Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media has been at odds with Fox News since it has overtaken its competitors in television ratings. After the right-leaning cable news network shifted its tone on the coronavirus over the past week, its competitors ranging from CNN to Vox to the Washington Post criticized its rhetoric as being a danger to Americans.

CNN headlined its criticism, “How Fox News misled viewers about the coronavirus” while the Washington Post said, “On Fox News, suddenly a very different tune about the coronavirus.” Both articles noted Fox News’s shift from dismissing the coronavirus to acknowledging concern about the virus’s spread. Yet CNN had stronger language and said that Fox News was “baselessly accusing credible news organizations of overhyping the crisis to hurt Trump politically.”

The Guardian, a United Kingdom-based newspaper, wrote, “’We have a responsibility’: Fox News declares coronavirus a crisis in abrupt U-turn.” The newspaper noted Fox News hosts shifted rhetoric from the media’s reporting causing “mass hysteria” to discussing the public’s responsibility of practicing social distancing.

Vox blasted Fox News host Sean Hannity and wrote, “Hannity claims he’s ‘never called the virus a hoax’ 9 days after decrying Democrats’ ‘new hoax.’”  Vox said that “the transformation is remarkable.”

Fox News initially framed the coronavirus news coverage as a political attack on President Donald Trump. Now, with multiple states issuing shelter-in-place orders and locking down its population, Fox News changed its tune to a more measured stance.

The mainstream media was correct to call out Fox News’s initial response to the coronavirus news. Even though the media politicized parts of its coronavirus coverage, it was the right call to criticize Fox News’s changing tone on the coronavirus. The American public deserved better and fairer coverage from Fox News, and for at least a week, Fox News did not deliver on it. Now, Fox News’s shift in tone is better for Americans and recognizes the intricacies of America’s current battle with the coronavirus.

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