Fox shouldn’t stop at banishing Trish Regan: What about the others?

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BALTIMORE — Now that 49 states have been hit by the coronavirus, and the number of U.S. infections tops 2,700, and everything from ballgames to Broadway shows to religious services have been shuttered, the deep thinkers at Fox news have decided maybe it’s time to make a small gesture toward actual journalism.

They took Fox Business anchor Trish Regan off the air.

She’s the one who dismissed the coronavirus as merely “another attempt to impeach the president” and “to demonize and destroy the president,” and accused the Democratic Party of creating “mass hysteria to encourage a market sell-off.”

This fascinating analysis unleashed such a barrage of criticism from wiser heads around the nation, and such embarrassment within Fox’s corporate headquarters, that Regan suddenly disappeared from sight.

Fox Business said she’s “on hiatus until further notice” from her 8 o’clock nightly program, “Trish Regan Primetime.” A network statement called the move a reaction to “the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage.”

Others might call her removal a tiny first step toward sanity.

As everybody knows, the deep political divisions in America are precisely mirrored in our modern media coverage. Everybody’s taking sides. But it’s one thing to spin the latest stock market reports, or the latest campaign numbers, and another to nakedly politicize matters of sheer life and death.

And it’s one thing to get a story consistently wrong – and another, to get it wrong specifically to defend this president, even when Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about.

Political analysts are fully entitled to their opinions – but not when the opinions are premised on patently false information.

Regan’s only a sliver of the dangerous messaging that’s been belched out of right-wing media – Fox is not alone – as they slowly face the reality of this worldwide pandemic.

How about Rush Limbaugh, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? First, he told his radio audience that the virus “is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump.” Then he said the coronavirus was really just the “common cold.”

Then there’s Fox’s Laura Ingraham dismissing fears of a pandemic as “a new pathway for hitting President Trump” and an opening for some media “to smear the administration in a number of ways.”

Peter Hegseth, a co-host of Fox & Friends Weekends, said Democrats were “rooting for the coronavirus to spread. They’re rooting for it to grow. They’re rooting for the problem to get worse.”

Fox’s Sean Hannity, who virtually lives in Trump’s back pocket, first mocked “the media’s” response to the coronavirus. “Tonight,” he said, “I can absolutely report the sky is falling. We are all doomed. The end is near. The apocalypse is imminent, and you are going to all die. All of you, in the next 48 hours, and it’s all President Trump’s fault.”

Then, just in case anyone missed Hannity’s little attempt at humor, he tried labeling the virus as a desperate ploy of Democrats, who failed to impeach the president and were now “scaring people unnecessarily” and “sadly politicizing and weaponizing an infectious disease as their next effort to bludgeon President Trump.”

One night Hannity brought the president’s most combative son, Donald Trump Jr., on his program. Junior brought an interesting sense of perspective, unchallenged, of course, by Hannity.

The Democrats, said Donald Junior, “seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so they can end Donald Trump’s streak of winning.”

Oh, please.

Here’s the problem. As Alex Shephard wrote last week in The New Republic, such misguided rants are “a potentially deadly narrative. The right has convinced its audience that the numerous scandals and crises of the Trump era are really nothingburgers, and that the president’s enemies will stop at nothing to cost him the second term that he deserves. They’ll even create a pandemic and cause a depression!”

So, for the moment, the bosses at Fox have heard enough from Trish Regan to embarrass them into at least temporary banishment. What about all those other voices? Don’t these bosses pay attention to their own broadcasts?

One thought on “Fox shouldn’t stop at banishing Trish Regan: What about the others?

  • March 29, 2020 at 10:45 AM
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    she has since been canned/left fox altogether. bye!!!

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