While certain hosts over at Fox News have been accused of downplaying the threat of the growing coronavirus outbreak, the network is implementing increased safety and security measures behind the scenes, even telling staff members to work from home if possible. One action taken affected the popular show Fox & Friends, which won't be taped in front of a live studio audience "for the foreseeable future."
As Meg James pointed out in the Los Angeles Times this Thursday, the internal action at the network to combat the virus stands in stark contrast to some of its most popular on-air personalities. One theme that has emerged on the network is the idea that the heightened news coverage of the outbreak is designed to undermine Donald Trump's presidency. Earlier this week, Fox Business anchor Trish Regan suggested that liberals were creating panic as part of an “impeachment scam” targeting the president.
Also downplaying the virus' threat is Fox host Sean Hannity, who cited an "MIT guy" he says he "noticed on Twitter."
"...and you know he’s saying pretty much the same thing -- he does research nearly every single day on immune systems -- he said, ‘coronavirus fear-mongering by the deep state will go down in history as one of the biggest frauds to manipulate economies, suppress dissent, and push mandated medicines,’” Hannity said, adding, “May be true.”
According to Fox host Laura Ingraham, Democrats "are either hoping for misery or actually peddling it" when it comes to the outbreak.
"Democrats and their media cronies have decided to weaponize fear and also weaponized suffering to improve their chances against Trump in November," Ingraham said on a recent broadcast. "The facts don't matter to the Trump haters."
Other network hosts have been more measured, however.
“People you trust — people you probably voted for — have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” host Tucker Carlson recently told his audience. “Though these people have good intentions as they say this — many of them, anyway ― they may not know any better. Maybe they’re just not paying attention or maybe they believe they’re serving some higher cause by shading reality.”