How the Fox News presidency has politicized a national health crisis

President Donald Trump said he wants the nation "opened up and just raring to go by Easter." Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci gives his take at the coronavirus task force briefing.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 11:11 AM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 11:11 AM

The Fox News presidency has taken a dangerous turn.

As the coronavirus crisis deepens all across the United States, the Trump administration is favoring Fox and turning down almost all other networks' interview requests. It's the politicization of a pandemic.

The result: Key administration officials are not being subjected to much-needed scrutiny. And doctors are being drawn into a petty political game.

Fox, the television home of the Trump administration, has been stocked with Trump aides and officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who appeared on "The Ingraham Angle" Tuesday night and said President Trump's insistence on a return to normalcy "by Easter" is just an "aspirational goal."

By showing up on Fox and shunning other networks, top officials may be trying to get through to Trump -- or doing what they perceive he wants.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham appeared on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning and criticized the press. She said some unnamed "members of the media are using a really important time in our country to try and divide people on the task force." Grisham is a regular on Fox, but almost never agrees to interviews on broadcast networks, which draw more viewers."

Clashes within the White House's communications team have exacerbated the problems.

"There are some people on the task force who actually want to do TV but can't get any straight answers from the White House or the Vice President's communications shop, so interviews are falling through the cracks left and right," a television producer with knowledge of the matter said. The coronavirus task force was formed in late January as a response team to the outbreak in the US and it is composed of White House officials and doctors, including Dr. Fauci, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Dr. Deborah Birx.

Dr. Fauci has appeared on CNN's weekly global coronavirus town hall for the past three weeks, but the administration has declined to make him available for this week's town hall, according to a CNN representative.

No government officials appeared on Wednesday's TV morning newscasts, either. But Surgeon General Adams made time for Sean Hannity's talk show on Tuesday night. According to Hannity, he will be interviewing Trump later this week.

These are all signs of a shoring-up-the-base strategy by the White House -- which is incongruent while the entire country is fighting a virus that has no political party.

Fox programs have soft-pedaled the government's shortcomings and promoted an imminent rollback of social distancing restrictions. Public health experts say such a change could be catastrophic because it would cause a surge in new coronavirus infections.

But Trump was barely challenged on that point when Fox anchors interviewed him on Tuesday.

The interview was billed as a "virtual town hall" live from the Rose Garden. It took place in the early afternoon, typically one of the lowest-rated times of day on Fox News, instead of prime time. (Ratings have been elevated across the board due to the national emergency.)

"I doubt this would ever happen, but Trump should hold a town hall with another network in the very near future," Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones wrote Wednesday.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58904

Reported Deaths: 2970
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10587431
Cuyahoga8048379
Hamilton6158204
Lucas2788303
Marion273439
Pickaway220141
Summit2175207
Montgomery213431
Mahoning1849238
Butler163747
Columbiana130660
Stark1133113
Lorain105167
Trumbull97473
Warren88124
Clark7729
Delaware58815
Fairfield58516
Tuscarawas56810
Belmont55422
Medina53632
Lake50819
Licking49612
Miami47231
Portage44959
Ashtabula43644
Wood43651
Clermont4226
Geauga40843
Wayne36352
Richland3475
Allen32341
Mercer2879
Greene2769
Darke25326
Erie24622
Holmes2393
Huron2232
Madison1999
Ottawa15024
Sandusky13714
Crawford1365
Washington13520
Ross1303
Putnam12915
Coshocton1272
Hardin12312
Morrow1171
Auglaize1074
Jefferson912
Monroe8917
Union891
Muskingum861
Hancock791
Hocking788
Preble781
Guernsey743
Lawrence720
Williams722
Shelby694
Clinton680
Logan641
Athens631
Fulton620
Ashland601
Carroll593
Wyandot595
Brown581
Knox521
Defiance513
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto450
Champaign411
Van Wert380
Perry351
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding260
Adams241
Jackson240
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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