Fox News Can’t Decide if Coronavirus Is a Real Threat or an Impeachment Scam

The chaotic coverage laid bare a mounting, self-created dilemma among conservatives.

Jim Loscalzo/ZUMA

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The fierce condemnation that President Donald Trump has drawn for his coronavirus response—a response that’s been filled with misinformation and relentless attacks on the media and Democrats—is “yet another attempt to impeach” him, Fox Business’ Trish Regan told viewers on Monday. 

“This is a time to be united, not to be pointing fingers, not to be encouraging hate—and yet what do we see? We see the absolute opposite on the left,” she said. “The hate is boiling over, many in the liberal media using coronavirus in an attempt to demonize and destroy the president.”

Regan then cut to a montage of Democrats and members of the media criticizing Trump’s coronavirus actions. She was the latest Fox News personality to trumpet what’s become the governing conspiracy theory for Trump and his conservative allies—even as the president himself pushes a daily stream of misinformation, false statistics, and dangerous public health tips that run counter to his own administration’s advice.

But not everyone at Trump’s favorite news network is falling in line. Over on Fox News on Monday, Tucker Carlson pushed back on efforts to minimize the scale of the virus—he described the epidemic as “a very serious problem.” 

 “It’s definitely not just the flu,” he added, a thinly-veiled criticism of Trump’s repeated assertions that the coronavirus and the flu pose similar threats. (Carlson, who has a long record of xenophobia, did refer to the disease as the “Chinese coronavirus,” ignoring experts’ strong warnings against using such terms.)

The conflicting views on Monday laid bare a mounting predicament for some conservatives: They find themselves faced with the choice of echoing the same shameful attacks and misinformation embraced by the president or stating facts backed by public health officials. It’ll be interesting to see how that existential dilemma, as well as the mockery the coronavirus has inspired in some Republican lawmakers, evolves as Trump continues to face an enemy he can’t merely tweet out of existence.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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