Quantcast
Connect with us

Study finds people who watched Sean Hannity were more likely to die from COVID-19

Published

on

Anew study from the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics found that “greater viewership of ‘Hannity’ relative to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ was strongly associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the early stages of the pandemic.”

This article originally appeared at Salon.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fox News host Sean Hannity has been heavily criticized for echoing President Donald Trump’s initial attempts to downplay the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson, his colleague at the right-leaning network who has framed the issue in more nationalistic terms, has been credited with convincing the president to take the pandemic seriously.

“Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by the coronavirus from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the risks associated with the virus before gradually adjusting his position starting late February,” the researchers wrote in the working paper.

The two hosts diverged greatly on the issue in February. While Hannity expressed optimism that “zero people in the United States have died from the coronavirus,” Carlson warned viewers that the virus could kill 1 million people across the country.

The researchers commissioned a poll of more than 1,000 Fox News viewers, which found that Carlson’s viewers were more likely to change their behavior earlier than Hannity’s viewers.

“We find that Hannity’s viewers on average changed their behavior in response to the coronavirus five days later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson’s viewers changed behavior three days earlier than other Fox News viewers,” the paper said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The researchers then compared the death rate in counties that favored either host, finding “approximately 30% more COVID-19 cases” in areas that preferred Hannity than those that watched Carlson.

“Already by mid-March, we see a statistically significant difference — that there are greater case loads in places that favor Hannity over Tucker,” researcher David Yanagizawa-Drott told The Chicago Tribune. “Then weeks later, we see a similar trajectory increase for deaths.”

After Hannity’s “shift in tone,” however, “the diverging trajectories … began to revert,” the study said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The researchers argued that their findings were consistent with “misinformation being an important mechanism driving the effects in the data.”

Polls have similarly found that Fox News viewers as a whole are far more likely to believe the threat of the virus is exaggerated. Another poll showed that Republicans, in general, were less likely to change their behavior in response to the threat than Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT

The attempts by certain Fox News opinion hosts to downplay the virus early in the outbreak came in stark contrast to steps the network’s executives and owners took to protect themselves against the virus.

“The selective cherry-picked clips of Sean Hannity’s coverage used in this study are not only reckless and irresponsible, but down right factually wrong,” a spokesperson for Fox News said in a statement. “As this timeline proves, Hannity has covered Covid-19 since the early days of the story. The ‘study’ almost completely ignores his coverage and repeated, specific warnings and concerns from January 27-February 26 including an early interview with Dr. Fauci in January. This is a reckless disregard for the truth.”

Hannity likewise defended his coverage of the virus in an interview with Newsweek earlier this month, arguing that his January interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, showed that his viewers were getting accurate information.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Go to my web site, and you’ll see irrefutable evidence that I have taken this seriously way before most in the media did. I warned in January that it was dangerous because it was highly contagious, but some people were asymptomatic, so it would spread quickly,” he said, though he also argued months later that the flu was “much more dangerous” than the new coronavirus and compared the associated death rate to the murder rate in Chicago.

Hannity’s comments came in response to a letter from 74 journalism professors to Fox owner Rupert Murdoch and CEO Lachlan Murdoch calling on the network to stop spreading “misinformation” about the virus.

“The misinformation that reaches the Fox News audience is a danger to public health. Indeed, it is not an overstatement to say that your misreporting endangers your own viewers — and not only them, for in a pandemic, individual behavior affects significant numbers of other people as well,” the letter said. “. . . Inexcusably, Fox News has violated elementary canons of journalism. In so doing, it has contributed to the spread of a grave pandemic. Urgently, therefore, in the name of both good journalism and public health, we call upon you to help protect the lives of all Americans — including your elderly viewers — by ensuring that the information you deliver is based on scientific facts.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ron DeSantis is secretly sabotaging Florida’s efforts to court the Republican National Convention: report

Published

on

After President Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, North Carolina, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a push to bring the convention to his state. But according to a report from The New York Times, DeSantis is now hindering his state's efforts to bring in the event.

"Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, has directed his top fund-raiser, Heather Barker, to tell donors not to give to the convention because of a personal dispute between the governor and Susie Wiles, his former campaign manager who is serving as an informal adviser to the convention planners, according to multiple people familiar with his actions," the Times' Annie Karni and Patricia Mazzei write.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Kayleigh McEnany has railed against recipients of government assistance — but her parents received $1-2 million in PPP loans: report

Published

on

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has been highly critical of Americans who receive any type of government assistance and isn’t shy about expressing her disdain for “welfare recipients.” But McEnany’s parents, according to data released by the Small Business Administration earlier this week, received millions of dollars in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Fast food manager curses at father who asked her to put a mask on while preparing his food

Published

on

An incident at a fast food drive-thru in New York on July 4 was captured on video, showing a family engaged in a confrontation with a restaurant manager who apparently wasn't wearing a mask, News12 reports.

Brandon Trotta says he took his kids to Dairy Queen when he saw several employees inside not wearing masks.

“I saw the person preparing our Blizzards not wearing a mask so I told the cashier that I'm not going to take those and I asked if they could remake them wearing a mask,” he told News 12.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image