Fox News medical contributor, Dr. Marc Siegel, chose to promote Donald Trump’s political health over the nation’s children’s health by pretending not to know what Trump meant when he spread dangerous misinformation that children are “almost immune” from coronavirus.
This week, Trump pushed for schools to reopen by falsely claiming there’s no danger to children. From The Independent:
Mr Trump said on Wednesday morning that “schools should be open. If you look at children — I would almost say definitely — they are almost immune from this disease.”
He added: “They’ve got stronger, hard to believe, I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. And they don’t have a problem, they just don’t have a problem.”
Video of Trump’s remarks was removed by both Facebook and Twitter because it contained false claims about the coronavirus.
The Independent also noted that a seven-year-old boy from Georgia, with no underlying conditions, died from coronavirus the next day. A six-year-old girl from Tennessee and a six-year-old boy from Nebraska also died from coronavirus this week, according to Fox News.
But Fox’s standards are lower than Facebook and Twitter, apparently. The network's supposed medical expert preferred to allow Trump’s false sense of security for parents go unchallenged rather than say something unflattering to Trump. While he was at it, Siegel made a point of admiring and euphemizing Trump’s amateurism in handling a deadly pandemic that has killed more than 160,000 Americans so far.
To be fair, in his extended comments, Siegel contradicted Trump to some degree. But he allowed viewers to think there was at least some validity to Trump’s dangerously false remarks.
Transcript via Media Matters, with my emphases added:
JOHN ROBERTS (GUEST ANCHOR): Dr. Siegel, you heard the president say yesterday that children are, quote, “almost immune.” What's the real deal?
MARC SIEGEL (FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR): Well, John, I can't interpret what he meant by that, but I'll tell you this. Children under the age of five that get COVID-19 are actually being found in a study last week to have more of the virus in their noses than adults do. But I think the issue is about immunity. And one of the explanations, John, for why kids may have milder cases overall — much milder cases, or asymptomatic cases — is that they may have some cross-immunity that they're bringing from other coronaviruses that they're exposed to. That's one theory. Another theory is that children have stronger immune systems.
So — but that doesn't mean they can't get COVID-19. It doesn't mean they can't spread COVID-19. The older the children get, the easier it is for them to spread it to adults, based on studies around the world.
ROBERTS: You know, Dr. Siegel, you have talked to the president several times since this whole crisis started. He is frequently at odds or contradicts members of his Coronavirus Task Force. Do you get the sense that the president trusts his experts — or trusts his gut?
SIEGEL: I think both. John, that's a tough question. He trusts his experts, but he also goes day-to-day with that. He has some really top experts there.
SIEGEL: You know, he is not afraid to disagree with one of his experts, and he's not afraid to look at it from a more economic point of view, or from an issue of collateral damage. You know, he looks at it from many different ways at once. But it's — it would be a mistake to think, “Oh, he's angry at this expert, he's not listening to them anymore.” I think that they all continue to weigh in.
Yesterday, CNN’s Brianna Keilar aired an epic takedown of the right-wing’s “deadly misinformation.” Siegel had a starring role.
You can see where Siegel’s highest loyalties lie below, from the August 6, 2020 Bill Hemmer Reports, via Media Matters.