Radio, Television And Fake News

When Trump announced his ban on travel to most–but not all–European countries, commentators generally panned the move as irrelevant to containment of the virus, which is already spreading in the U.S. Whether Trump’s loyal cult will understand the uselessness of that move–or grasp the degree of incompetence being demonstrated in the face of the coronavirus pandemic–is unknown, but I’d guess it’s improbable.

What the cult won’t even see or hear about are aspects of the travel ban that certainly don’t surprise the rest of us. According to Politico

President Donald Trump’s new European travel restrictions have a convenient side effect: They exempt nations where three Trump-owned golf resorts are located.

Because of course they did.

This is what happens when stupid meets corrupt. As the article notes, residents of the exempted countries are free to live and work in the United Kingdom, meaning they could fly to the United States from a British airport as long as they hadn’t spent time in their countries of origin within the last 14 days. And as leaders of the EU have emphasized, pandemics are global crises. They aren’t limited to any continent and they require cooperation rather than unilateral action.

Meanwhile, His Idiocy has expressed an intent to continue the Hitler-like rallies where he feeds off the resentments and bigotries of the crowd. Until just the last few days, right-wing commentators had joined him in downplaying the risks and dangers of the coronavirus–which brings me to a recent paper by Yochai Benkler, a Harvard professor and co-author of Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics.

Benkler and his colleagues reviewed four million political news stories over the course of three years. They found that “the right wing media ecosystem is distinct and insular from the rest of the media ecosystem,” which hardly comes as a shock to most of us. But they also discounted the influence of the Internet, concluding (as many commenters to this blog have concluded) that radio and television are far more culpable in conveying misinformation.

“A critical implication of our findings is that it is highly unlikely that technology played a central role in causing this asymmetric media ecosystem,” he explained. “If anything, Democrats tend to be younger, and younger people tend to use online and social media more than older people. [Two separate studies found] that sharing of ‘fake news’ was highly concentrated in a tiny portion of the population, was largely done by conservatives, and interacted with age–primarily driven by people over 65. In other words, the problem of online dissemination seems to be driven by older conservatives–precisely the demographic of Fox News.”

And yet while there is plenty of sharing of fake news and other forms of deceptive propaganda online, Benkler explained, these stories only really “explode” once they appear on Fox News. If they remain solely online, the spread is limited.

Benkler attributed the phenomenon to Rush Limbaugh, whose radio show, starting in 1988, demonstrated that conservative “outrage-bait and propaganda” could generate huge profits.

By attacking the groups who sought to change society — feminists, civil rights activists — Limbaugh captivated white Christian men and tapped into their identities.

“The whole business model was not about informing, but creating a sense of shared identity,” he explained.

Despite right-wing efforts to paint false equivalencies, Fox has no leftwing counterparts–Democratic diversity defeats similar propaganda efforts on the left.

Benkler has a somewhat surprising antidote to the rightwing echo chamber.

The most recent Pew survey of news sources used and trusted by Democrats and Republicans suggests that, surprisingly, the most used and trusted sources by both centrist lean republicans and lean democrats are CBS, ABC, and NBC. It becomes critical that these outlets be particularly attentive to how they cover the news, what sort of frame they offer for propagandist pronouncement by the president, and so forth. The hard core of the Republican base who spend their days purely in Limbaugh-Hannity land are lost. But they are only enough to win a Republican primary, not repeated elections. And so the critical pathway to a more reasoned public discourse is for these core mainstream media, trusted by a substantial minority of lean-republican voters, to be ever more vigilant not to spread disinformation, not to stoke the fires, and to understand that professionalism and truth seeking do not mean neutrality when you are reporting in a highly asymmetric media ecosystem like ours. (emphasis mine)

When the pandemic is finally over, I wonder if anyone will compare coronavirus infection rates in the Trump cult to those in the fact-based population?

 

35 thoughts on “Radio, Television And Fake News

  1. Republicans denied, deflected, and ignored the early warnings. They wasted precious time when early action could have helped alleviate this crisis. Am I talking about COVID-19 or climate change?

  2. Thank you Prof K for this one. In a conversation with an old friend yesterday, we wondered WHAT it would take for American Business to STOP FUNDING the right wing disinformation machine — Rush, Fox etc. Perhaps THIS could be the big issue for the one time candidates Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg to work on. These advertisers are THEIR people. They KNOW the high rollers that fund this disinformation machine. Tom? Mike? Can you fit this into your schedule? I sure hope so. It is very important for our nation.

  3. So what happened to those thousands who flew back here from foreign countries by midnight Friday who were trapped, crowded shoulder-to-shoulder in the specified airports across this country? The last I heard they were waiting to be screened to escape the crowded conditions even this country is banning.

    Fox59 local news in Indianapolis reported this morning that 159 people in the entire state of Indiana have been tested for coronavirus. Two of our diagnosed victims have died. Our former governor is administrator of all coronavirus issues and he can’t get this state the needed tests! I’m not asking for special treatment but testing 159 people in any entire state is a major, life-and-death problem during this Covid-19 Pandemic.

    Will radio and television address that fact in time to save lives in Indiana?

  4. The distinction between TV and radio, and the Internet is understandable, because TV and radio require nothing of the viewer/listener but passive attention. Much of what is on the Internet requires the ability to read.

  5. Regarding, “I wonder if anyone will compare coronavirus infection rates in the Trump cult to those in the fact-based population?”

    Country-to-country coronavirus infection comparison is enabled thru 17-year-old Avi Schiffman’s coronavirus data site. Site has existed since December 2019:

    http://Ncov2019.live

    If site data correlate with what we have read, they will show China and Singapore new coronavirus cases falling, and Italy and Spain new coronavirus cases rising, probably at an exponential rate.

  6. One of the best pieces I have ever seen on the media was on “Full Frontal”. Norm Ornstein was the focal point of the piece and he’s always worth reading or listening to, if you get the chance. The essential point was that false balance distorts reality. You can Google the show and find the interview.

  7. Several thoughts as usual: the key as suggested is impressing corporate sponsors of Limbaugh, et al, that spending big bucks with conservative media is counterproductive. The financial umbilical cord must be cut. The radio liberal Air America Network debuted in 2004 and was Rachel Maddow’s big introduction. Not enough stations carried and not enough sponsors. It filed bankruptcy in early 2010. 2: National Fox News shouldn’t be conflated with local Fox News. Indianapoilis’ Fox 59 does a great job of covering local news and politics. Finally, this academic study should be sent to all TV network reporters and producers as a big thank you.

  8. The following article from NPR may be of interest in regards to the polarization vis a vis the pandemic and its likely consequences.
    https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816501871/poll-as-coronavirus-spreads-fewer-americans-see-pandemic-as-a-real-threat
    This crisis, too, shows the difference in political viewpoints. It is disturbing to note that the bigger concern among Republican respondents seems to be the economy, not the people. It defies logic. Maybe it is the likely response among the most privileged and younger that they are somehow the exception.

  9. Pascal de Caprariis,

    You perfectly pointed out the laziness of the right wing Fox/Limbaugh devotees.

  10. Living in a very rural area means that your sources for watching tv consist of two choices- a satellite package that offers only Fox news with no local news or a tv antenna tower that provides access to both local and national news from NBC, ABC, and CBS. While the constant advertiser interruptions during the news is very annoying, the commentators only report actual facts. There is no personal spin on it at all.

    Of course I have access to other ‘news’ sources via the internet, but for factual news I limit my sources to The Guardian and Reuters. I’ve checked out CNN and MSNBC in the past and saw too much of what I consider to be propaganda, even though their propaganda is mostly left wing that might provide me with bias confirmation. I want to know only the facts and then form my own opinion.

  11. This was the essence of the travel ban: “President Donald Trump’s new European travel restrictions have a convenient side effect: They exempt nations where three Trump-owned golf resorts are located.” OF COURSE!! This is what grifters do. The Trump crime family is all about making a fortune off of their exploitation and power grab. They give not a single shit about governing or the well-being of the American people.

    I hope the MS media keeps hammering these points. Limbaugh is as much a compromised whore of his own audience of loonies as is Hannity. There is no retrieving them either. Their propaganda is revolting, un-American and anti-Constitution. They are the people screaming “fire” in a crowded theater: Abuse of the First Amendment in this way is illegal. Hopefully, some day, they too will have to pay for their transgressions.

  12. I forgot to mention that satellite tv also includes CNN and MSNBC and possibly other right or left leaning so called news sources.

  13. Stuff that you can’t find on Fox!

    Ibuprofen exacerbates the coronavirus!

    https://www.sciencealert.com/who-recommends-to-avoid-taking-ibuprofen-for-covid-19-symptoms?fbclid=IwAR3XLnJul2AvAUD9QuoZj2puudLgSC4C-1QznbdYqHWT3-IdfUnPSe_3VwM

    The French health minister cited a study in the Lancet medical journal that claimed an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen covid 19. WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said in a conference in Geneva the UN health agencies experts were looking into this for further guidance. They recommend that for pain and inflammation or fever use Paracetamol! Also, there is a bacterial element to this virus, once the virus dies, your body will continue to produce antibodies, but the bacterial element lives on and causes secondary infections. Those are killing people on a larger scale than just the virus. Doctors at some of the Chicago hospitals here are providing strong antibiotics with the hope of killing the bacterial element inside of the virus thereby weakening the virus and allowing it to be destroyed by your immune system since there is no vaccine yet. And there probably will not be a vaccine for about a year.

    My wife’s cousin who is a doctor of nursing is in the hospital in critical condition, she works and teaches at UT in Tennessee, my wife also went to get tested because she is severely ill, and this is part of the conversation I’ve been having with some of the family down south.

    John Sorg
    CJ, they’re not letting the kids in the hospitals here, even adults, they’re only letting one adult to visit at a time. They have guards posted at the doors. Robin went in sick, and the news crews were outside the hospital, and they had police and security guards everywhere. people were trying to get in to visit family, and they were sending them away. In the next couple of weeks, there’s going to be a whole lot of folks dying from this. They have mash units, military tents set up for testing. The national guard has been activated by governor pritzker.

    Unfortunately, the stupidity reigns supreme! People still cannot grasp that this is serious, that your life depends on listening to the superior authorities, and just because you willingly or ignorantly spread disinformation, that is not going to make you immune somehow. Personally, I would rather die staying true to the truth and enlightenment rather than ignorance and tribalism!

  14. I have found this very disturbing also, while heading to the hospital, all of the restaurants are closed, theaters are close, laundromats are closed, buyers are closed, people are told to stay home, hunker down! So what are they all doing? Social distancing? LOL, not for the wealthy on the North Shore! They’re all hanging out in the park on play dates, standing on the corners having intense conversations, about what,? Who knows! People do not listen, somehow they feel the rules don’t apply to them or that they will not become ill. The stupidity really spans the least advantaged to the most advantaged. Unfortunately, this epidemic is going to kill a lot of those who we all depend on. All of those on the front line! They are not talking about a lot of new infections in China, because people who were infected, those who are already listed as being infected, are getting sick again.

    Dr. Zeke Emmanuel had this to say yesterday!

    “Many people desperately hope that warmer, more humid weather will decrease the transmission of this coronavirus. But the reality is that influenza and most cold viruses wane in the summer in part because so many people catch them in the winter. Humans have never been infected with this coronavirus before, so there is no acquired immunity. At this point we have woefully little evidence to suggest a seasonal reprieve.

    We assume that people who are infected and then recover, whether they develop symptoms or not, will most likely become immune and will not transmit the virus in the future. (Though it is possible, as with other types of coronavirus, that mild infections might not provide full immunity in the short term or lifelong immunity.)

    The irony of successful social distancing is that fewer will develop immunity. That means that social distancing 2.0, 3.0 and, who knows, maybe even 4.0 will very likely have to occur.

    The next round of social distancing will be activated more rapidly, because officials — and the public — will be more prepared. It should also be shorter, because we can assume that most of the people who were initially infected are likely to be immune next time around. But it will still disrupt people’s lives and the economy. We will still have canceled conferences and sporting events. People will not frequent restaurants and will not travel. The service industry will be severely curtailed. And it’s going to happen again and again.

    Maybe the best analogy is pumping a car’s brakes on an icy road. Either doing nothing or slamming on the brakes leads to an accident. So we pump the brakes — pushing on the brakes, then easing up, and then applying them again — and after three or four times we slow down enough to stop.

    When will the coronavirus be tamed like influenza, if not conquered like smallpox? A vaccine would need to be administered to an estimated 45 percent to 70 percent of the population — at least 145 million people — to stop the spread of the virus. If we are lucky, and an effective vaccine is quickly developed, this could happen by the fall of 2021.

    It might even be sooner if researchers can come up with an effective treatment that, in addition to preventing deaths, reduces the infectiousness of each case. One antiviral drug, remdesivir, has shown promise in treating monkeys infected with a similar coronavirus, and is being studied in humans. Trials of other drugs will begin soon. Again, if we are lucky, these trials may identify one or more effective treatments in four to five months.

    The alternative to this roller coaster would be even more drastic. It would require sustaining social distancing until there are no more cases whatsoever and then closing borders to all travelers — no contact with the outside world — for 18 months or more. While the United States and many other countries, like Denmark and Germany, have instituted travel bans, sealing the country off for over a year until a coronavirus vaccine is discovered seems implausible. But who knows. If the situation becomes dire enough, the previously impossible could become inevitable.

    On a positive note, each time the virus resurges after social distancing is relaxed, it will do so more slowly. But the flattened curve we are all hoping for — the one that is so critical to our health care infrastructure — will not actually be flat. It is more likely to be a series of ascents and descents, with dampened oscillations. So all of us — health care workers, policymakers and American citizens — need to get ready for a bumpy ride.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/opinion/coronavirus-social-distancing-effect.html

  15. “This time is different.” People always say that as markets spiral, but time usually proves them wrong. Boom and bust, expansion and debt, exuberance and collapse — perspective shows that these are common patterns, as constant as human nature.

    “We’ve seen it over the centuries,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard economist who actually wrote the book on this — he’s a co-author of “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.” And yet Professor Rogoff told me this week that, in some ways, the crisis of 2020 might really be unique.

    “I’m not a virologist,” he said. “This is something different, and you need scientific expertise that I don’t have to really assess what’s going on.”

    I am afraid that we may be barely grasping the transformative nature of the global calamity that is the novel coronavirus. It helps, a little, to think in meteorological terms. View it as a major hurricane — one that still appears to be gathering force.

    It is impossible, at this early stage, to adequately quantify the economic effects of so much illness — and of the mass quarantines, lockdowns and voluntary “social distancing” in so many communities, companies and countries. Whether this event really turns out to be a storm from which the economy rebounds, or a cataclysm that wreaks far more consequential changes, cannot be easily answered.

    The epidemic’s outcome in the United States may hinge on whether the country can muster a spirit of public generosity and a trust in government transparency, neither of which has been conspicuously present.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/business/strategies-coronavirus-pandemic-different.html?action=click&algo=als1_desk_filter&auth=login-facebook&fellback=false&imp_id=214066253&imp_id=328529321&module=editorsPicks&pgtype=Article&region=Footer

  16. Another useful study would be the correlation between those downplaying the virus outbreak and those who hoarded food and toilet paper.

    Call it a hunch, but I would bet the self-centered Trumpeters were also those who went hoarding necessities, so the elderly and others go without. And shame on the grocery stores for not having simple rationing in place from day one.

    If time is our most valuable resource, I won’t spend my limited resources watching any news owned by our massive corporate conglomerates.

    I also marvel at the presentation of corporate and individual bailouts as “socialism.” It would be interesting to see a study on this keyword being used on all the various media sources. Who’s using it, and in what reference?

    Trump is being applauded for wanting to send $1,000 to each taxpaying citizen to help those suffering because of this pandemic. Unless it’s a steady monthly UBI payment of at least twice that amount, it won’t help much.

    Also, what about suspending student loans, rent, utility, and loan payments, etc.

    If the bank’s cost of money is ZERO, why aren’t they lowering credit rates to the low single digits like 4-5%?

    I don’t expect our capitalist-owned media to hold capitalism accountable for its defects or to offer the people alternatives to an economic system that exploits the working class. The use of the word “socialism” was used by many “news anchors” to scare people away from Bernie Sander’s proposal of Democratic Socialism, where a monthly UBI was already being considered.

    This is truly an amazing time to be alive and bear witness to all the misinformation and propaganda to keep the people voting against their self-interests.

  17. Perhaps this is a cruel way to present our situation but the fact is that people who fall for people like Rush are not the cream of the crop. In fact being knowledge compromised is the reason that people fall for his product. Therefore, the net effect of his business is to organize and enable ignorance of which he is a shining example. He made his money by telling his people that they are not ignorant in fact they are extra informed as long as they listen to him.

    Voilà.

  18. “to understand that professionalism and truth seeking do not mean neutrality…” I have to disagree. In professional journalism, neutrality is essential in order to build and maintain credibility. Neutrality — objectivity — is what reporting is all about.

  19. Nuance is missing in judging right and left. In Hannity/ Rush World there are two sides: the poor maligned and suffering ordinary Americans versus the cruel elitists. I disagree with this classification, but assuming for the sake of argument that it is accurate, is there really a “right,” or is that merely a cover for the rich and corporate class to keep the left and their pitchforks at bay while attempting to gather all the assets available for the taking (via campaign contributions etc.) while the H/R World abuses its First Amendment rights? Where is John Locke when you need him?

  20. One thing I have observed in person and on Face Book is the consistent denial of the severity of Corona by Republicans and Trumpter’s really one in the same at this point, i.e., if you are a Republican you are a Trumpter.

    Every comment by The Trumpet, no matter how bizarre, how totally lacking in fact is taken as Gospel Truth.

    The early spin was Corona was just part three of the effort to take the Trumpet down, the first two the Mueller Report and the Second, the Impeachment Hearings. All subsequent denials of incompetence by the Trumpet and his gang of stooges led by Pastor Pence are viewed through the lens of – Get Trump no matter what.

    Corona is looked at as a political weapon by the GOP-Trumpter’s. True to his character of extreme narcissism and his self aggrandizement; the Corona Crisis is everyone else’s fault.

    No president could have kept Corona out of the USA. The Trumpet’s downplaying and dismissal of Corona is on him. It is shocking, to see how ill prepared as a nation we are for this type of emergency. You would have thought there would have been some contingency plan that would have outlined the steps to take.

    As I said a day or so ago here the Defense Department recognized back in WW 2 and especially the Cold War the use of chemical or biological weapons by a potential enemy.

  21. Just in addition to what I wrote about above:

    Trump sees the coronavirus as a threat to his self-interest – not to people.

    Trump’s response goes beyond incompetence – it’s a political abomination. However uncoordinated his administration’s moves have been, Trump has made it clear he sees this pandemic chiefly as a threat to the market and wealthy people’s personal interests (and relatedly, his own political future) – not to the people whose lives it will threaten or claim.

    In that same vein, the president has baselessly boosted the stock market while providing deceptive public health reassurances. “The Coronavirus,” he tweeted on 24 February, “is very much under control in the USA … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

    Sooner or later, however, Trump will realize that he cannot bullshit his way past biology. Viruses are immune to propaganda; Covid-19 will advance regardless of Trump’s avarice. From his push to grind up Medicaid to fund tax cuts for the rich in 2017, to his bungling stock-market-obsessed response to Covid-19 in 2020, Trump and company have elevated self-interest above life.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/17/trump-sees-the-coronavirus-as-a-threat-to-his-self-interest-not-to-people
    =====================================
    One thing I disagree with is The Trumpet realizing, “he cannot bullshit his way past biology”. He has no mental capacity for this. B.S. has worked his whole life, it is what he is a walking, talking, stinking B.S. Machine.

  22. In this morning’s Denver Post a Republican, the Chief of Staff to the GOP caucus in the state house told reporters that social distancing and the closing of bars and restaurants was socialistic. Really. I’m not making that up.

    I went to the supermarket at 7:04 this morning, four minutes after opening to find the store packed with people and the shelves mostly un-packed of things like fresh meat, lunch meat, broccoli, oatmeal, pasta, most, but not all paper products (The store was in fact rationing TP), and, most curiously, cat litter. I went to three other stores and finally found oatmeal and cat litter in one of them. Clearly, people have gone berserk. It looked like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the stores. The shoppers/hoarders had that thousand-yard stare you used to see at the slot machines in casinos.

    As one of my favorite scientists and authors, Rebecca Costa, suggests: Humans have evolved much more quickly socially than biologically. Hoarding behavior was evident 220,000 years ago in caves. Today, we call that a pantry. Look, I’m not one of the COVID-19 deniers like many Republicans. But people needn’t be so irrational about hoarding. CAT LITTER! Who eats that stuff?

  23. I heard on NPR today that the proposed bailout for the airlines and other travel related businesses also include hotels. I wonder how hotels wound up in that group?

  24. What’s changed in DC: the deep state has been recruited after 3 years of being blamed and ignored to get us out of a crises that is completely beyond the capability of politicians to understand. Those who have the knowledge to solve complex problems have always known that the role of the politicians is to blame and brag rather than learn.

  25. Monotonous – “B.S. has worked his whole life, it is what he is, a walking, talking, stinking B.S. Machine.” That pretty much sums it up.

  26. John,
    “One antiviral drug, remdesivir, has shown promise in treating monkeys infected with a similar coronavirus, and is being studied in humans. Trials of other drugs will begin soon. Again, if we are lucky, these trials may identify one or more effective treatments in four to five months.”

    I see where on 9 October 2015 — 4.5 years ago — the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) announced encouraging pre-clinical results that the GS-5734 compound had blocked the Ebola virus in Rhesus monkeys. Since then, the new drug has shown promising results against a handful of other catastrophic-strength viruses and is being tested in China.

    The bad news is that a US administration that contrives to boost its questionable manhood by thwarting government financed science is quite likely to stop funding USAMRIID.

    I recommend that, until this administration is replaced, all government funded research entities, military or civilian, keep ironclad secret all hopeful findings, successes, and advances; secrecy is the only way to save government funded research.

  27. From the Washington Post:

    “With Trump’s declaration on Friday that the virus constitutes a national emergency, the tone on Fox News has quickly shifted.

    On his program on Friday, Hannity — the most watched figure on cable news — lauded the president’s handling of what the host is now, belatedly, referring to as a “crisis.”

    “Tonight, we are witnessing what will be a massive paradigm shift in the future of disease control and prevention,” he said. “A bold, new precedent is being set, the world will once again benefit greatly from America’s leadership. . . . The federal government, state governments, private businesses, top hospitals all coming together, under the president’s leadership, to stem the tide of the coronavirus.”

    In all, it has been a complicated dance for a network whose hosts are among Trump’s most ardent boosters and defenders — an increasingly challenging position to take as the crisis grew in magnitude. Trump, meanwhile, has long looked to Fox News and its personalities for guidance and approval, a dynamic that may have been pivotal this week after host Tucker Carlson reportedly visited with the president in person to urge him to take the coronavirus seriously.

    President Trump held a news conference on the coronavirus on March 13 in the Rose Garden, declaring a national emergency.

    Until then, Trump’s allies on Fox News were inclined to take the same stance that the president himself promoted for several weeks — that this coronavirus that had sickened and killed thousands of people in China was no worse a threat than the seasonal flu.

    Just a week ago, Hannity shrugged at the pandemic. “So far in the United States, there’s been around 30 deaths, most of which came from one nursing home in the state of Washington,” he said last Tuesday. “Healthy people, generally, 99 percent recover very fast, even if they contract it.”

    By way of comparison, he added: “Twenty-six people were shot in Chicago alone over the weekend. I doubt you heard about it. You notice there’s no widespread hysteria about violence in Chicago. And this has gone on for years and years. By the way, Democratic-run cities, we see a lot of that.”

    [There’s a massive audience for coronavirus news right now. That might not help the news business.]

    Ingraham, whose program follows Hannity’s, also seems to have had a fast-dawning recognition that the social and economic dislocation of the virus was more than just a Democratic talking point wielded against the president.

    In late February, Ingraham called Democrats the “pandemic party” and displayed photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) alongside enlarged images of coronavirus molecules. “How sick that these people seem almost happiest when Americans are hurting,” she said.

    She kept at it through last Tuesday when, in front of a graphic reading “Trump confronts the panic pushers,” Ingraham said, “The public in some ways seems a lot more levelheaded than the so-called experts. . . . The facts are actually pretty reassuring, but you’d never know it watching all this stuff.”

    Her advice: “We need to take care of our seniors. If you’re an elderly person or have a serious underlying condition, avoid tight, closed places, a lot of people, don’t take a cruise maybe. Everyone else wash your hands, use good judgment about your daily activities. Yeah, pragmatic thinking, especially if you’ve been overseas recently in one of the hardest-hit areas.”

    In fact, health experts have repeatedly said that everyone, not just “seniors” or the chronically ill, should avoid contact with other people, a strategy known as “social distancing.” Their advice extends to people everywhere, not just those who recently traveled abroad. (On Friday, Ingraham tweeted that it was a “great time to fly if not in at-risk population!” The tweet was later deleted.)

    [From February: Conservative pundits blame a grab bag of supposed villains amid the coronavirus outbreak]

    By Wednesday, after Trump announced a travel ban on people from the European Union, Ingraham had started calling the pandemic “this dangerous health crisis.” She characterized warnings issued by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Anthony S. Fauci about the potential spread of the disease as “sobering and scary to hear.”

    Regan’s on-air speculation at the start of last week that coronavirus was merely another impeachment gambit for Democrats drew widespread pushback. Clearly the mood was changing at Fox by the time the network announced late Friday that her discussion-and-commentary program on Fox Business would leave the air indefinitely, to be replaced by newscasts. Fox insiders said Regan is unlikely to return.”

    Fox insiders said that Regan’s removal from air showed that only some hosts — those with the biggest ratings — are protected at Fox News. “If you put Trish’s comments up against Laura [Ingraham’s], you can’t honestly tell me that Trish is off the air” because of her coronavirus commentary, said a former Fox News executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about his past employer.

    First you have Trump saying there are 15 cases, all of them are getting better, and soon we’d have 0 cases. Next, he called COVID-19 a “hoax”. Then he lied by claiming that anyone who wants a test can get test, and that we’d have a vaccine “very soon”, all of which are lies. He is aided and abetted by Fox News. Ingraham says: “the facts are pretty reassuring”, also a lie. I don’t feel reassured–do you? Of course, Hannity couldn’t agree that there is a pandemic without throwing in praise for Trump.

    The upshot of Trump’s lies and Fox News propaganda is that people haven’t been taking this crisis seriously, and therefore aren’t heeding recommendations intended to keep us all safe. I’ve seen interviews with people who actually believe that this is a Democrat hoax, that the media are hyping COVID-19 just to “get Trump”, and so they resent the inconveniences of stores and schools closing, shortages of sanitary and paper products and aren’t taking this seriously. People are getting sick and dying as a result, and Trump and Fox bear some of the blame. Then, there’s Trump’s absolute incompetence in handling this crisis.

  28. Larry, thanks for that! I’m going to be reading up on that this evening. It’s a shame there’s such a vacuous component to leadership around the world, the ineptitude really is astounding. It doesn’t take rocket science to be a good leader, but it does take morals and ethics and a desire to be compassionate for those under your purview. When people have to tell you how smart they are, they are really really stupid. Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are like the Corsican twins, LOL.

    Natasha, very interesting comment, and I read it all, and I agree with it all, bingo!

  29. Trump’s frequent coronavirus press conferences are glorified campaign rallies; he always includes self-praise about his wonderfulness and takes credit for aids which have been in effect for years while using lies to blame regulations he ended as being the cause for conditions at this time. He is further strengthening his supporter’s faith in him; only a week ago coronovirus was a Democratic hoax and when he couldn’t deny the increasing cases he said he had the situation “tightly contained” and it would all go away soon. We need to keep reminding the public of the facts; there are those anti-Trumpers who can be bought with that $1,000 as soon as it is in their hot little hands.

  30. Absolutely JoAnn,

    It’s amazing what 30 pieces of silver can accomplish, LOL! Weather the IRS issues checks or not, isn’t going to be a big deal, that money goes quick. I don’t think one should sell themselves out for that, or anything for that matter. My property taxes are almost $10,000 a year, so that money would just go in the drawer until it’s time to pay, then I’ll just send it right back to them.

    Larry, I read that article about the Sars’ Cov2, and the Ebola. Really fascinating. I’m wondering about this CoVid 19 and the bacterial element inside of the virus. I think that’s why some people are saying that it could be genetically engineered to kill from secondary infections. Not that the virus infects people but the bacteria inside the virus will infect secondarily after the demise of the virus. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the long run. The Chinese claim that the United States brought it over there late last year during some sort of military exchange. And with Trump throwing it back on the Chinese, makes me think that maybe there’s something to what the Chinese are actually saying about this. I guess no one will know until this thing is completely dissected and genetically mapped. Maybe there’s a tell in there somewhere.

  31. Late to the conversation, but I want to share with this group an interesting and enraging interview with Tucker Carlson. Joe Hagan, the Vanity Fair interviewer, let him off too easily, but I guess he felt that TC would essentially damn himself with what he said — and IMO, he did. As one of my friends commented, TC’s head is so big, it is a mystery how he gets it so far up his @$$. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/03/tucker-carlson-on-how-he-brought-coronavirus-message-to-mar-a-lago

  32. M.L. “if you are a Republican you are a Trumpter.”

    That is so incredibly wrong. There are plenty of Republicans out there who don’t support Donald Trump one bit. There are a lot of intellectual conservative types who never for one second bought Trump’s BS. Don’t lump us all together.

  33. Paul K Ogden; but they are supporting his administration and McConnell’s lack of action on hundreds of judicial appointments and bills submitted by Democrats. Senate hearings are REQUIRED by the Constitution; that does not mean approval and enacting, it means hearings are required. Neither of them are upholding the Oath of Office they took to uphold the Constitution and neither are all of the Republicans supporting them.

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