Media Matters for America (MMFA) accused Fox News programs “Fox & Friends” and “America’s Newsroom” of fearmongering about the novel coronavirus in January.
“Fox News fearmongers about coronavirus with dubiously sourced viral video,” the activist group wrote in an article published Jan. 27. MMFA also specifically called out hosts Brian Kilmeade and Sandra Smith for raising concern about the virus.
The article accused Fox News of reporting an “unverified video” from “an account known for pushing unsourced information in breaking news environments.”
The article included quotes that now appear to be accurate as the novel coronavirus has continued to spread worldwide and take thousands of lives.
“Co-host Brian Kilmeade, in an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz, said that the outbreak is ‘happening in this secretive society where candor is secondary, and we’re seeing clues that this is so much worse,'” MMFA wrote.
“On ‘straight news’ program America’s Newsroom, co-anchor Sandra Smith used the unverified video as an example of ‘growing concern over whether enough is being done to contain the virus,'” the left-wing activist group added.
Media outlets have since wondered whether earlier steps could have contained the virus. A study from the University of Southampton indicated that the world could have avoided a global pandemic if China had sounded the alarm just three weeks earlier.
“Despite the unreliability of the source that Fox News ran with to fearmonger about the outbreak in China, Fox’s News Corp.-owned sister outlet the New York Post also posted a credulous article about the sensationalist video, not mentioning the credibility issues with it,” MMFA wrote in January.
Meanwhile, a Media Matters’ employee said March 31 that Fox News’ early coverage of the novel coronavirus was “going to get people killed” during a Twitter feud with Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.
MMFA’s deputy director of rapid response Andrew Lawrence sparked a Twitter war with Gutfeld after accusing “The Five” of failing to sound “the alarm on the virus back in January.” Lawrence tweeted that “the way your show [The Five] and your network [Fox News] covered this from the beginning are going to get people killed.”
The way your show and your network covered this from the beginning are going to get people killed
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 31, 2020
Lawrence did not retract his several comments, even though the group he works for previously bashed parts of Fox News for saying too much. (RELATED: Greg Gutfeld: Only In Media Could ‘An Idiot’ Like Joe Scarborough Make A Living)
Gutfeld is considering taking legal action against Lawrence.