Much like the tangerine god they so ardently adore and fervently worship, the powers-that-be at Fox News enjoy spreading conspiracy theories, half-truths, and outright lies. After all, it’s what their audience wants and demands of them, and it makes them tons of money.
When cornavirus first entered the public consciousness in March, Fox repeatedly told its viewers that there was no need for Americans to fear the virus. Sure, the disease was killing thousands in China, Iran, and Italy, but that was their problem. Coronavirus, according to hosts like Sean Hannity, was just another Democratic “hoax” designed to destroy Donald Trump and distract from the great news coming from the stock market each day.
Now, however, with over 819,000 COVID-19 cases in the United States and the death toll above 45,000, Fox is trying to backpedal and warn their viewers that the virus is indeed a major danger. In fact, when all is said and done, coronavirus could wind up killing as many 70,000 Americans.
But the damage is already done, and greater damage could be on the horizon for Fox, according to Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who told MSNBC host Joy Reid that the brass at the network is terrified of the lawsuits that are likely to be filed by those who watched Fox’s coverage, didn’t take precautions, got ill, and in some cases died. As Sherman noted:
“When I’ve been talking to Fox insiders over the last few days, there’s a real concern inside the network that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this.”
Sherman then added that the network’s firing of Fox Business host Trish Regan suggests they’re in damage control mode already:
“The Murdochs, of course, own Fox News. So, they were taken personal steps to protect themselves while anchors like Trish Regan and Sean Hannity were telling viewers that it’s a hoax and putting themselves in potentially mortal danger. So I think this is a case where Fox’s coverage, if it actually winds up being proved that people died because of it, this is a new terrain in terms of Fox being possibly held liable for their actions.”
As Donald Trump himself is finding out the hard way, lies do eventually come back to roost. And some of them could even wind up costing Fox News millions in legal fees, judgments, and settlements.
Couldn’t happen to a more deserving gang of douchebags.