison, you have written extensively
on H1N1, and that was a pandemic in 2009-10, and America's response then, and the total number of
Americans that have died. Why don't we compare and contrast what we did, how quickly we reacted,
what didn't we do, what did we do? Because I see what the president has done tonight, and what the
president has done heretofore has never happened before.

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Sean, in the swine flu outbreak 2009-10, we had 60 million
Americans infected, and almost 300,000 were hospitalized. And as you mentioned, at least 13,000 deaths.
Sixty million people were affected, and the response to it wasn't as quick as this. We didn't have any travel
bans. Cutting off travel to China was a huge move. I was absolutely -- I was so affected by what the
president did tonight. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/11/20]

When Trump proposed zeroing out the payroll tax as part of an economic stimulus package, Fox News lied about
the proposal. Fox News misleadingly claimed that Obama had done something similar, arguing that Democrats
only are pushing back because Trump introduced the proposal. In reality, Obama had proposed a payroll tax cut
for 2%, as opposed to Trump’s proposal to zero out the tax. Fox News also ignored the fact that Trump’s proposal
could endanger Social Security and Medicare. [Media Matters, 3/12/20]

Fox anchor Ed Henry falsely claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put abortion funding into a coronavirus
bill. On America’s Newsroom, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) claimed that by not including the Hyde Amendment in a
coronavirus spending bill, “you could spend up to a billion dollars effectively on state-sponsored abortions, state-
funded abortions.” Co-anchor Ed Henry echoed this claim, saying, “A lot of people [are] raising eyebrows as to
why Speaker Pelosi wanted that abortion funding, as you say, in there for something that is an emergency.” In
fact, as The American Independent explained, the bill made clear that the funding can only be used for “COVID-
19 diagnostic tests and related administration or service costs.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 3/13/20; The
American Independent, 3/12/20]

Fox host Sean Hannity: “Our health care system has adequate ventilators, ICU beds, medical professionals.”

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We need to prepare for the worst case scenario. The president and his task force
confirmed they are. Now, as it stands, our health care system has adequate ventilators, ICU beds, medical
professionals, and ultimately, like I said, we must prepare for the worst, pray for the best. In the
meantime, wash your hands, stay at home. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/16/20]

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Attacking Democrats and the media

Tucker Carlson called it “totally insane” for media to question the lack of diversity on Trump’s coronavirus task
force.

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): As you've just heard, the coronavirus is a serious, serious threat, certainly
potentially, and authorities are taking it seriously in this and other countries. But over on CNN, still calling
itself a news channel even as of tonight, here's what the story means -- and we're going to read this tweet:
"Coronavirus task force another example of the Trump administration's lack of diversity."

Then they include the picture just to let you know that it's the wrong color. The people working to protect
you from coronavirus, this is CNN's takeaway, are the wrong color. Speaking of viruses, wokeness is a
virus. It's infectious, it destroys your brain, you are watching it happen to people all around you, certainly
on the left, some running for president, many working at CNN. You wind up writing stuff like that once
you're infected. Totally insane. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/30/20]

Fox contributor Newt Gingrich criticized Democrat-led San Francisco as “irresponsible” for declaring an
emergency early.

NEWT GINGRICH (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR) I think the great irony of all of this is that the city of San
Francisco, in its usual irresponsible way, has already declared an emergency even though no one in San
Francisco has so far shown that they have the disease. And ask yourself this: If you've got 40 or 50,000
homeless people, how are you going to quarantine them? What are you going to do in San Francisco? [Fox
News, Hannity, 2/27/20]

Fox Business host Stuart Varney: Proposing we divert money from Trump's wall to address coronavirus will
drum up panic.

STUART VARNEY (FOX BUSINESS HOST): Look what some of the leading Democrats have been saying about
the president's performance on the virus. I think they've been creating a level of panic here, and that's

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not helping the market. Sen. Schumer called it -- called the president “dangerously incompetent." Speaker
Pelosi says it's shameful, late, too late, an anemic response. And Sen. Warren, as you said earlier this
morning, she has got a new plan coming. She would take money from that racist wall and divert it all to
the virus. If that's not drumming up some panic which actually encourages the downside move for the
market, I don't know what is. Politics is a factor. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/27/20]

Fox News’ coverage spurred attacks from Trump on journalists and Democrats about coronavirus. [Media
Matters, 2/27/20]

Fox host Pete Hegseth said Democrats and the media are “rooting for coronavirus to spread.”
PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): And listen, I don't want to say this, it's not, it doesn't -- I don't relish the reality,
but you start to feel -- you really do, watch the Democrats, watch the media -- you start to feel like they're
rooting for coronavirus to spread.

They're cheering -- I can't believe I'm on national television saying that Democrats are cheering for a virus
because they hate Donald Trump so much. And that's what it is. That's precisely what it is. If they were
focused on a solution, they would be working with him, they would be saying, let's put all the politics aside
and identify what the issue is and make sure we keep Americans safe. Instead, they are capitalizing on it,
you're going to see it in the Democrat primary even more. You're seeing it from candidates, you're seeing
it from The New York Times. It's a shame. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/28/20]
When the stock market plunged in late February, multiple Fox News personalities tried to blame Bernie Sanders’
candidacy for the drop. [Media Matters, 2/28/20]
Fox host Harris Faulkner suggested Democrats criticizing the administration's response to coronavirus are
“feeding hysteria.”

HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): The president firing back on this, accusing Democrats of trying to use the
coronavirus fear to their advantage.

(VIDEO BEGINS)
DONALD TRUMP: This is really above politics. It's easy for Schumer, "What kind of a job do you think they
are doing?" He should say they've done a great job. And you know what, he'd actually pick up votes,
people would respect him for that. Instead, "What kind of job," "They're doing a terrible job." He has no
idea.
(VIDEO ENDS)

FAULKNER: Does the president have a point? I mean, is it, you know, feeding hysteria to just beat up on
the other side? [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/28/20]

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs reported that 113,000 people in 111 countries and territories have been infected
by the coronavirus and blamed the media for overhyping it.
LOU DOBBS (HOST): Wall Street hit from almost every direction today, the national left-wing media playing
up fears of the coronavirus that has now infected 113,000 people as I said in 111 countries and territories
around the world. We'll turn to the dimensions of the pandemic here at home later in the show. [Fox
Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/9/20]

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In an unhinged opening monologue attacking Democrats and the media, former Fox Business host Trish Regan
said coronavirus is “yet another attempt to impeach the president.” Her show was canceled days after Regan
called coronavirus a scam.
TRISH REGAN (HOST): We've reached a tipping point. The chorus of hate being leveled at the president is
nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him and only him for a virus that originated halfway around the
world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president. And sadly it seems they care very little for
any of the destruction they are leaving in their wake. Losses in the stock market, all this, unfortunately,
just part of the political casualties for them. You know, this is the time to be united. Not to be pointing
fingers, not to be encouraging hate. And yet what do we see? We see the absolute opposite from the left
tonight.

...

The hate is boiling over. Many in the liberal media using, and I mean using, coronavirus in an attempt to
demonize and destroy the president. [Fox Business, Trish Regan Primetime, 3/9/20]

Fox anchor Martha MacCallum scolded a Democratic congressman for bringing up Trump’s coronavirus lies.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): I'm frankly most concerned about the president. I just saw a news story
today that he's made 29 false claims about the coronavirus. So, it seems like you can have the best
intentions, the best experts, everyone doing what we're supposed to do, and then the person at the top
can set us back with misinformation.
MARTHA MACCALLUM (ANCHOR): Yeah, I don't even think that -- I'm not sure that's particularly helpful
either. I mean, I think there've been a lot of, you know -- I'm saying -- you know, whoever came up with
these 29 claims, it's like -- I think -- we don't actually know how this is going to evolve. So, they're trying
to keep people --

SWALWELL: Well, I think -- yeah, I think, you know, his tweet that this is just like the flu -- like you just
said, it's not the flu.
MACCALLUM: No, but there's -- but that's -- you know, I'm just saying that in order to, you know, sort of
engender an atmosphere where we are working together, pulling together as a country,
you know, sort of enumerating things that -- I just think it's very difficult to know where this thing is going,
and I think that a lot of people say things on both sides that may not end up being true. [Fox News, The
Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/11/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier mocked the Democratic presidential candidates’ explanations of
how they would handle the pandemic as an Oprah-style giveaway.

JUAN WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): So, Dr. Saphier, let me just say that what I took away from the Biden speech
was sort of that he felt, cause he's the Democratic nominee, he laid out for the American people how he
would respond to this issue. And on that point he said he would expand the testing, boost hospital
capacity, create an information hotline for people, and offer assistance to people who are losing their
jobs. How did you react?
DR. NICOLE SAPHIER (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I mean, to me, that just sounds like Oprah. Like, we’re
going to do this, and you can have this, and you can have a house, you can have a school. Yes, of course
we want to do that and President Trump has said the same thing. We're going to expand testing. We’re

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
going to make sure we have enough physicians and nurses available. Everyone says certain things -- I want
to know how exactly you're going to do that. And, you know, listening to Bernie Sanders, he said he’s
going to -- if this were him, he would declare a state of emergency and he’d put together a bipartisan
emergency group full of experts. What do you think the task force is? We have several doctors there.
Some people have been appointed by Obama, and people have been appointed by Trump. And we have
experts working on this together, so I, again, feel like that’s a lot of rhetoric. And you can say that you
would do these things, but they’re not giving specifics. [Fox News, The Five, 3/12/20]

Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said coronavirus provides “another break” for Joe Biden.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And he got another break as, sadly, this pandemic has affected so many
lives. But for Joe Biden, it's a break from him showing up at live events for seven minutes as opposed to
Bernie Sanders showing up to capacity crowds and going for over an hour. [Fox News, Fox & Friends,
3/12/20]
Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis: “It doesn't feel productive” to “sit there and attack” Trump's coronavirus
response, as she said Democrats are doing.

MELISSA FRANCIS (ANCHOR): Before we jump on what are the errors and what's wrong with this, to me,
it is -- there were two points. Number one, this is a starting point. I mean, I don't think he said, "This is the
only place we're going to be doing these bans forever." I think this is the beginning of where we're starting
it instantly. And the second thing is that, you know, we don't know all the answers, and we don't know
how these things are going. So when you want to sit there and attack, it doesn't feel productive, and the
president was trying to say -- I think with last night, the big message was he had been criticized all day
long by Democrats who are never happy with a single thing he's ever done, saying that he's not taking it
seriously. And last night was about, we are taking this very seriously. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/12/20]
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum acknowledged that there were “errors” in Trump’s Oval Office speech that
were “not helpful,” but she nevertheless chided the “finger-pointing” from Democrats.

MARTHA MACCALLUM (ANCHOR): So the president's speech last night was not without errors, and that
was not helpful, but finger-pointing doesn't fulfill what Americans need right now from their government.
Which is to acknowledge where we are right now, the flaws and all, and move forward, united, to help
each other. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/12/20]
Host Laura Ingraham said that “the media, some have been enjoying this” coronavirus outbreak.

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): The media -- now some have been enjoying this moment that has brought
great inconvenience, disruption, and suffering to American workers and families, let alone all the health
challenges, the deaths and the infection rate -- because some people think it's Trump's downfall, and they
are cheering that on as they did during Mueller and all these other crises. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle,
3/16/20]
In a Fox Nation flu documentary, New York Post columnist Betsy McCaughey said “political venom” and
“constant political carping” against the president were barriers to resolving the crisis.

BETSY MCCAUGHEY (COLUMNIST): It's so telling that in 1976, there was no political carping. Yet this time,
the Democratic Party is all over President Trump as if he's not doing the right thing.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
MCCAUGHEY: It's not the panic among the population. It's the political venom that's being produced by
the politicians and that is more worrisome because we have to come together and agree on solutions.
And right now you hear this constant political carping, especially after the president's first televised
speech on this issue. [Fox Nation, Five Flus, 3/16/20]

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld blamed impeachment for Trump’s failure to take coronavirus seriously because it
“enforce[d] Trump’s belief that the media and Dems were out to get him, because they’ve been out to get him
all along.”

GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): Ah, those were the days, when they wasted precious time because all they
wanted was Trump's scalp. Which prevented them from eyeing real threats. Which did three things: It
occupied efforts that then distracted us from other things like a really weird outbreak in China. Some saw
it. It further discredited the media with its boy who cried wolf addiction. Everything is apocalyptic, so
nothing is. It enforces Trump’s belief that the media and Dems were out to get him, because they’ve been
out to get him all along. We always suspected the Dems and media couldn’t walk and chew gum at the
same time. We were right. [Fox News, The Five, 3/16/20]

Fox host Sean Hannity blamed Democrats impeaching Trump for the spread of the virus, saying that they were
trying to “undo an election” instead of preparing.
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Which brings us to the politics of this virus. Context is important in life. So take a
look at this timeline. This is different and put together by Joel Pollak. Look at this. January 21, the very
first person with coronavirus arrived in the U.S. from China. That's not long ago. The same time,
Democrats, what were they doing? They were in the throes of an all-consuming, what has been the
culmination of a three-year quest to impeach and throw Donald Trump out of office, undo an election
that they never accepted the results of in the beginning. January 23, House impeachment managers, what
were they doing? Oh, they were doing their opening arguments and impeachment. Same day, China
completely sealed off the entire province of Wuhan. Then on January 31, look at this. The president then
declared that national health emergency, ordered mandatory two-week quarantines. He issued the travel
ban on all travel to and from China. And on that same day, what were the Democrats doing? They were
busy with impeaching the president. They weren't caring. January 31, Senate Democrats desperately
pushing for more impeachment witnesses, the day that Donald Trump put the travel ban quarantine in
effect. Wow. It wasn't until February 5 that the impeachment charade was officially over and even then,
many were plotting future impeachment investigations. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/16/20]

When reporting on China’s decision to expel American journalists, Sean Hannity called them “so-called”
journalists because he doesn’t “exactly trust fake news.”

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The Chinese government tried to cover it up. Recently, they kicked out all
American -- I have to say so-called because I don't exactly trust fake news -- The New York Times,
Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, but I do want them there. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/18/20]

Repeatedly downplaying and dismissing the risks, spread, and impact of


COVID-19
Many Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests have downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic while
also assisting Trump in dismissing the disease as no big deal. In particular, numerous personalities on Fox, even its
own medical contributors, wrongly suggested it was no worse than the seasonal flu.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overtly downplaying the spread, risks, and impact of COVID-19

Fox host Pete Hegseth on coronavirus: “I feel like the more I learn about this, the less there is to worry about.”

GRIFF JENKINS (CO-HOST): New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressing the coronavirus outbreak as the
virus spreads in his state.
(VIDEO BEGINS)

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'm not urging calm. I'm urging reality. I'm urging a factual response, as
opposed to an emotional response. … That people understand the information, and not the hype.
(VIDEO ENDS)

JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): The governor declaring a state of emergency yesterday, as 40 doctors and
nurses are under quarantine after an infected taxi driver walked into a Queens hospital.
PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel joins us now with the latest on
the coronavirus and answers your questions. Doctor, I rarely agree with Gov. Cuomo, but I do. I feel like
the more I learn about this, the less there is to worry about.

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): I was about to say the same thing. I rarely agree
with the governor, but I agree with him on this. But the question is who's giving the information and where
it is coming from? Because the virus is viral on social media, right? And everyone thinks they know all
these answers, including politicians and governors. But it's not where the right answers should be coming
from -- especially since we're still learning about the virus, how contagious it is, how deadly it is, how
much it's permeating communities. You know
what we need? Those tests, which Monday are now going to be rolled out. To a large extent, they're
available at LabCorp, at Quest, even at my hospital. This is really going to help us figure out who has this.
[Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 3/8/20]
Fox medical contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat said of coronavirus, “We have it contained in this country.”

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Now doctor, is it safe to call this, or is it accurate to call this, a pandemic now?
And what do Americans need to know about it, because it’s becoming such a stressful issue for Americans
at home.

DR. JANETTE NESHEIWAT (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Sure, Laura. So, by definition, it’s on more than one
continent, so it's making its way to a pandemic definition. But what Americans need to know, that our
president is doing everything in his power to keep us safe. And we have it contained in this country, by
having a 14-day quarantine, a ban from foreign nationals traveling into this country, screening at the
airports. And if you do enter into this country, you’re going to be closely monitored. So the key is
containment, early identification of suspected patients, then isolating them, then confirming if they have
it, and treating appropriately and potentially tracing any contacts they may have. Now, the risk in this
country is still low, but it is still a very strong possibility, especially now we have this sudden outbreak in
Italy. That’s when I start to really become concerned, when I saw this outbreak in Italy and South Korea,
because we can't ban everybody from flying in from Europe and overseas, but we definitely need to
continue our efforts, being vigilant, and make sure that we have appropriate resources and funding. [Fox
News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/25/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat again claimed that Trump had coronavirus “under control, it’s
contained, we have the resources to keep it contained.”

DANA PERINO (HOST): What do you think, from your perspective, you care about public health very much,
obviously. What do you think would be reassuring to people?

DR. JANETTE NESHEIWAT (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I think it’s very important for the American public
to understand that our president and his administration, President Trump has taken unprecedented steps

Media Matters for America | 15


Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
and measures to contain this virus. We only had 15 cases that originated that came into this country. Most
of the other cases that brought the number up to 60 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. So, we
have it under control, it’s contained, we have the resources to keep it contained. FEMA is being deployed,
CDC with their emergency preparedness programs, we have 62 teams throughout the country that are
ready to tackle this. So, we shouldn’t panic, we shouldn’t be concerned, but we should be vigilant about
hand hygiene, not touching your face, not traveling to other countries, that sort of thing. [Fox News, The
Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, 2/26/20]

Fox anchor Sandra Smith on coronavirus: “Obviously, there's speculation it could get worse. Some say, like the
president, it could miraculously disappear.”
SANDRA SMITH (ANCHOR): Senator, if I could get you to respond to what we're watching in the lower part
of our screen there. We're watching the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a snapshot of our markets. The
S&P 500, the NASDAQ -- they are plunging this week responding to growing fears over the spread of this
virus. Obviously, there's speculation it could get worse. Some say, like
the president, it could miraculously disappear. Everyone is trying to assess the risk here at home and
around the world. The Dow before today fell 10.5%. It's down another 4% this morning. How do we assess
those risks? [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 2/28/20]
Fox medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier said, “The economic and emotional toll from misinformation is going
to hit us much harder than this virus is in itself.”
Dr. NICOLE SAPHIER (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): The economic and emotional toll from misinformation
is going to hit us much harder than this virus is in itself. So the important thing is to separate fact from
fiction and lessen the unwarranted panic.

SAPHIER: Now, before we start having widespread panic we have now some random woman with the
disease, the important thing to remember, this is Solano County, this is the Travis Air Force Base where
we have a large amount of people being quarantined. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/28/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel said the “worst case scenario” for coronavirus is “it could be the flu.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Listen, even friends of mine saying is this really that bad? Do I have to -- and I'm
not a doctor. I'm not going to begin to go down that road. I put my trust in you, and you were an expert.
They never implemented the travel ban. They never quarantined anybody, H1N1. And we lost, I think
ultimately it was close to, what, 13, 14, whatever thousand people. And worldwide, over half a million.
Isn't that correct?

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): Absolutely. And over 300,000 deaths in the
United States alone when all the figures were counted. And let me tell you something, this virus should
be compared to the flu. Because at worst, at worst, worst case scenario it could be the flu. And as you
pointed out, the president has jumped in quickly, started the travel bans. He understands the public health
issues. He's got top leaders advising him. Guess what the reason is? Try to prevent and slow the spread
before it takes root here.

HANNITY: Last question. Is there anything the president could have done sooner, faster, in your view,
medically?

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
SIEGEL: Absolutely not. He's been having the leaders working on it. By the way, now that the cases are
starting to come, the test kits are coming, so we're getting them in time. I think the president has been
projecting calm. I've written a book on fear. He's been very cool. Did you see him today? He's the anti-
fearmonger-in-chief, Sean. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/6/20]

Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto hosted a passenger from a cruise ship where multiple people died of coronavirus,
who told Fox News that the disease is overhyped.
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): There's been a big concern in this country how we handle cases like yours and your
wife's, and we don't know where to put you. That's essentially it. And it could be in far bigger numbers
now. Any advice you have on all of this?
MARK JORGENSEN (DIAMOND PRINCESS PASSENGER DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19): Well, I don't know.
I'm not one to advise the experts on this but I personally believe that it's not the scary thing that everyone
thinks it is. I am not symptomatic. I, you know, my wife was tested positive without symptoms and is now
clear of it. So I would say, you know, maybe we can step back and breathe a little bit but not freak out
about all of this.

...

JORGENSEN: I just look back at things like the bird flu and Zika and all those things that were supposed to
wipe out the population and, you know, they weren't the disasters that everyone thought they might be.
[Fox News, Cavuto Live, 2/29/20]
Fox host Jesse Watters said America should use “the power of positive thinking” to beat coronavirus.

JESSE WATTERS (CO-HOST): You want to know how I really feel about the coronavirus, Juan? If I get it, I'll
beat it.

I'm not lying. It's called the power of positive thinking and I think America needs to wake up to that. I live
in Manhattan, I got off work the other night, went straight to the subway. Asian guy sits down to me --
mask on. What do I do? Finish the ride, then I go home and I order Chinese food. I'm not afraid of the
coronavirus and no one else should be that afraid either. [Fox News, The Five, 3/3/20]

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dr. Mehmet Oz suggested it was fine for younger, healthy Americans to go out as normal,
saying, “I don’t want the rest of the U.S. population shutting down.”

LOU DOBBS (HOST): Your thoughts as we look at this now. The cruise ships, we’re now -- Dr. Fauci has said
no cruises, end the cruise thing right now. Now, your thoughts about what people, particularly in the 60
to 80 age group should be worried about?

DR. MEHMET OZ: Well, age is important, but whether you have a chronic illness is even more important.
So if you’ve got cardiovascular disease, lung issues, asthma, diabetes – that population should social
distance. Which means, don't go in the subway in rush hour if you don't have to. Don’t go to big ball
games, I would avoid major trips. But I don’t want the rest of the U.S. population shutting down. I don’t
want them panicked about what they may have heard. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/9/20]

Fox host Laura Ingraham referenced the 2012 Benghazi terror attack to claim that Trump has handled
coronavirus better than Hillary Clinton would have if she were elected. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/10/20]

Media Matters for America | 17


Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Fox anchor Ed Henry: Florida coronavirus deaths were of elderly people who traveled, “so when you hear the
context, it is not quite as scary.”
ED HENRY (ANCHOR): Fox News alert now on the rapid spread of coronavirus has prompted several
governors to make state of emergencies, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who made the
announcement after the state's House chamber was briefly evacuated. Let's bring in Florida Sen. Rick
Scott. He, of course, is the former governor of Florida. Good morning, sir.
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Good morning.

HENRY: People hear “state of emergency," they might have fear. Sometimes it's just, as you know, about
a governor asserting power to make sure they can respond quickly. And I want to add this

important context: When you read down the story from Fox Orlando this morning, it says in your state
there have been 18 cases of COVID-19. Two people, sadly, have died, but both of those residents were
elderly and had traveled internationally. So when you hear the context, it is not quite as scary. [Fox News,
America’s Newsroom, 3/10/20]

Fox host Jeanine Pirro: “All the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly [than the flu] doesn't reflect
reality.”

JEANINE PIRRO (HOST): So, what to do? It's a virus, like the flu. It actually can be mistaken for the flu -- a
sore throat, a cough, a fever. And by the way, it is flu season.
You say, “But people are dying.” Sadly, that's true. And not only are condolences in order, but we owe it
to their families and all Americans to come up with a vaccine.
Like the flu, tests for coronavirus are now being made available to every state lab. Clinical trials will begin
within five weeks for the vaccine. The federal government is working continuously, vigorously, and
forcefully to cut the bureaucratic red tape that often slows down vaccine approval. And rest assured, the
best, the brightest, and the resolute are working nonstop to create this vaccine.
Now, they say the mortality rate for coronavirus is higher than a flu. But consider though that we have a
flu vaccine, and yet in 2019, 16,000 Americans died from the flu. Imagine if we did not have the flu vaccine,
the flu would be a pandemic.
So all the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly doesn't reflect reality. Without a vaccine, the
flu would be far more deadly.

Now, what we do know is the mortality rate is much higher among elderly adults. According to reports,
the risk of dying if infected with the coronavirus is higher the older you are, which might explain why they
say children are not really affected by the virus.

But in addition to age, as Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, the risk is greater if you, as an elderly person, have
an underlying medical condition like diabetes, heart disease, asthma. It is certainly higher if you're a
smoker, which might explain why China has such a high mortality rate. Some studies have estimated that
as many as 50% of Chinese men are smokers. [Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 3/7/20]
Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren: “I am far more concerned with stepping on a used heroin needle than I am getting
the coronavirus.”

Media Matters for America | 18


Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
TOMI LAHREN (HOST): Look, I don't want to get coronavirus any more than the next guy, but where is the
hysteria over the California business-as-usual homeless epidemic, complete with your standard trash, rats,
needles and feces on our streets and beaches.
...

Did y'all not wash your hands before? I'm actually rather disturbed it took a coronavirus outbreak to
motivate people to practice basic hygiene. My goodness. Oh, and P.S., Californians -- if you're worried
about hygiene, health and sanitation, I wouldn't leave your doorstep given the fact we have much, much
bigger issues with cleanliness all across this wonderful state.

We haven't always had a toilet paper shortage in the Golden State, but you'd think so, given the fact we
have a rather serious issue with public defecation. And call me crazy, but I am far more concerned with
stepping on a used heroin needle than I am getting the coronavirus, but maybe that's just me. Yeah, I do
think we have far bigger problems in this state than a docked cruise ship and some coronavirus. [Fox
Nation, Final Thoughts with Tomi Lahren, 3/10/20]
Fox host Sean Hannity attempted to minimize the coronavirus concerns by comparing it to violence in Chicago

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The most at risk, and this is very important, are older people with underlying
medical issues, the elderly. And people, by the way, that have compromised immune systems. That would
be people that are getting chemotherapy, that are in need -- have some type of immune deficiencies.
Healthy people generally, 99% recover very fast. Even if they contract it. And by the way, still, any deaths
are tragic. We want everybody to live. Put it in perspective: 26 people were shot in Chicago alone over
the weekend. I doubt you heard about it. You notice there's no widespread hysteria about violence in
Chicago. And this has now gone on for years and years and years. By the way, Democratic-run cities, we
see a lot of that. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/10/20]

During the coronavirus pandemic, Fox host Ainsley Earhardt said “it's actually the safest time to fly.”
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): It's actually the safest time to fly. Everyone I know that's flying right now,
terminals are pretty much dead. Ghost towns. And then the planes -- remember back in the day when you
had a seat next to you, possibly empty, you could stretch out a little more? It's like that on every flight
now. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/13/20]

Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo agreed with Devin Nunes that the coronavirus pandemic is a great time
for people to go out.

MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): I want to get into, really, your investigation into China, which goes back
years, which you and I have spoken about in the past. But first, give us your take on the administration's
response to coronavirus.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Well most importantly, I think what American people have to understand is we
need to stop panicking here, OK? There's no shortage of food in this country. People don't need to go to
the store and fight over a bottle of water or toilet paper. I come from the breadbasket of the world, right
here in the San Joaquin Valley. We want people to go out and buy food, but there's no shortage of food.
The main thing that people need to focus on -- it's just a couple of issues. Number one, if you're sick, at
all, be smart. Stay away from people. Number two, if you know someone that is senior, or if you have an

Media Matters for America | 19


Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
underlying health condition, especially with your lungs, you are at high risk. So we need to focus all of our
energy, on our senior population with underlying health concerns. There is no reason, Maria, for the
American people to be running to the grocery store, to buy 27 packs of toilet paper. OK? There's no
shortage of toilet paper, no shortage of food, OK? And that's coming from someone who -- we want you
to buy food, OK?

BARTIROMO: Right, I understand.


NUNES: And I'll just say this too. I'll just say this too. You know, you were just talking about the economy,
and where there's a lot of concerns with the economy here, because people are scared to go out. But I
will just say, one of the things you can do -- if you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to just
go out, go to a local restaurant --

BARTIROMO: Yeah.
NUNES: Likely you can get in easily. There's -- you know, let's not hurt the working people in this country,
that are relying on wages and tips to keep their small business going.

BARTIROMO: You know, we're very sympathetic --


NUNES: Don't run to the --

BARTIROMO: Understood.

NUNES: Yeah, just don't run to the grocery store and buy, you know, $4,000 of food.

BARTIROMO: Right, they're cleaning off the shelves.


NUNES: Go, you know, go to your local pub, yeah. [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 3/15/20]

Fox host Jesse Watters admitted he didn’t take coronavirus seriously until days after a national emergency was
declared.

JESSE WATTERS (CO-HOST): I went to visit my mom this weekend and she made me wear gloves to come
inside of her house. She is suspicious that I might have coronavirus. I wore the gloves all afternoon in the
house. That's what it is. I didn't take the social distancing that seriously Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night,
I went out to dinner here in the city. And I woke up this morning I realized that was not the right move. I
am no longer going out to dinner. I was trying to help my local restaurants. [Fox News, The Five, 3/16/20]

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs spent only 80 seconds covering the second largest percentage drop in Dow Jones
history. [Media Matters, 3/16/20]

Fox Business guest: “Better safe than sorry” for coronavirus is “the strategy of losers, not the strategy of
winners.”

STUART VARNEY (HOST): I want to bring Scott Shellady into this, because the debate, and we've had it this
morning, is who gets the money. I think I can make a case that the airlines — they're kind of a utility. I
think they should be propped up and kept in business. But I'm not so sure about casinos and cruise lines.
What say you?

...

Media Matters for America | 20


Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
SCOTT SHELLADY (COMMODITIES TRADER, THE COW GUY GROUP): That doesn't pass the smell test with
me. Now, maybe something's coming around the corner that the government's not going to tell me about,
but I still don't understand about all this reaction with something that now we've got 180,000 people that
have got it across the world, of which almost half of them have already beaten it, and survived, and we've
lost 7,000 people globally. I'm not — these things are not — they're incongruent. The action and the
reaction don't add up for me.
VARNEY: I see your point, but there's a political dynamic to it. Who could stand — which politician can
stand for election, who is accused of doing nothing while people die. That's the issue, isn't it?

SHELLADY: Yes, it is. And l let me answer with this. Last week I was on your show, I got a little worked up
because I was talking about, we can't err on the side of caution anymore. And I said last week we had to
err on the side of hysteria. We can't do that anymore. “We have to be better safe than sorry.” And you
know what? That's the strategy of losers, not the strategy of winners. So now we're judging everything
on, “Better safe than sorry.” Now, a coach would be fired for that line of — a CEO would be fired for that
line of thinking. Why are we going down that line with our country? This isn't my America anymore.[Fox
Business, Varney & Co., 3/17/20]

Dismissing the concerns about COVID-19 as an attempt to hurt Trump


Fox host Laura Ingraham claimed China is using coronavirus to “hurt Trump in his reelection.”

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): I think the most important thing is that people keep their eyes wide open
about what's going on in China.

Listening to the Democrats' debate, they're trying to talk tonight about we're going to work more closely
with China and we're going -- and they are an important partner in this, Michael Bloomberg says. They're
all -- tonight, it was all, like, what we are going to do with China, we know they are authoritarian, but --
but Trump, Trump today was also, you know, pretty positive on how China has been handling this.
GORDON CHANG: Yeah, what we have seen right now is yes, we would like to cooperate with other
countries, including China, but you can't cooperate with a country that doesn't want to cooperate with
you.
INGRAHAM: They kicked out the media. They kicked out The Wall Street Journal.

CHANG: They kicked out The Wall Street Journal, they are imposing more severe controls on this, and
they're also restricting the CDC and the NIH for really investigating the source of the virus. So, you -- this
is a regime in China that wants to do this on its own -- and by the way, Laura, starting at the beginning of
this month, they have been blaming the U.S. and laying the groundwork for saying that the U.S. caused
the spread of coronavirus.

INGRAHAM: I think they want to use this -- I mean, in China, they don't want to deal with Trump anymore,
with the tariffs. I think for them, the best thing would be if this hurt Trump in his reelection, correct? [Fox
News, The Ingraham Angle, 2/25/20]

Fox & Friends agreed with Trump that coronavirus is a “hoax” aimed at hurting his presidency.

JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): I want to ask you, though, about the president. What can the president do at
a time like this? Because obviously he has an interest in stabilizing the market. You see now if you take a

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
look the Dow is down. The S&P [500] is down. It's very concerning to a lot of people out there. What
should he be saying?
STUART VARNEY (FOX BUSINESS HOST): He should be reassuring the American people as he has been
doing that this administration can take care of and contain this virus. Remember, no deaths. OK. We got
new cases, but no deaths. We've quarantined people. We're testing people. That's what the president
should be telling us, and he is telling us that. Personally, I get really annoyed when I hear the Democrats,
going after the president, try to make out that the virus is his fault. And they are doing it for electoral
advantage and I think that is absolutely reprehensible.

You need an opposition, you need to hold the president accountable. But what they are doing is
denigrating the administration's efforts. Trying to tear down the president, not for the benefit of the
country, but for their electoral benefit.

BILA: We actually have some sound --


DEAN CAIN (CO-HOST): Exactly.

BILA: -- related right to what you are saying.


CAIN: He spoke about this last night in Charleston, South Carolina.

...

PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): He can't resist.

VARNEY: Look, I agree with that. Look, Russia, Russia, Russia. Impediment to justice. Impeachment, and
now the virus. One thing after another to denigrate and slime our president. Utterly wrong.

HEGSETH: You see the misinformation, too. Democrats -- the AP had to fact check Democrats who were
saying that the president's cut the CDC budget which it hasn't been reduced under the Trump presidency.
They're seizing on anything.

VARNEY: And you have this irrational criticism of the president. [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], for
example, denigrating Vice President [Mike] Pence who is in charge of the containment effort saying he is
a science denier. Please. Come on.

BILA: Yeah. And the reality, I mean, the truth is --

VARNEY: And Senator [Elizabeth] Warren was talking about the mess of this containment effort. Excuse
me, show me the mess.

BILA: Yeah.

VARNEY: I don't see any deaths. I see a good strong containment effort.

BILA: Yeah, the truth is, whatever the president would have done, the media would have been there to
criticize him. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 2/29/20]
Fox host Sean Hannity claimed people are faking concern about coronavirus to “bludgeon Trump with this new
hoax.”

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SEAN HANNITY (HOST): We’ve got to be very real with the American people, I don't like how we're scaring
people unnecessarily. And that is that unless you have an immune system that is compromised and you
are older and you have other underlying health issues, you're not going to die 99% from this virus, correct?
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): That is correct, Sean, and it's good to be with you again.

HANNITY: Alright, so that's the point. I mean they're scaring the living hell out of people. And I see it again
as like oh, OK, let's bludgeon Trump with this new hoax. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/9/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel claimed coronavirus concerns are being intentionally overblown to hurt
Trump politically.

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): You are getting to what the other problem here
is, is that a part of this has become so politicized, anything to attack President Trump. “It’s the Trump
Virus,” what are you talking about? He’s the one that jumped in and cut off travel to China very early in
the game. Decrease the flow of this -- or spread of this virus to the United States. One of the reasons the
numbers are still low. That was back when we actually could isolate and identify and isolate cases. Now
we’re at more of a time when it's spreading into communities and we have to promote this other thing,
we are promoting, handwashing, distancing. But you know what? Guess what that works for? The flu, and
that's what we need it for is the flu, so if I can actually teach people out there to wash their hands and
stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing and have fevers, we will cut down on these flu
deaths.
GREGG JARRETT (GUEST HOST): Is the World Health Organization incompetent?

SIEGEL: I think they're overly political especially at the top levels. I'd say the word incompetent. I think
that they're tied in in this case with China, I think they were playing a role in helping China not bring this
out. You know, by the time we heard about it it was already there for several weeks. Why is that? And
why is one of the top officials at the WHO who is in charge of communicable diseases originally a Chinese
health official? [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/6/20]

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Attacking institutions attempting to warn and protect the public

A Fox News guest called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a “highly politicized organization”
because of “how they've acted on gun control.”

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): You're not a big fan of the CDC's response on this.
DR. RAMIN OSKOUI: I haven't been a big fan of the CDC about many things.

INGRAHAM: Why? What's the particular concern?


OSKOUI: Well, they -- we look at how they treated acute flaccid myelitis. They didn't release demographic
data there. It's a polio variant, that would've been very helpful. Look at how they've acted on gun control.
They're a highly politicized organization and it's a problem. And Americans, I think, are in jeopardy because
they have not been forthcoming about this demographic information. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle,
3/4/20]

Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel attacked the World Health Organization for warning about coronavirus,
claiming it’s no more dangerous than influenza.
BILL HEMMER (ANCHOR): There is a quote from the head of the World Health Organization today. He said,
“This is not a drill, this is a time for pulling out all the stops." Now is that a fair statement or is that an
alarmist?
...

DR. MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): I would add to that they are a bunch of alarmists,
they are saber rattlers. And look, the statistics they keep throwing out, death rate 3.4%. Let me tell you
something, let's look at South Korea, an organized country where they have been screening everyone,
well over 100,000, now over 200,000 people. They found about 6,000 cases. Deaths a little bit less than
30, that's a 0.7% death rate in an organized society with a great health care system. Guess what that

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
reminds me of? Influenza -- maybe slightly more percentage-wise than influenza. This is a contagious virus,
we're concerned about it. We don't have a vaccine for it, but there's no reason to believe that it's actually
more problematic or deadly than influenza. [Fox News, Bill Hemmer Reports, 3/6/20]
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs attacked the CDC for what he claimed is its “leftist ideology.”

LOU DOBBS (HOST): President Trump today said he's closing the northern border with Canada to non-
essential traffic. Canada and the United States taking this action simultaneously in order to at least slow
the spread of the Wuhan virus, and we are told it won't affect trade in the least.

...

The Centers for Disease Control, receiving $6.6 billion from the federal government, with a mission stating,
quote, "CDC works 24/7 to protect Americans from domestic and foreign threats to health, safety, and
security. CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same."

The CDC, you might be curious to know, also uses taxpayer dollars on political issues that go well beyond
fighting disease and in some cases support leftist ideology. Among some of those efforts, the CDC has
spent money splitting $25 million with the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence, hosted a
safe sex event with a porn star, held a transgender beauty contest, and built a $106 million visitor center
filled with waterfalls and Japanese gardens. Very relaxing.

President Trump and we want to say thank you to David Horowitz for providing that list. [Fox Business,
Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/18/20]

Repeatedly amplifying harmful conspiracy theories about the origin and


treatment of COVID-19
Fox News’ habit of spreading conspiracy theories has been in full force during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only
did the network help spread the debunked idea that coronavirus was created by a lab in China, but for a special
program on coronavirus, it hosted a quack doctor and deranged anti-LGBTQ bigot who sells bogus snake oil
products and dismissed concerns about the pandemic.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Promoting inaccurate conspiracies about the origins of COVID-19

Tucker Carlson raised the debunked conspiracy theory about the origins of coronavirus with his guest, who
immediately shot it down.

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): I’m just throwing this at you cold, and I’m certainly not endorsing this, but there
has been a lot of speculation, not all of it -- well, I don’t know, you assess it -- that this is not a naturally
occurring virus, that it was somehow created by the Chinese government. Is there any evidence of that at
all? What do you think of that?
DR. JANETTE NESHEIWAT (CITYMD MEDICAL DIRECTOR): No, I think that this virus has existed, there has
been studies and data that shows it’s actually existed for many, many years, it's just that the virus has
mutated, it's changed, the DNA has changed. But there is still a lot of unknown answers. [Fox News, Tucker
Carlson Tonight, 2/10/20]
Two Fox News shows pushed a debunked fringe conspiracy theory about the origins of coronavirus. Fox News
anchor Martha MacCallum and Fox News host Tucker Carlson both pushed the debunked conspiracy theory that
the coronavirus was engineered in a high-security laboratory housed in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The
Washington Post labeled this a “fringe theory” and PolitiFact identified it as “false,” and an expert agreed that
there is no evidence that coronavirus was an engineered virus. [Media Matters, 2/19/20]

Frequent Fox News guest Jerry Falwell Jr. speculated that North Korea “got together with China” to create
coronavirus.

JERRY FALWELL JR. (PRESIDENT, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY): But I had a -- the owner of a restaurant asked me
last night, he said, “Do you remember the North Korean leader promised a Christmas present for America,
back in December? Could it be they got together with China, and this is that present?” I don't know. But
it really is something strange going on.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Well, Jerry, so regarding the fact that you're going to continue to have classes,
and I would imagine that dorm life is going to remain as it is as well, is a component of that the fact that
it seems to be that people in their late teens and twenties are less affected by this than people who are
over 60?

FALWELL: Well, it is true that the cure rate is 99.7% for people under 50, so that is a factor. [Fox News,
Fox & Friends, 3/13/20]
Fox News contributor Alveda King floated a conspiracy theory that “biological warfare was involved” in the
spread of coronavirus.
PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): Alveda, you know, we live in a complicated, fallen world. A lot of people
wonder, ask things like why. What's your answer to people as far as the power of prayer in moments like
this?
ALVEDA KING (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, I really -- in my prayer, I say, "God is this you doing this
for judgment?" And then I went to Psalms 2, and it says, "The rulers and the kings of the Earth get together
and plot and do certain kind of things." So evil people, it seems as though biological warfare was involved
in this to some degree. I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I don't want to make up anything.

HEGSETH: Yeah, we don't know that, I get that.

KING: We don’t. But I said, you know, people -- this seems to be human error in handling it. [Fox News,
Fox & Friends Weekend, 3/15/20]

Frequent Fox Business guest Gordon Chang said that the COVID-19 disinformation campaign was China
“preparing ... a justification for using force against us.”
GORDON CHANG (AUTHOR): It's got to be different, Stuart, and the reason is, we saw on Thursday the
foreign ministry attack the U.S. with a disinformation campaign. That is exceedingly dangerous because
Chinese leaders were preparing, in their own mind, a justification for using force against us, and they were
preparing the Chinese people for the same thing. I'm not saying they're going to do that. I don't think
they're going to do that, but this is elements of a really big tragedy. And by the way, we summoned the
Chinese ambassador on Friday to tell him to cut it out. And China's ambassador to South Africa today
continued this campaign against us. It shows we're not deterring China. [Fox Business, Varney & Co.,
3/16/20]

Giving a platform to unproven and sometimes false “cures”


Fox’s Tucker Carlson hosted Gregory Rigano, who urged Trump to “authorize the use of hydroxychloroquine
against coronavirus immediately” and said it was “the second cure to a virus of all time.”

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Well, the massive disruption everyone in the country is enduring at the moment
isn't just meant to give our hospitals time to prepare. It's also buying us time to figure out how to treat
the coronavirus. This is a country of science, and we will defeat this at some point, the sooner the better.

Fortunately, there's some good news to report tonight on that front. Early evidence suggests that
chloroquine -- that's a cheap antimalaria drug -- may be effective in treating coronavirus. Gregory Rigano
is an adviser at the Stanford University School of Medicine and he joins us tonight. Mr. Rigano, thanks so
much for coming on. So tell us what this is and why you think it's promising, please.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
GREGORY RIGANO (STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE ADVISER): So, the president has the
authority to authorize the use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus immediately. He has cut more
red tape at the FDA than any other president in history. And, for example, in 2017, a new drug was
approved for muscular dystrophy that in a clinical trial -- for a clinical trial that enrolled less than 15
patients, and it was generally uncontrolled in an open setting.

Hydroxychloroquine has been in the market for over 50 years with a quality safety profile, and I'm here
to report that as of this morning, about five o'clock this morning, a well-controlled peer-reviewed study
carried out by the most eminent infectious disease specialist in the world, Didier Raoult, MD, PhD, out of
the south of France, in which he enrolled 40 patients --again a well-controlled peer-reviewed study that
showed a 100 percent cure rate against coronavirus. The study was released this morning on my Twitter
account RiganoESQ, as well as our most recent website, covidtrial.io. The study was recently accepted to
the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents by Elsevier.
CARLSON: So obviously, I only know what you're telling me, but I do know it's very unusual for a study of
anything to produce results of a hundred percent. I mean, that's remarkable, isn't it? Or am I missing
something?

RIGANO: That is remarkable. In fact, to be able to cure a virus was said to be mathematically impossible
and the first company that did it was a small biotech called PharmaSet that was acquired by Gilead
Sciences in the cure to hepatitis C. What we're here to announce is the second cure to a virus of all time.

CARLSON: Well, that's -- I mean, remarkable. I mean, of course, it's our job to be skeptical of all and any
claims. However, I very much want to believe this, and I think we need obviously immediately to run it
down. The federal government needs to find out if this is true, because if it is, you know, that's the biggest
news of this moment. So I'm so grateful that you announced that on the show, and I hope we're hearing
a lot more about it very soon. Thank you so much for coming on. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight,
3/18/20]

Fox host Laura Ingraham hosted Gregory Rigano, who said taking hydroxychloroquine preventively “is going to
prevent the virus from attaching to the body and just get rid of it completely.

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): And up next, now scientists are saying that they're developing a vaccine for
the coronavirus, it could take months and not be implemented once it's found for 12 to 18 months, given
we have to look at harmful side effects and so forth. But what if there's already a cheap and widely
available medication that's on the market to treat the virus? Well, according to

a new study, there is such a drug. It's called chloroquine. And that study found that use of chloroquine
and its tablets is showing favorable outcomes in humans infected with coronavirus, including faster time
to recovery and shorter hospital stays. CDC research shows that chloroquine also has strong potential as
a prophylactic preventative measure against coronavirus in the lab, and while we wait for a vaccine to be
developed.
Tonight, joining me now is one of the co-authors that study Gregory Rigano. Gregory, how big a game
changer could chloroquine and its sister drug hydrochloroquine be if say, we began using it fairly promptly
to treat Americans who are highly at risk -- the elderly, and people who are already compromised?

GREGORY RIGANO, CO-AUTHOR, STUDY ON CHLOROQUINE: Yes, thank you for having me on. So let me
just start. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are generic drugs, traditionally prescribed in tablet form.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
They've been around since World War II. They are on the World Health Organization's list of the most
essential medicines, and they're generally accepted as safe, especially hydroxychloroquine has an even
better safety profile than chloroquine.
And what we see in both the South Korean and Chinese treatment guidelines -- we don't have clinical
trials yet from there. They both say, use chloroquine as a treatment. And what I'm here to report -- nd I'm
kind of front running here and I have to apologize, but we are in a state of emergency [indecipherable],
and an MD PhD from the south recorded -- he's going to publish it in the next few days -- that in a 30-
patient controlled clinical study, that means there's a patient arm that is taking hydroxychloroquine and
a patient arm that's taking nothing as a placebo, and these patients that are taking nothing are heroes.
Within a matter of six days, the patients taking hydroxychloroquine, tested negative for coronavirus,
COVID-19. Within that same time, the patients that took the control tested positive. This is a well-
controlled study. And what we need to proceed here is a global well-controlled study to demonstrate its
effectiveness, so medical doctors are comfortable prescribing this worldwide.
And before you come up, the most important thing is that this is likely an effective treatment by our south
of France -- I mean, he's one of the most eminent infectious disease specialists in the whole world. But
specifically, we have strong reason to believe that a preventative dose of hydroxychloroquine is going to
prevent the virus from attaching to the body and just get rid of it completely.

INGRAHAM: Yes--

RIGANO: Basically functioning--

INGRAHAM: That's a game changer. And, again, it has been used against the SARS. It's a very well-known
antiviral, very -- everyone knows it who’s gone to maybe Africa or other places where Malaria is a problem.
I took it a couple years ago. I've actually taken it four times. And I've gone on -- three times, excuse me.
Three different trips to Africa. I always took chloroquine. Because it's just one of -- and that's a generic,
but there are -- that you could get other brand names of it. But this is about 5 cents a tablet, and again,
we want this to be done on a global scale, controlled study, that's a bigger study group. But this could
really buy us time. And it's critical that this be done and that the administration, through the FDA, they've
cut red tape. They continue to cut red tape and fast-track any other study of this we have to do, but
especially for compromised patients in the elderly. Gregory, you're giving us information a lot of people
weren't aware of. Thank you very much tonight. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/16/20]
Fox host Laura Ingraham took credit for Trump mentioning chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine at a White
House press briefing.

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): But perhaps the best news of all is about a drug I brought to your attention
on Monday night. Now at first, it kind of seemed to me -- I’m a little skeptical -- it seemed too good to be
true, but the results in France, China, and beyond have been nothing short of impressive.

...

INGRAHAM: Well, The Angle’s persistence paid off. Because today President Trump made this
announcement.
(VIDEO BEGINS)

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: A drug called chloroquine, and some people would add to it "hydroxy,"
hydroxychloroquine. It is known as a Malaria drug, and it's been around for a long time, and it's very
powerful. It's shown very encouraging, very, very encouraging early results. And we're going to be able to
make that drug available almost immediately.

(VIDEO ENDS)
INGRAHAM: Now after this happened, the drug company Bayer donated 3 million of the pills of this
particular drug to the Trump administration. Now although the FDA has not approved the drug for use as
a treatment for COVID-19, doctors here can still prescribe it. [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 3/19/20]
Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt promoted the antimalarial drugs as preventive treatment.

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): We need to get these drugs quickly, Brian. The malaria drug is not easy
to find, other countries do have it. Israel has a lot of it, I know China has a lot of it. So hopefully these
countries will help us out in our time of need. And those drugs do have to be taken together, we'll get
more into that with Dr. Oz. But it is amazing, they looked at the map and they said, "Where are we not
seeing as many cases?" And then they looked at the countries where may of the people take these malaria
drugs and they said, "Wow, that's interesting. Why aren't they getting it?" They pinpointed it to this drug
and to the Z-Pack, and together they're supposed to make a remarkable difference in folks that are having
these symptoms. So it's great news. We will dive in to that with Dr. Oz.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): But I'm not sure you take it preventatively, I think you take it if you test
positive. I'm not sure we use as it a vaccine right now.

EARHARDT: The earlier you take it, they say, the better, but you're not supposed to take it until you first
see those symptoms, but you need to take it before you get on a respirator. [Fox News, Fox & Friends,
3/23/20]

Deploying racism and xenophobia and blaming the most vulnerable for the
outbreak
As coronavirus spread in America, Fox News turned to its time-honored tradition of pushing racism and
xenophobia, insisting it be labeled the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” virus and other xenophobic terms that public health
officials warned contribute to racism and bias. The network also used the outbreak as an excuse to vilify homeless
people and to advocate for Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Racism and xenophobia

Tucker Carlson used the spread of coronavirus to attack "identity politics" and diversity.

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): For weeks, the media told you it was wrong to worry about the coronavirus, a
mysterious, highly communicable, lethal disease spreading rapidly around the world.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
If that concerns you in any way, if you think maybe we ought to take some steps to protect ourselves from
it, then you're a bigot.
“Coronavirus panic is racist profiling against Asians” lectured some arrogant moron at Slate.com. A writer
for The Seattle Times warned that, quote, “yellow peril racism was the real epidemic fear,” and so on.

Countless publications wagged their fingers in the face of readers, and told them it was irrational, probably
immoral, in fact, to worry about the coronavirus than the annual flu.

Identity politics trumped public health and not for the first time. Wokeness is a cult. They would let you
die before they admitted that diversity is not our strength. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/24/20]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox & Friends, where the co-hosts worked to help him rebrand
coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus.”

MIKE POMPEO (SECRETARY OF STATE): So it's a complicated challenge. The Wuhan virus that began at the
end of last year is something that this administration is taking incredibly seriously.

...
PETE HEGSETH (FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND CO-HOST): You called it the Wuhan virus. And I haven't -- that's
an accurate way to depict where it's coming from, but does it also show the vulnerabilities the president
has talked about for a long time? In an interconnected world where we are dependent on a geopolitical
adversary for so many things, how do you manage the fact that we are interconnected while rejecting the
globalists who say that's the way it has to be? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/6/20]

Tucker Carlson argued that not calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and other racist terms contributed to the
virus’ initial spread.

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): One of the reasons Americans may have missed the significance of this virus is
because, unfortunately, it came enmeshed with politics. On television, talking heads have wasted hours
upon valuable hours yammering -- not about the virus and its potential victims -- but about how it's racist
to tie the coronavirus to China, where it came from. Please. Now is not the time to indulge in the lowest
and dumbest kind of identity politics. In times of crisis euphemisms kill. You need accuracy and clear
language in the way you talk about the threat. It's essential. And yet, ingrained habits are hard to break.
And among our professional class, no habit is more deeply ingrained than seeing the world through the
lens of race, which they do. When Congressman Kevin McCarthy tweeted information about the Chinese
coronavirus, Ilhan Omar responded this way, quote “Viruses don't have nationalities. This is racist.” Oh,
shut up. But on MSNBC they're not shutting up. They give the very same lecture. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson
Tonight, 3/11/20]

Fox News contributor Dan Bongino argued that it’s “Chinese propaganda” to be concerned about the fact that
Stephen Miller wrote Trump’s Oval Office speech.
GERALDO RIVERA: We're on the same side, it is about messaging, and that speech was written by senior
adviser Stephen Miller, same guy that imposed the Muslim ban --

...

DAN BONGINO: Geraldo, you realize you're repeating Chinese propaganda here, I hope you understand
that you're -- you may be smart enough to know that, who knows.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
RIVERA: Oh, don't give me that crap. You -- what are you -- what are you talking about?

BONGINO: Geraldo, you are repeating Chinese propaganda.


RIVERA: Chinese propaganda? You're a cheap shot artist. You're a cheap shot artist.

BONGINO: You're suggesting -- hold on --

RIVERA: Talk to the facts -- talk to the facts --

BONGINO: You know what? You're a bullshit artist, OK?


RIVERA: I'm -- Chinese propaganda, you know what? You're lucky you're not in front of me, big guy.

BONGINO: What you just said is Chinese propaganda -- really? I strongly suggest you rethink that
approach. You are repeating Chinese propaganda on this channel, and you know it, that Stephen Miller
cheap shot is outrageous. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/12/20]

Tucker Carlson praised Trump for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” claiming that was Trump “at his very
best.”

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Today, NBC News sent a tweet suggesting the president's use of the phrase
“Chinese virus” was, quote, “both inaccurate and harmful, in tying racist associations between the virus
and those from China.” Another statement written by morons in our news media. How is it inaccurate to
call a virus from China "Chinese?" The president, to his credit, does not seem intimidated.

...

Good for him. That was Trump at his very best. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/17/20]

Fox News contributor Dan Bongino said that you can’t be racist toward Chinese people because “China is not a
race.”
DAN BONGINO: Let me say on this -- on this, China's efforts to dictate the narrative and how we discuss
the Chinese coronavirus, the Wuhan virus. You're not gonna tell us how to talk about it. One, it's not racist.
China is not a race. It's a country. Number two, this has nothing to do with the Chinese people. Nothing.
They are not telling us how to do this. This is an effort by a totalitarian regime, their PR machine, and their
bots to dictate how the American people speak about this. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/17/20]

Fox host Sean Hannity said critics of calling the virus the “Chinese virus” are “doing the bidding of China.”

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Some, by the way, also tonight will cover these people in the media mob
unwittingly doing the bidding of China, spreading propaganda and of course blaming Trump and Fox News
for murder. And even yours truly, for the spread of all of this. These comments are so insane,
inappropriate, over-the-top, out of line, we will call out the mob's despicable coverage. [Fox News,
Hannity, 3/18/20]

Tucker Carlson said Chinese will “control us” because “wokeness is our Achilles’ heel,” referring to Americans
criticizing racist coronavirus rhetoric.

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): “It's racist.” That's what the media is talking about in the middle of a life-
threatening pandemic. And the Chinese know this. They know that wokeness is our Achilles' heel, and
they know they can control us with it. They know that any conversation in this country, no matter how

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
serious, can be shut down instantly by somebody, maybe a mindless ABC correspondent, saying “racism.”
And that's why they're pushing it. On MSNBC, people who could be informing the public about the virus,
instead lectured on how certain thoughts about the virus are naughty and wrong. [Fox News, Tucker
Carlson Tonight, 3/18/20]

Attacks on homeless populations

The Five co-host Emily Compagno used coronavirus to fearmonger “about the homeless explosions, especially
on the West Coast.”

EMILY COMPAGNO (CO-HOST): The biggest threat is the fact that, totally, the Chinese government is
mischaracterizing the level of infection that's happening and even though it is less deadly than we thought
and less deadly than SARS, it's my understanding it is spreading faster, which leads me to my next point
which is why we should all care a lot more about the homeless explosions, especially on the West Coast,
because of that disease.

GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): Interesting.

CAMPAGNO: If we are this nervous with the coronavirus, enough to put it on every block of every show,
this is exactly what every network should be covering out of skid row in Los Angeles and the rat population
explosion. [Fox News, The Five, 2/7/20]

Fox anchors used a conversation about coronavirus to criticize California politicians over homelessness and
deride San Francisco as “essentially an open sewer.”

HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): Something did occur to me though and I was just looking back to see the
number of homeless in San Francisco. And when you look at a city, and you can see this throughout cities
in California, that have burst with that particular problem, you've got a population that is on the streets
that is struggling with health issues anyway because they are not indoors and they are not able to get the
health care they need. And then you have something bursting like this on the scene, potentially. I'm hoping

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
that they are concentrating on those among us who cannot fight for ourselves on the streets in San
Francisco and those in California. We know it's become a political issue for some of the leaders in
California, but if they are going to use coronavirus to get to that, I'm actually OK with that. Just get to it.
Deal with that issue, because its vulnerability among us that we really shouldn't tolerate.

DAGEN MCDOWELL (CO-HOST): Jon, to Harris' point, there is a health safety problem in plain sight in San
Francisco. With -- it's not just the homeless, but it's -- parts of the city are essentially an open sewer. And
it's been that way literally for decades, and it's only gotten worse, and they've done nothing, but now it’s
a state of emergency. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/26/20]

Fox Business anchor David Asman, citing homelessness, attacked Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom as
“hypocritical” for “lecturing people about public hygiene.”

DAVID ASMAN (FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): It's very easy to do finger-pointing. We're going to see a lot of
it, we've talked about political finger-pointing that’s going on in both directions --
HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): Some of it is right to do.

ASMAN: Some of it is right to do, but at the same time, to have Gavin Newsom, a guy whose record on
public hygiene, when you look at what's happening in San Francisco --

FAULKNER: The homeless situation.


ASMAN: -- is at least questionable, if not totally outrageous to have him lecturing people about public
hygiene seems a bit hypocritical to me. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/28/20]

Tucker Carlson’s guest fearmongered that homeless people could be “spreading [coronavirus] at a higher than
normal rate.”

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Why do you think it's been so bad there?

JASON RANTZ (SEATTLE RADIO HOST): Well, it's a little bit unclear. I think part of it has to do with we are
a hub for travel, particularly from Asia.

CARLSON: Yes.
RANTZ: And that's probably behind some of this. But I think also we've got a potential problem growing
with our homelessness crisis. I think when we hear about how easily the coronavirus will spread, we know
specifically groups of people who can't do the hand sanitizer, taking showers, washing your hands multiple
times a day. It's the homelessness issue, right? And so you've got two groups of people who potentially
could make this a little bit worse. Number one, the homeless individuals who are sort of living deep out
under a freeway underpasses, up hills and brush that

you don't necessarily see. Well, they might be suffering and no one is going to know that they need help.
And then you have got the group of homeless individuals who maybe are getting sick but aren't showing
any symptoms. Well, they are jumping on buses, because they can ride for free, they are going to public
restrooms, they are going into public libraries, and there is a possibility that they are spreading it at a
higher than normal rate -- because they are not in the system, because they are not being quarantined,
because they are not being checked with any regularity, and I think that that's a problem.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
CARLSON: So I'm not Marie Curie here, but you are saying that if you've got thousands of people
defecating on the sidewalk, that could pose a public health risk? [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight,
3/3/20]

Spreading misinformation about the economic impacts of COVID-19


Promoting misinformation about the economic impacts of COVID-19

Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis claimed Trump's trade war with China will help protect America from the
economic impact of coronavirus.

MELISSA FRANCIS (FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): It may be blunted a bit, even though we will feel it here in
the U.S., ironically because of the president's trade war that everyone made fun of and ridiculed. The
president did realize that we are too dependent on China in the supply chain, that we've become slaves,
so to speak, to all of the products and to the cheap labor as they continue to buy our debt, and that this
was a relationship in which we were losing power. And because he started this trade war that was costing
companies money, they went up and set up different ways -- “Well, maybe we can get this from here,
maybe here's our second, maybe we'll do this if it doesn't get solved.” And a lot of companies have either
moved or have found another way. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/24/20]

Fox Business contributor Phil Flynn praised Trump and Larry Kudlow for calming the markets during
coronavirus.
MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): If they are going to keep this up, does the market see this as a positive or
does the market see this as emergency -- emergency action that perhaps is a lot worse than people
expect?
PHIL FLYNN (FOX BUSINESS CONTRIBUTOR): Well I think right now, they'll take it as somewhat as a
positive. You know, it's like putting a Band-Aid on an open wound right? Right now, you're gushing blood,
so if they do nothing, it's probably going to get worse. But you're right, you know, it could create even

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
more fear and freeze up lending more. We saw that back in 2008, and you know the key thing here I think
-- and I think Larry Kudlow's done a great job and I think the president's done a great job to try to calm
the market during these volatile times -- because we are going to get through this, right? I mean, you
know the coronavirus thing is going to end. I think there's a lot of overreactions in this market. [Fox
Business, Mornings with Maria Bartiromo, 3/9/20]

Fox Business anchor David Asman warned against the federal government taking action to respond to the
coronavirus market crash.

DAVID ASMAN (FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): What gets me is all the politicians telling us not to panic when
they are the ones -- what really scares me the most is if politicians think they have to do something, looking
over there at Jon Scott, he's nodding yes because you and I have seen that before. We've seen it before,
remember in 2008, 2009, when there was a lot of overreaction to what was happening, as bad as that
situation was. Sometimes politicians can go overboard in trying to make things better and sometimes the
best thing to do is just to wait for markets to calm down and see what'll happen. [Fox News, America’s
Newsroom, 3/9/20]

Frequent Fox Business guest Peter Morici pushed back against paid sick leave because Democrats will “want a
permanent program.”
PETER MORICI (ECONOMIST): The extension of paid sick leave opens the door. You know what's going to
happen on the Democratic side. Schumer's going to want a permanent program.
STUART VARNEY (HOST): Yeah.

MORICI: The old Rahm Emanuel approach, “Don't let any good crisis go unused.” They're going to try to
get another social program out of this. We can't let that happen. My feeling is, you want to put cash
directly in people's hands broadly. I think Mr. Kudlow is wrong on this one. I like Larry, we agree about a
lot of stuff. This, I don't agree. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 3/9/20]

Pushing Trump to prioritize the economy over human lives


In an effort to protect Trump’s image during the pandemic, Fox News has pushed both misinformation and
complete lies -- including about Trump’s proposals to help contain the economic fallout from coronavirus and how
President Barack Obama handled the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Fox Business guest Stephen Moore: Letting Americans die from coronavirus is a better strategy than letting the
economy suffer during prolonged lockdown.
DAGEN MCDOWELL (ANCHOR): And I will just point everyone to a Wall Street Journal editorial that I
suspect will get a lot of attention today. It's called “Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown.” And it reads
in part that if the government-ordered shutdown continues for more than another week or two, the
human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine. That we need to
rethink how we're addressing this virus, because potentially the fallout from an economic depression
could even be worse.

MARIA BARTIROMO (HOST): Yeah, that's a sobering op-ed, and it's a sobering moment for the country,
for sure. You're right, we know that the next three weeks will get worse. We have to be frank and accurate
on this, the numbers are about to spike. The numbers spiking in New York, the numbers are about to spike
throughout the United States. It will get worse before it gets better, for sure. Having said that, companies
are rushing to come up with therapeutics and therapies, so we will get through this.

STEPHEN MOORE (HERITAGE FOUNDATION): Yeah, I agree with that optimism, but Maria, I also am in
100% agreement with this Wall Street Journal editorial. In fact, I talked to my friend Paul Gigot about this
a couple of days ago. We have to start making very smart decisions about whether the cost of this
shutdown of our economy exceeds the cost of allowing people to go out on their lives and take some of
the risk of the coronavirus. Look, we can't go on for four weeks, five weeks, with our economy shut down.
And the human toll of that, and the devastation of wealth, and the devastation of people's life savings,
would be too great in my opinion. And we have to start asking this question about whether this trillions
of dollars of losses is worth — is worth it in terms of, you know, the cost of maybe a bit of a faster spread
of the virus.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
BARTIROMO: What is your take on the U.K. strategy, Steve? I mean, when you look at what the U.K. has
done — encouraging people to go out, pretty much expecting that everybody will get it, and that's the
point. If you have everybody who has coronavirus, maybe it's less of a threat, because the immunity goes
up. Do you have any comments about the U.K. strategy?

MOORE: I'm not a public health expert, so you know, I can't, you know, weigh in, in terms of any special
knowledge about that. But I do think, you know, that's a better strategy than putting, you know, 150
million people in lockdown, or 200 million people in lockdown. You know, it's just not going to work. It's
going to — you know, there is a — when you have a high economic cost like this —

BARTIROMO: It's called -- it's called the herd immunity strategy, the herd immunity strategy. Move in
herds, and everybody gets it.

MOORE: We'll see. Look, I just think that if we continue with four or five weeks of an economic shutdown,
and a lockdown, you know, we have to look at the human toll of that, which could be far greater than the
human toll of coronavirus.

BARTIROMO: Absolutely.
DAGEN MCDOWELL: Steve, this is something that could literally last for years and years. You're putting —
you're putting a large swath of the country out of business forever. And the human cost of that, what is
happening on just the individual level in this country is breathtaking and horrific, and I'm not talking about
the virus.
BARTIROMO: Absolutely. What are you talking about?

MOORE: Well, look, these are the decisions that our government has to make right now and you know,
it's a cost and benefit analysis. And the point I'm making is, you know, you can't — we can't function as a
society if we can't produce things. I mean, it'll be so devastating in terms of the losses that I just wonder
whether the government is making the right cost-benefit analysis here. [Fox Business, Mornings with
Maria Bartiromo, 3/20/20]
Fox guest Stephen Moore cited shutdown of the economy to say “we have reached the point where maybe the
cure is worse than the disease.”
STEPHEN MOORE (HERITAGE FOUNDATION): The point that I would make, and I am in full agreement with
the questions that The Wall Street Journal editorial asked, which is this: Is it possible -- and I think we have
reached the point where maybe the cure is worse than the disease. Look, we have an economy -- the
American economy is the engine of the world, Bill. We have a $20 trillion economy, we are losing
somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 billion a week because of the shutdown of the economy. And
the point I would make is this can’t go much longer than three or four -- I heard you ask the doctor as this
will be over by Easter. We can’t have the American economy shut down for more than three or four weeks,
or I think, it will be a disaster in terms of the human suffering, the lifetime savings of businesses and
individuals that will be wiped out. We have to make a smart calculation here. [Fox News, Bill Hemmer
Reports, 3/20/20]

Fox host Steve Hilton: “You know that famous phrase 'The cure is worse than the disease'? That is exactly the
territory we are hurtling towards.”

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
STEVE HILTON (HOST): There's a much better way to flatten the economic curve. Dr. Fauci says he's fine
overreacting.
(VIDEO BEGINS)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI (NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH): I like it when people are thinking I'm
overreacting because that means we're doing it just right.
(VIDEO ENDS)

HILTON: Well, that's easy for him to say. He'll still have a job at the end of this, whatever happens. Our
ruling class and their TV mouthpieces whipping up fear over this virus, they can afford an indefinite
shutdown. Working Americans can't; they'll be crushed by it.

You know that famous phrase 'The cure is worse than the disease'? That is exactly the territory we are
hurtling towards. You think it's just the coronavirus that kills people? This total economic shutdown will
kill people. A U.K. study calculated that 130,000 people died avoidably from austerity there between 2012
and 2017. The years of austerity for America to pay the cost of this shutdown will be worse. Adjusting for
the size of our economy, it's over a million deaths. But the family thrown out of their home, the mom gets
sick, the kids are orphans -- her death won't be counted. The dad who's been out of work for 30 years and
finally got a job last month and now he's back on the scrap heap and turning back to drink and drugs. His
death won't show up in a neat little box on cable news.
Poverty kills. Despair kills. This shutdown is deadly. The president announced a 15-day plan to beat the
virus. After that, let's say, ‘Right. We came together to slow the spread. Now let's come together to protect
the vulnerable.’ Get the ventilators, get the beds, get the equipment for our heroic nurses and doctors.
Keep the ban on large gatherings. But stop the total shutdown for everyone and start the total protection
of the elderly and those most likely to need hospitalization. Don't turn a public health crisis into America's
worst catastrophe. [Fox News, The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, 3/22/20]

Fox Business anchor David Asman: “One would think there could be a better way than just completely shutting
down 100%, the nonessential part of our economy.”

DAVID ASMAN (GUEST HOST): Now the cost of this extraordinary effort that we’re going to make to
prevent our economy from collapsing. That cost could be miniscule, as big as it is, trillion, more than trillion
dollars -- that could be miniscule when you think of the cost to the American economy of the complete
and utter shutdown that some states like California and now New York and Illinois are doing with the
economy. You know, again, it's hard to second-guess people that are worried about the lives of their own
citizens. But one would think that there could be a better way than just completely shutting down 100%
the nonessential parts, so-called part, of our economy. [Fox News, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/20/20]

Fox’s so-called “news” personalities are no exception to spreading


misinformation
Fox News has always pretended there is a separation between its opinion hosts and so-called “straight news”
anchors and reporters. Media Matters has shown before that is not the case -- and during the coronavirus
pandemic, Fox’s supposed “straight news” personalities are also spreading misinformation.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Fox anchor Martha MacCallum defended Trump from criticism: It was “only the second time he has done an
Oval Office speech”

ARI FLEISCHER (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): I regret to say that I thought the president's speech to the
nation last night was not reassuring. The manner in which the president read that speech, it appeared to
me, Martha, as if he had barely seen it before he read it off the teleprompter, and that was reflected in
the lack of emotion, the lack of connection, as he read that important speech. So, I think the president fell
short of that mark last night. Now, his policies, I think, are the right policies so far. The other factor, of
course, too, is as you pointed out, we need people to stand shoulder to shoulder. What a signal of
reassurance it would send when Democrats and Republicans stop the maneuvering and the posturing to
spend more on this program or that program, and do what is right to fight the virus.

MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): Yeah. You know, as far as the president's speech, you know, obviously, it
sounds like you -- you're citing, maybe a failure among, I don't know, the speechwriter, or making sure it
was run through several times before they went in there. This is only the second time he has done an Oval
Office speech like that, and it is -- it is a unique sort of presentation, and it does demand -- it demands
attention, right? [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/12/20]

Fox anchor Martha MacCallum scolded a Democratic congressman for bringing up Trump’s coronavirus lies.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): I'm frankly most concerned about the president. I just saw a news story
today that he's made 29 false claims about the coronavirus. So it seems like you can have the best
intentions, the best experts, everyone doing what we're supposed to do, and then the person at the top
can set us back with misinformation.
MARTHA MACCALLUM (ANCHOR): Yeah, I don't even think that -- I'm not sure that's particularly helpful
either. I mean, I think there've been -- a lot of, you know -- I'm saying -- you know, whoever came up with

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
these 29 claims, it's like -- I think -- we don't actually know how this is going to evolve. So, they're trying
to keep people --
SWALWELL: Well, I think -- yeah, I think, you know, his tweet that this is just like the flu -- like you just
said, it's not the flu.

MACCALLUM: No, but there's -- but that's -- you know, I'm just saying that in order to, you know, sort of
engender an atmosphere where we are working together, pulling together as a country, you know, sort
of enumerating things that -- I just think it's very difficult to know where this thing is going, and I think
that a lot of people say things on both sides that may not end up being true. [Fox News, The Story with
Martha MacCallum, 3/11/20]
Appearing on Outnumbered, Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis: “It doesn't feel productive” to “sit there and
attack” Trump's coronavirus response.
MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST): Before we jump on what are the errors and what's wrong with this, to me,
it is -- there were two points. Number one, this is a starting point. I mean, I don't think he said, “This is the
only place we're going to be doing these bans forever.” I think this is the beginning of where we're starting
it instantly. And the second thing is that we don't know all the answers, and we don't know how these
things are going. So when you want to sit there and attack, it doesn't feel productive, and the president
was trying to say -- I think with last night, the big message was he had been criticized all day long by
Democrats who are never happy with a single thing he's ever done, saying that he's not taking it seriously.
And last night was about, “We are taking this very seriously.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 3/12/20]

Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum acknowledged that there were “errors” in Trump’s Oval Office that were
“not helpful,” but she chided the “finger-pointing” from Democrats.
MARTHA MACCALLUM (ANCHOR): So the president's speech last night was not without errors, and that
was not helpful, but finger-pointing doesn't fulfill what Americans need right now from their government.
Which is to acknowledge where we are right now, the flaws and all, and move forward, united, to help
each other. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 3/12/20]

Fox anchor Sandra Smith on coronavirus: “Obviously, there's speculation it could get worse. Some say, like the
president, it could miraculously disappear.”
SANDRA SMITH (CO-ANCHOR): We're watching the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a snapshot of our
markets. The S&P 500, the NASDAQ -- they are plunging this week responding to growing fears over the
spread of this virus. Obviously, there's speculation it could get worse. Some say, like the president, it could
miraculously disappear. Everyone is trying to assess the risk here at home and around the world. The Dow
before today fell 10.5%. It's down another 4% this morning. How do we assess those risks? [Fox News,
America’s Newsroom, 2/28/20]

Fox anchor Ed Henry: Florida coronavirus deaths were elderly people who traveled, “so when you hear the
context, it is not quite as scary.”

ED HENRY (CO-ANCHOR): Fox News alert now on the rapid spread of coronavirus has prompted several
governors to make state of emergencies, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who made the
announcement after the state's House chamber was briefly evacuated. Let's bring in Florida Sen. Rick
Scott. He, of course, is the former governor of Florida. Good morning, sir.

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Good morning.

HENRY: People hear “state of emergency," they might have fear. Sometimes it's just, as you know, about
a governor asserting power to make sure they can respond quickly. And I want to add this important
context: When you read down the story from Fox Orlando this morning, it says in your state there have
been 18 cases of COVID-19. Two people, sadly, have died, but both of those residents were elderly and
had traveled internationally. So when you hear the context, it is not quite as scary. [Fox News, America’s
Newsroom, 3/10/20]

Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo agreed with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) that the coronavirus pandemic is a
great time for people to go out.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): You know, you were just talking about the economy, and where there's a lot
of concerns with the economy here, because people are scared to go out. But I will just say, one of the
things you can do -- if you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to just go out, go to a local
restaurant --

MARIA BARTIROMO (ANCHOR): Yeah.


NUNES: Likely you can get in easily. There's -- you know, let's not hurt the working people in this country,
that are relying on wages and tips to keep their small business going.

BARTIROMO: You know, we're very sympathetic --


NUNES: Don't run to the --

BARTIROMO: Understood.

NUNES: Yeah, just don't run to the grocery store and buy, you know, $4,000 of food.

BARTIROMO: Right, they're cleaning off the shelves.


NUNES: Go, you know, go to your local pub, yeah. [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 3/15/20]

A Fox News anchor promoted a debunked fringe conspiracy theory about the origins of coronavirus. Fox News
anchor Martha MacCallum lent credence to the debunked conspiracy theory that the coronavirus epidemic was
engineered in a high-security laboratory housed in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The Washington Post labeled
this a “fringe theory” and PolitiFact identified it as “false,” and an expert agreed that there is no evidence that
coronavirus was an engineered virus. [Media Matters, 2/19/20]

Fox anchors used a conversation about coronavirus to criticize California politicians over homelessness and
deride San Francisco as “essentially an open sewer.”

HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): When you look at a city, and you can see this throughout cities in California,
that have burst with that particular problem, you've got a population that is on the streets that is
struggling with health issues anyway because they are not indoors and they are not able to get the health
care they need. And then you have something bursting like this on the scene, potentially. I'm hoping that
they are concentrating on those among us who cannot fight for ourselves on the streets in San Francisco
and those in California. We know it's become a political issue for some of the leaders in California, but if

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
they are going to use coronavirus to get to that, I'm actually OK with that. Just get to it. Deal with that
issue, because its vulnerability among us that we really shouldn't tolerate.
DAGEN MCDOWELL (CO-HOST): Jon, to Harris' point, there is a health safety problem in plain sight in San
Francisco. With -- it's not just the homeless, but it's -- parts of the city are essentially an open sewer. And
it's been that way literally for decades, and it's only gotten worse, and they've done nothing. [Fox News,
Outnumbered, 2/26/20]
Fox Business anchor David Asman, citing homelessness, attacked California Gov. Gavin Newsom as
“hypocritical” for “lecturing people about public hygiene.”
DAVID ASMAN (FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): It's very easy to do finger-pointing. We're going to see a lot of
it, we've talked about political finger-pointing that’s going on in both directions --

HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): Some of it is right to do.

ASMAN: Some of it is right to do, but at the same time, to have Gavin Newsom, a guy whose record on
public hygiene, when you look at what's happening in San Francisco --
FAULKNER: The homeless situation.

ASMAN: -- is at least questionable, if not totally outrageous to have him lecturing people about public
hygiene seems a bit hypocritical to me. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/28/20]

Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis claimed Trump's trade war with China will help protect America from the
economic impact of coronavirus.

MELISSA FRANCIS (FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): It may be blunted a bit, even though we will feel it here in
the U.S., ironically because of the president's trade war that everyone made fun of and ridiculed. The
president did realize that we are too dependent on China in the supply chain that we've become slaves,
so to speak, to all of the products and to the cheap labor as they continue to buy our debt and that this
was a relationship in which we were losing power. And because he started this trade war that was costing
companies money, they went up and set up different ways -- “Well maybe we can get this from here,
maybe here's our second, maybe we'll do this if it doesn't get solved.” And a lot of companies have either
moved or have found another way. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 2/24/20]

Fox Business anchor David Asman warned against the federal government taking action to respond to the
coronavirus market crash.

DAVID ASMAN (FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR): What gets me is all the politicians telling us not to panic when
they are the ones -- what really scares me the most is if politicians think they have to do something, looking
over there at Jon Scott he's nodding yes because you and I have seen that before. We've seen it before,
remember in 2008, 2009 when there was a lot of overreaction to what was happening, as bad as that
situation was. Sometimes politicians can go overboard in trying to make things better and sometimes the
best thing to do is just to wait for markets to calm down and see what'll happen. [Fox News, America’s
Newsroom, 3/9/20]

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Fox News’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research contributions: Zachary Pleat, Courtney Hagle, Media Matters Staff.

Image: Melissa Joskow.

Media Matters for America | 45