Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Liberal Columnist Accuses Fox News of 'Getting People Killed' During Coronavirus Frenzy

I’m pretty sure, at any given time, there’s roughly 40 percent of America willing to blame Fox News for anything.
Misinforming the American public? Sure.
Helping Russia and WikiLeaks rig the 2016 election? Of course.
Sinking the Titanic? I saw a meme on Twitter that showed Sean Hannity scoffing at mandating more lifeboats on a ship with 16 watertight compartments, so I buy that.
The disappearance of Judge Crater? Look, Rupert Murdoch is old…
Now, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, we have people claiming Fox News has literally been “getting people killed” for years.
That claim came (of course) on MSNBC during a Sunday episode of (of course) Joy Reid’s show.
“A.M. Joy” is usually anything but, and if Reid is making news it’s generally not for her show’s uplift.
This weekend was no exception, as she and Eric Boehlert, a writer for the liberal website Shareblue, were discussing a Washington Post column in which the author besought Rupert Murdoch to “save lives by forcing Fox News to tell the truth about coronavirus — right now.”
That piece accused the network of not taking the coronavirus seriously enough and of inordinately influencing the president’s policies.
I won’t go into too much depth here except to say the piece quoted heavily from a Media Matters for America senior fellow and introduced him as “the foremost chronicler of the insidious Trump-Fox News feedback loop” without mentioning the insidious left-wing bias of the organization for which that senior fellow works.
Reid, anyhow, had Boehlert on to talk about, among other things, the column and the fact that Trish Regan’s Fox Business show was put on hiatus after she said that the media’s coverage of the virus was “another attempt to impeach the president.”
While the network said it was “shifting resources” due to the COVID-19 outbreak coverage, according to MarketWatch, the fact that Regan began the controversial  segment in question with the graphic “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam” probably didn’t make the decision a difficult one.
Reid described Regan as “the lady, for those of you don’t watch Fox, with the very large blond hair who was being very serious about saying that it’s just an attack on Donald Trump, and it’s a new impeachment.”
Reid went on to say that “there is an Op-Ed in The Washington Post that says that Rupert Murdoch could actually save lives by forcing Fox News to tell the truth about the coronavirus right now. And this is just a piece of it, it says: ‘And so, so let’s acknowledge the obvious: there is no more important player in influencing Trump than Fox News. And no more powerful figure at Fox than its patriarch. Murdoch might consider, too, that with the median age of Fox viewers around 65, they’re among the most vulnerable to the virus’ threats.'”
“As a media analyst for a very long time, do you see any possibility that Fox may want to try to save its own viewers by forcing this narrative to change?” Reid asked.
“Because it’s true, if they change their narrative, it’s not true if they follow Trump or Trump follows them, but they will act together.”
Taking that article seriously was eye-rollingly bad but pretty much par for the course when it comes to Joy Reid’s show.
What came next wasn’t.
“Anyone waiting for Rupert Murdoch to do the honorable thing is going to wait a very, very long time, after someone who’s watched him for 20 years,” Boehlert said.
“Fox News has been getting people killed for years. Just look at their crusade against affordable health care, their crusade against expanding Medicaid. This is not unusual for them. It’s far more dire. I mean, I’ve been watching and documenting Fox News for 15 years.
“I mean, they are a cancer on this country,” he continued.
“There’s no question about it. So who knows what they’re going to do? Their programming is to vilify, stir hatred and paranoia. And if the pandemic is the backdrop, then they’re going to do it.”
But, of course, not like Boehlert, who’s only vilifying because he wants to save people’s lives.
This is one of the great ad hominem arguments of all time and one we’ve seen not infrequently these last few years: “Oh, you don’t agree with me? You must want people to die.”
It’s different to say that you want people to die and that you’ve actively been killing them, however.
That’s what Boehlert is accusing them of — and, by the way, he’s accusing you of the same thing if you’re a conservative, because “crusades” against Medicaid and “affordable health care” (read: nationalized health care) are essentially conservative positions.
This is a profoundly invidious argument to make at the time of a national emergency — that a set of positions kills people, that a network embodies those positions and that it’s been offing people for years.
I understand the disgust Reid and those at her network — or those who usually appear on it — feel toward Fox News.
I understand they can get away with blaming Rupert Murdoch and Fox News for whatever they want and there’ll be that 40 percent who believes it.
However, I don’t think they understand just how disgusting they sound. Maybe someone will play this back for Reid and Boehlert and they’ll understand it.
Or maybe they’ll say “Yes — and what’s the problem?”

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