Fox News spent most of 2020 spreading hazardous-to-your-health misinformation and disinformation and an outright pro-death agenda. From the same “pro-life” folks who endlessly smeared Obamacare, legislation designed to save lives by expanding health care access, and dishonestly characterized one provision as a “death panel.”
Although it’s impossible to calculate, it’s almost certain that Fox is at least partly responsible for deaths among its viewers. Media Matters’ Matt Gertz put it well in his article explaining why the site named Fox as its “Misinformer of the Year” for 2020: “[N]ever before have its personalities and executives had the blood of this many Americans on their hands,” he wrote.
It’s difficult to imagine what prime-time stars Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham might have done differently if they were deliberately trying to get as many Americans killed as possible. The hosts and the assemblage of kooks and cranks they brought on for supposed expertise used their massive platforms to wage a nightly, systematic assault against virtually every measure that public health officials supported.
They denounced social distancing, masks, quarantines, and increased testing as ineffective and dictatorial, while praising both the purportedly miraculous properties of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which studies show is ineffective against the coronavirus, and the less-restrictive response of Sweden, which ultimately failed. They baselessly claimed at first that the coronavirus death toll had been inflated, and eventually stopped mentioning those figures altogether. They embraced protests against stay-at-home orders, valorized small business owners who flouted coronavirus restrictions, and denounced credible experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci. Over a single week in July, their shows combined to push misinformation about the virus at least 83 times.
But while those hosts stand out, the entire network has been complicit in its campaign of deception, with the network’s purported “straight news” shows often hammering the same misinformation as its “opinion” programming.
For Fox, mass death was simply the cost of doing business.
But mass death is not necessarily seen as a "cost" on Fox. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick twice promoted death for seniors as a way to help the economy. Fox's own Brit Hume called that an "entirely reasonable viewpoint."
That was all in front of the camera. Behind the camera, the network is protecting its employees with the same measures they denounce to viewers. The Daily Beast authors Maxwell Tani and Justin Baragona, in a separate year-end roundup called “How Fox News Made Us Sick in 2020,” reported:
While some of its own hosts do wander the halls of the nearly empty network headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, the network has kept much of its workforce at home, and ensured that its on-air staff receive regular testing. In recent weeks, for instance, the network strengthened its COVID-19 screening process for staffers working at the NYC offices following a slew of positive tests for on-air personalities including The Five’s Juan Williams and Fox & Friends First co-anchor Todd Piro, among others.
According to an internal memo sent to Fox News staffers, obtained and reviewed by The Daily Beast, employees who physically work one to three days a week at the News Corp. building will continue to follow the current procedure of using self-administered saliva test kits; those who work more days in-office will now take part in on-site testing twice per week.
Furthermore, the network got behind the lie that a provision in Obamacare that paid for optional end-of-life counseling were “death panels” which would determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care.
“Death panels” was PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2009.
But “Death Channel” is the truth about Fox in 2020.
Media Matters has two good videos summing up Fox’s pro-death agenda in 2020. You can watch them below.
When I attended high school and university during the early 1960s (Kennedy’s administration), most post-high-school education (with a few exceptions, mostly in the evangelical world of creationists and evolution-deniers) involved a couple of years aimed at bring students up to speed in terms both of basic knowledge (English, science and a touch of culture) and especially critical thinking.
The power of Fox(not)News tells me that a lot of my age-mates (over 75) have forgotten what they learned then.