Tucker Carlson breaks from Fox News' coronavirus coverage: ‘It’s definitely not just the flu’
By: SANJANA KARANTH
Fox News host Tucker Carlson broke from his network’s pattern of downplaying the coronavirus outbreak, criticizing on Monday those who “have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem.”
“‘It’s just partisan politics,’ they say. ‘Calm down. In the end, this is just like the flu,’” Carlson said on his show. “It’s definitely not just the flu.”
“People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Carlson said. “Though these people have good intentions as they say this, many of them anyway ― they may not know any better, maybe they’re just not paying attention or maybe they believe they’re serving some higher cause by shading reality ― and there’s an election coming up, [think it’s] best not to say anything that might help the other side. We get it, but they’re wrong.”
Fox News has consistently downplayed the severity of the coronavirus , aligning itself with the president’s position on the deadly outbreak that has caused global panic. Fox News host Sean Hannity had Trump on his show last week, when the president said COVID-19 is not a big deal, intentionally understated the World Health Organization’s estimate of the virus’s death rate (3.4%) based on his “hunch” and implied that it’s OK for people infected with the virus to go to work.
The network continued to push misinformation after Hannity’s Trump interview, with news anchor Shannon Bream positioning the president’s lies as a critique of mainstream media and then interviewing Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who minimized the outbreak’s severity.