Conservative media, in particular Fox News, has been all over the place in its coronavirus coverage. When Donald Trump dismissed the virus in February and even March, Fox News held strong on the “this will all blow over soon” talking points. They went so far as to advise people to keep traveling and enjoying restaurants. When the administration started keeping it “seriously” they started to as well, telling people to wash their hands and social distance.
Once Trump got bored of giving daily briefings (or was stopped after suggesting injecting bleach), things took another change. It seems like this White House administration is forcing the country to open rather than pay unemployment or help anyone, which means Fox and other news sources like it are peddling the idea that everything is back to normal. They’ve even politicized wearing face masks, one of the most basic things preventing the spread of COVID-19.
And according to science, in the places where people watch conservative news, the virus may be spreading faster, the Washington Post reports. In one study from the Harvard Kennedy School, the authors conclude that “consuming far-right media and social media content was strongly associated with low concern about the virus at the onset of the pandemic.”
Another study from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed there was a ten percent increase in zip codes with high Fox News viewership numbers of people who refused to stay home in. Another study from the same organization showed Fox News viewers were also less likely to wear masks in public, or observe other common-sense guidelines for staying healthy.
So, whose fault is this? It’s easy to blame the hardcore individualists who are determined to do whatever they want at all times even if it spreads disease, but the people who most need to be held accountable are the ones with money and power who are egging them on. Fox News knows what it’s doing, and they’re downright evil for that.