The push has been on over the last couple of weeks to blame Fox News for allegedly “downplaying” the threat from the Wuhan coronavirus. 74 journalism professors wrote a letter to the network alleging Fox viewers “have been regularly subjected to misinformation” from some of the network’s anchors and show hosts.
Not surprisingly, MSNBC’s “AM Joy” host Joy Reid has led the way in the “blame Fox News game” by expressing an eagerness to see the channel face legal liability over their reporting. Over the last several weeks, her programs have featured segments discussing whether or not Fox could be
punished for their higher ratings held liable for their coverage.
Newsbusters’ Mark Finkelstein did a recap of Reid’s Sunday show where this discussion took place. Reid really piled it on:
On her MSNBC show today, Reid played a clip from her March 29th show in which longtime Fox foe and MSNBC contributor Gabriel Sherman (now a correspondent for Vanity Fair) claimed that Fox News “insiders” had told him that:
“There’s a real concern inside the network that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this.”
Reid then asked if there was a real possibility Fox could face liability:
JOY REID: Fox News has finally been forced to confront reality and the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak . . . Now, a Washington state non-profit has sued Fox News under the state’s consumer protection act, arguing that the network acted in bad faith by spreading false information about the virus and potentially putting their viewers in danger. Joining me now is the Attorney General of New York State, Letitia James . . . As New York Attorney general, and the state in which Fox News is headquartered, is there potential liability for those who downplayed the seriousness of this virus, in light of the fact that polls show that Fox News viewers are less likely to believe that the threat is real?
James answered by telling Reid she didn’t know the specifics of the case.
Here’s the problem Reid, Sherman and others who are rooting for Fox News to be sued out of business over this issue aren’t seeing:
If Fox News ultimately is held partially responsible, it will open the door to more critical examinations of coverage of the virus from other networks, including Reid’s. And unfortunately for the Joy Reids and Brian Stelters of the world, their coverage even up until early March on the Wuhan coronavirus downplayed the threat to a significant degree, as can be seen in the video clip below from the Free Beacon:
The Federalist also documented numerous instances of online and print media outlets from Vox.com to the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN all downplaying the threat, which you can read here.
In short, the people rooting most for Fox News to be found liable for their coverage seem completely unaware that Fox News losing that battle would open their own outlets to be sued for liability as well.
Realistically speaking, Reid and the rest of the anti-Fox News coalition are not cheering for this lawsuit because they’re legitimately concerned about alleged misinformation being passed on from the network – because if they were, they’d clean up their own acts before pointing fingers elsewhere.
What this is really about is just pure and simple hate, jealousy, and envy of a rival network and to hell with the consequences of what they’re advocating.