The things that occur at Fox News is enough to make a film and, well, that actually occurred in 2019 with the release of Bombshell. But following the current COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing saga at the infamous broadcast station would make a viable sequel. The US is scrambling to contain the coronavirus as deaths in New York surpass that of the 9-11 attacks and the misinformation spread by Fox News is now at the forefront of what exactly went wrong.
On March 9 before the mass outbreak, Fox Business host Trish Regan was confident in her claim that the coronavirus was created by Liberal media to undermine the president. “Many in the liberal media using, and I mean using, coronavirus in an attempt to demonise and destroy the president.” Two days later, the World Health Organisation declared the situation a pandemic and by March 28, Regan was left unemployed.
But the bogus claims and dangerous spread of misinformation did not stop there and was broadcast across the country. Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity called it a “hoax” that same day and Jesse Waters said “I’m not afraid of the coronavirus, and no one else should be that afraid either. And if that weren’t enough Jeannine Pirro spurred on conspiracy theories with claims that because there was a vaccine for the flu “all the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly [than the flu] doesn’t reflect reality.”
Is this a case of lack of research and oblivion? Or was it pushed from the heads of the channel and the toxic, ‘Trumpism’ the country sees on a daily basis? Regan was considered, “the sacrificial lamb” of the network to counteract criticism, according to The Daily Beast, but Fox News’ poor efforts to soften a deadly mistake which could very well have risked the lives of the public is now in view.
Obtained by the Times of San Diego, a 10-page complaint from Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, or WASHLITE, was filed last Thursday and “seeks an injunction to prohibit the conservative-leaning outlet from ‘interfering with reasonable and necessary measures to contain the virus by publishing further false and deceptive content.'”
“That’s the real evil of this type of programming,” Arthur West, a board member for WASHLITE said. “We believe it delayed and interfered with a prompt and adequate response to this coronavirus pandemic within the state of Washington.”
Reacting in a statement, Lily Fu Claffee, general counsel for FOX News Media, told Times of San Diego: “Wrong on the facts, frivolous on the law. We will defend vigorously and seek sanctions as appropriate.”
What happens next is anyone’s game as the proceeding will inevitably be slowed or halted. Either way, Fox News is lawyering up.
Stay tuned for further developments.