The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brett Abrams,

New Report: Fox News Pushed Coronavirus Misinformation 253x Between July 6-10

Laura Ingraham is top coronavirus misinformer, Fox’s The Ingraham Angle is responsible for 25% of the network’s coronavirus disinformation.


According to a new report from Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media watchdog, Fox News repeated coronavirus misinformation 253 times in its weekday coverage from July 6 through 10, including claims that undermined scientific research about the pandemic, eroded trust in public health experts and policy recommendations, called for reopening schools and businesses without regard to public health precautions, and politicized the country's response to the virus.

This avalanche of misinformation comes on the heels of a report from Yahoo News earlier this month claiming that Fox's messaging on the coronavirus was undergoing a "remarkable turn" from its earlier coverage to "acknowledge ... that the coronavirus is a far graver threat." As the Media Matters report shows, that couldn't be further from the truth.
According to the report:
  • Nearly half of Fox's coronavirus misinformation was about the science of coronavirus and health recommendations from experts (115 instances).
  • Fox politicized recommended public health measures, such as face masks usage and business closures, 63 times.
  • Fox emphasized the economy and reopening schools 46 times despite public health concerns.
  • Fox's The Ingraham Angle was responsible for a quarter of all coronavirus misinformation on the network during the study period.
  • Fox's "straight news" shows accounted for more than one-third of all coronavirus misinformation during the five day study period.
Fox host Laura Ingraham and her prime-time show The Ingraham Angle traded in coronavirus misinformation far more often than other Fox personalities and shows during the week of July 6. Ingraham herself pushed coronavirus misinformation 38 times, which included 21 instances of undermining and misrepresenting the science on the coronavirus and 13 instances of politicizing the response to the pandemic. Fox personalities and guests on The Ingraham Angle were responsible for an astonishing 63 instances of misinformation.
Of the network's "straight news" shows, anchor Martha MacCallum's The Story broadcast the most coronavirus misinformation with 20 instances. Overall, the newsier side of Fox was responsible for 35% of all coronavirus misinformation on the network during the week of July 6. Brands like Amazon, Kraft Heinz, Pzifer and Verizon are all leading sponsors of Fox News' shows, and as a result helped fund Fox News' disinformation effort to undermine public health and help President Trump's reelection chances. They all advertised on the network multiple times in July.
"Fox has argued against stay-at-home orders and business closures even though evidence shows that shutdowns likely averted up to 60 million infections in the U.S. The network at times even continues to argue against the efficacy of wearing masks, with host Tucker Carlson claiming "there is no evidence" that masks help stop the spread of the coronavirus. This explicitly goes against the World Health Organization's and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations of mask use for the general public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus," explained Rob Savillo, research analyst at Media Matters, in the report. "Amid six different public polls showing that Fox viewers are woefully -- and dangerously -- misinformed regarding the coronavirus, these recent events illustrate the real-world consequences of Fox's continued broadcasting of coronavirus misinformation that downplays the threat of the virus, dismisses the recommendations of public health officials, and misrepresents the scientific consensus on the disease."

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.