On Friday, The Daily Beast published an analysis of how some Fox News stars have gone from denying that coronavirus was a serious threat, to attacking Democrats for supposedly being the ones who didn’t take it seriously in the first place.
“Like many of his Fox colleagues, Hannity suddenly changed his tune late last month on the virus after President Donald Trump finally pivoted to treating it seriously,” wrote Justin Baragona. “The Fox star and unofficial Trump adviser has since taken aim at Democrats and critics who have rightly called out his previous coverage, claiming that all along he was the one warning of the coming disaster while they were the ones turning a blind eye. But despite Hannity’s perceived confidence in his coronavirus coverage, video and audio recordings do exist. The Fox star spent weeks misleadingly comparing the deadly virus to the seasonal flu while claiming Democrats were ‘politicizing and actually weaponizing an infectious disease’ to ‘bludgeon’ Trump.”
This week, however, Hannity devoted time on his TV and radio shows to blasting New York Times writer Kara Swisher for criticizing Fox News’ dismissal of the virus threat, saying, “if she actually watched our coverage and cared about the truth … she would know that we reported without fear from the very beginning,” selectively quoting a handful of Times op-eds that were skeptical of the virus and of Chinese travel restrictions, and saying “Maybe [Swisher’s mother] had a planned trip [to China]! If she was listening to her daughter’s newspaper at the time, that would have been a really, really, really dumb idea.”
Another Fox personality taking this line is “The Five” co-host Jesse Watters, who recently proclaimed on his show, “Not too long ago, [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo was saying go eat out in New York City. [Mayor Bill] de Blasio had all of the schools open. Nancy Pelosi said bring your friends to Chinatown and go to the bars. Joe Biden said the travel ban was racist.” In fact, all of those Democrats were urging the federal government to act against the virus for weeks before Trump took it seriously.
Conversely, one person who recently wasn’t so concerned about coronavirus was … Jesse Watters.
“If I get it, I’ll beat it,” said Watters on a March 3 broadcast. “I’m not lying. It’s called the power of positive thinking, and I think America needs to wake up to that.” He added, “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.”