The headline said, “News organizations are largely to blame for it all.”

According to a guest column in The Daily News, “it all” is the coronavirus pandemic that has infected millions and as of today has killed well over 40,000 Americans.

The same message could be heard on Fox News and from Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators. The conservative Washington Times said in an editorial on April 5 that “a partisan media has weaponized the virus as a cudgel against the president.”

In order to believe this, one would have to believe nonsense — that the disease is not as bad as everyone claims and the danger is minimal. The families of those 40,000 dead, and the tens of thousands of dead to come, probably would disagree.

But the point I want to make, is this: Believing the anti-media conspiracy theory requires a total misunderstanding of what the media is and how it functions in 2020. Unfortunately, it’s a common misunderstanding, and it’s dangerous.

If one listens to Limbaugh, the picture he draws is of a very powerful mainstream media controlled by a few elite voices, all of them lefties living in New York and Washington, except for a few clinging to the West Coast.

That has never been an accurate picture of the media in America, and over the past 20 years it has become a radically inaccurate picture.

There are about 1,200 daily newspapers left in America, more of them conservative than liberal.

As the number of newspapers has declined, there are literally millions of new media voices on the internet, liberal and conservative, both responsible and highly irresponsible.

That growing cacophony reminds me of the biblical story of Babel (Genesis, Chapter 11) in which God created language diversity to prevent people from assuming God-like powers. Babel comes from a Hebrew word meaning “confusion.”

People on the right see The New York Times as the ultimate “mainstream medium.” It’s the villain in almost every diatribe against the media.

But, truly, where does real media influence lie these days?

Fox News, staunchly rightwing in its commentary, has been the most-watched cable news outlet for the past 18 years running. Second place isn’t even close, and it isn’t even a news network. It’s ESPN.

The most listened-to voice on American radio is not a liberal elitist. It’s Limbaugh.

And none of that even touches on the biggest change in communications over the past 20 years — social media.

By 2011, according to Pew Research data, 80 percent of Americans were online and 60 percent of them got a large portion of their news from social media. Nineteen percent of the country reported getting their news from Facebook, Google or LinkedIn — nearly 60 million people.

By 2016, Pew reports that 57 percent of Americans got most of their news from TV (broadcast and cable) and 38 percent reported getting most of their news from online sources, especially social media.

Just two in 10 Americans got most of their news from those “liberal” newspapers.

The New York Times has roughly 3.5 million digital and print subscribers these days. That’s the most of any newspaper. Its editorials have, in fact, criticized President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. But does it have the power to create a pandemic that does not exist?

If you are looking for the name of the most powerful media voice in the world today, it is a name you heard yesterday and will surely hear sometime today. That name would be none other than Donald J. Trump.

He has 78 million Twitter followers. He receives more free news coverage than any politician in history. Trump is a media colossus unequalled in human history.

Whatever The New York Times might say is a sigh compared to his hurricane.

Dolph Tillotson is chairman of Southern Newspapers Inc. and a former publisher of The Daily News.

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(40) comments

Ray Taft

“Anti-media bias based on nonsense, misunderstanding,” is the common refrain from those in the biased mainstream media (MSM) who want you to believe their biased news stories are not fake.

The anti-media bias is not based on nonsense and any misunderstanding. It’s based on obvious, discernible facts. The MSM is not disseminating the news in a fair and impartial manner. They are biased and only tell you what they want you to believe.

The MSM can use anonymous sources, that may not even exist, to conjure up whatever they want to appear to be true. The MSM uses liars, willing to say anything no matter how outrageous it might be, to make something seem true. The MSM doesn’t question the veracity of those who agree with them, only of those who disagree.

Every media outlet runs stories based on their bias. They are biased. They just don’t want you to think that they are. That’s why many people don’t trust the MSM anymore.

And that’s why President Trump communicates directly to the American people, outside of the filter of the biased MSM, that hates him and everyone who supports him.

Carlos Ponce

CNN reported yesterday "The US is monitoring intelligence that suggests North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after undergoing a previous surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge."

Name of the US official not given, an anonymous source as usual from CNN.

Today they retracted that story. Their version of Emily Lietella said, "Never mind!".

Emile Pope


Carlos Ponce


Followed by : "It Looks Like CNN Blew the Kim Jong-un Is Dead or Dying Story…And They’re Not Alone"

Emile Pope

Garbage. A right wing blog isn’t a reputable source...

Carlos Ponce

So CNN is "A right wing blog isn’t a reputable source.."????? THAT'S REALLY STUPID, EMILE!

And they showed video of Kim Jung Un YESTERDAY. He's still ALIVE.

Mark Lardas

Actually, Tillotson is right, Anti-media bias is based on nonsense and misunderstanding. It is due to the nonsense spewed by the media, error of omission as well as commission (the fake news about the Korean dictator;s death as an error of commission and refusal to admit they were wrong as an act of omission). It is compounded by the media mavens misunderstanding that their blatant errors will not be caught by their audience and the media's credibility will suffer as a result.

Once the media cleans up the nonsense it publishes and stops misunderstanding the ability of the news consuming public to detect this nonsense - and gets their act together - anti-media bias will diminish significantly.

On the other hand, if the media and its spokesmen (like Tillotson) chooses to pretend the media is flawless, the public's confidence in the media will continue to be lower than their confidence in used-car salesmen and even Congressional Representatives.

Carlos Ponce

"the picture he draws is of a very powerful mainstream media controlled by a few elite voices, all of them lefties living in New York and Washington, except for a few clinging to the West Coast."

Sorry, Dolph, that's accurate. Take the Coronavirus Task Force news conferences. Reporters are supposed to ask questions, not grandstand taking a Leftist political stance. It's supposed to be the old "who, what, where and when" readers and viewers expect and respect, not "Your ideas suck" that we get. Save that for the editorial page, not the news cycle.

The Rush Limbaugh Show is his opinion. It's a audible editorial page. And we're supposed to respect your opinion but not his? That's ridiculous.

Dolph, I loved your editorials in the past but in this one you are rallying behind the mainstream media. And while there are some good ones, the biased ones need scrutiny. And people are changing channels an TV and radio and cancelling subscriptions to publications on many because they don't merit our patronage. You are trying to prop up a dead fish ....and it stinks.

Trudy Deen Davis

I guess I am watching/reading/and listening to different media sources than you are, Dolph. What I read here is that if citizens pay attention, listen and believe the reports being made, those reports should come from ANY sources other than Fox or Limbaugh neither of whom I rely on for logic and facts. What I take from this article is if one believes any of the messages on "Fox News and from Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators" "one would have to believe nonsense". So any one that believes those messages doesn't have the intellectual capability to make their own assessments. I just think readers should be given a little more credit. We can wade through the "nonsense" and weed out the facts and make intelligent assessments on our own.

Bailey Jones

I appreciate the effort, but it's a wasted one. You might as well be making a factual and well reasoned argument for global warming or evolution. People only believe what they want to believe, and only believe the media that delivers the message that they want to hear. That applies to everyone across all political lines - except you and me, of course, we only follow the truth. [tongue]

Carlos Ponce

"People only believe what they want to believe, and only believe the media that delivers the message that they want to hear. "

Scrutinize your source of information no matter where it comes from.

We still have some who believe Trump called the coronavirus a hoax despite sources from both sides of the aisle showing this is false. You can't fix stupid.

Ray Taft

“People only believe what they want to believe...”

To loose faith in the MSM, what you need to experience is how the media gets a story wrong that you’re familiar with. In other words, you find out first-hand how the MSM twists a story around and turns it into fake news to support their view of things.

As others have stated, the media no longer gives the public the who, what, where and when so you can decide on your own. Now they tell you what they want you to believe. And almost every article has opinion masquerading as news.

Bailey Jones

I agree with you Ray. Everyone should understand that all media comes with an agenda. I see it on the left, as well as on the right. That's why I try to enjoy a variety of points of view.

Pete Nanos

You were and are a political hack for the left. There is one cable network that has been very successful because people want the view from BOTH sides, not just from the uberleft that you reprent. Limbaugh has a successful radio show because he can articulate based on real facts . Have you ever wondered why left wing radio hosts always fail? Because when they get a caller who spews the crap you just put out, it's easy to fact check as a lie or as the truth and since the left thrives based on lies they do not want to be openly challenged. " Put it out there and see if it sticks" knowing that if you tell a lie often enough, it soon becomes the "truth". The media is rife with leftists and their ideology because of our education system Everything from movies, television, and newspapers. The fact that one radio host has carved out a niche should tell you something. There are a lot of people out here that can see the lies and want something better. It's not a free press any longer. All branches of media are operating as an arm of the DNC. Ever wonder why not one commentator on any of the cable or main stream media ever takes sides with conservatives? Where are the Brett Kavanaugh accusers now that it's Joe Biden being accused of much worse.? Nowhere to be found. Just one glaring example. How about the academy awards? Ever see just one conservative voice?It would take up pages to point out the obvious discrepancies. You need to crawl back into retirement.

Dalton Logan

Mr. Tillotson states that of newspapers in the US 'more of them conservative than liberal'. My question is why should any newspaper be either way. Just report the news and facts as they are?

From what I understand newspapers depend not only on subscriptions but advertising to stay in business. So why would a newspaper intentionally alienate 40-50% of not only their subscribers but also their advertisers. There are a lot of conservative business owners in Galveston County, maybe more so then liberal business owners. Just saying.

Bailey Jones

American newspapers have always been partisan. In the early days of our republic they were often run directly by parties - and much more partisan than MSNBC or Fox. These days they are still partisan, but now run as businesses. There is more happening than anyone can possibly know, or report, so the owner / editor picks the narrative that maximizes cash flow, and agrees with the worldview you are trying to promote.

Everything is written with a point of view - every book, every newspaper, every bible. It's the only way people can make sense of their world.

Carlos Ponce

Before there was FAKE NEWS there was yellow journalism.

Bailey Jones

Fake news is as old as the written word, Carlos.

"The princely one, the princely one came forth from the house. Enlil, the princely one, came forth from the house. The princely one came forth royally from the house. Enlil lifted his glance over all the lands, and the lands raised themselves to Enlil. The four corners of heaven became green for Enlil like a garden. Kesh was positioned there for him with head uplifted, and as Kesh lifted its head among all the lands, Enlil spoke the praises of Kesh. Nisaba was its decision-maker; with its words she wove it intricately like a net. Written on tablets it was held in her hands: House, platform of the Land, important fierce bull!" - Description of a Sumerian real estate developer and reality show star, circa 2600 BCE.

Gary Miller

Carlos> Correct again as always. As a confirmed sceptic I watch and listen to Trump when he speaks on TV. As soon as he finishes I switch to CNN or MSNBC to see what they say he said. Always they claim he said something different from what I heard. I think a Constitutional Amendment is needed to require every thing presented as NEWS should be under oath as truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Political opinion would be exempt if it was announced as political opinion. Fox, Rush and Hanity would be unchanged but NY Times and their yellow journalist followers would be much impeded. Anonomus stories would not be exempt or used without identifying sources so truth could be verified or false proven.

Bailey Jones

Gary, As a confirmed skeptic I used to watch and listen to Obama when he spoke on TV. As soon as he finished I switched to Fox to see what they said he said. Always they claimed he said something different from what I heard.

I remember once in particular when Obama gave a speech about the importance of properly funding the Peace Corps, and Glenn Beck devoted an entire week of his Fox show to a 20 second clip from the speech that he claimed proved that Obama was creating a private army to come after conservatives. I remember when Obama wiped a tear from his eye during a speech about a tragic school shooting and Fox spent hours ridiculing it as fake sincerity.

It's good to watch alternative media to see their BS and bias. But if you don't take that back with you to your own media, you're completely missing the lesson.

Victor Viser

Mr. Tillotson, you're right on the money. I might argue over beers that all for-profit media is inherently "conservative" (from a strictly hegemonic point of view), however your observations regarding the information gatekeeping associated with right-leaning broadcast media is accurate and well-said. (Yes, left-leaning media outlets do their own gatekeeping, but as you suggest, with a considerably smaller broadcast audience.) Indeed, none of the posters in the Comments section could see the objective irony of the fact that the GDN published the editorial on biased media in the first place. Furthermore, it is my observation that much what you speak of (particularly the demagogic rhetoric of opinion hosts such as Limbaugh) is mirrored in the often nasty (to borrow a phrase from the Executive Branch) bullying techniques employed by many of the recurring participants in several of the GDN Comments sections of your editorials. Much of it is designed, I suspect, to inhibit other voices from making a comment, lest they experience the embarrassing wrath of vitriolic poisoned quills (which I should think will follow my submission by these political proxies qua recurring "commentators"). Since it is a "Comments" section and not a "let me monopolize the discourse with a constant and bullying political attack with misleading and out-of-context ideological tripe on others who disagree with me" section, have you ever considered limiting submissions to only one comment per poster per article/op-ed? Let them make their singular, insightful, and thoughtful comment vis-à-vis the actual op-ed/article itself (and not the comments of other posters), and then move on. There you go, citizen participatory freedom of the press.

Bailey Jones

The comments section is where the free press still rules.

Victor Viser

No, it's not - not even in the same galaxy. The comments section has absolutely nothing to do with a free press. With regards to what I was talking about, let's not mistake personal public opinion or, even worse, the onerous political proxy paroxysm I see in many recurring posters, for professional journalism.

Bill Broussard

For what it’s worth:

Sophisticated new research links Hannity’s coronavirus misinformation to “a greater number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.”

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, media critics have warned that the decision from leading Fox News hosts to downplay the outbreak could cost lives. A new study provides statistical evidence that, in the case of Sean Hannity, that’s exactly what happened.

The paper — from economists Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher Roth, and David Yanagizawa-Drott — focused on Fox news programming in February and early March.

At the time, Hannity’s show was downplaying or ignoring the virus, while fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson was warning viewers about the disease’s risks.

Using both a poll of Fox News viewers over age 55 and publicly available data on television-watching patterns, they calculate that Fox viewers who watched Hannity rather than Carlson were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules, and that areas where more people watched Hannity relative to Carlson had higher local rates of infection and death.

“Greater exposure to Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight leads to a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths,” they write. “A one-standard deviation increase in relative viewership of Hannity relative to Carlson is associated with approximately 30 percent more COVID-19 cases on March 14, and 21 percent more COVID-19 deaths on March 28.”

This is a working paper; it hasn’t been peer reviewed or accepted for publication at a journal. However, it’s consistent with a wide body of research finding that media consumption in general, and Fox News viewership in particular, can have a pretty powerful effect on individual behavior.

Some of this research has found, for example, that TV consumption can affect decisions as intimate as whether or not to have children. It makes sense that an older American’s favorite TV host telling them they don’t need to worry about the coronavirus would cause them to ignore stay-at-home orders and care less about thoroughly washing their hands.

What’s more, the research design on this particular study seems quite rigorous, according to those scholars who have taken early looks.

“It’s a good paper; they took pains to control for many alternative explanations,” writes Zeynep Tufecki, a professor at the University of North Carolina who studies technology and research methods.

“This really looks like a causal effect of misinformation [leading] to deaths.”

How the study worked

The paper is technically quite complex, but it (more or less) breaks down into three parts.

First, the authors provide evidence that there was a difference in how Hannity and Carlson covered the coronavirus outbreak in February and early March. Second, they present data from their poll showing that Hannity viewers were less likely to follow social distancing rules than Carlson viewers. Third, they used data on television viewership and the coronavirus to show that higher rates of Hannity viewership relative to Carlson viewership were correlated with higher rates of local infection and death.

It seems pretty clear, from the first section, that Carlson took this way more seriously than Hannity. On February 25, Carlson warned that the virus could kill as many as a million Americans. On February 27, Hannity said it was less dangerous than car crashes or the common flu.

In a statement, a Fox spokesperson disputed that these examples fairly conveyed the tone of their programming.

“The selective cherry-picked clips of Sean Hannity’s coverage used in this study are not only reckless and irresponsible, but down right factually wrong,” the spokesperson said. “As this timeline proves, Hannity has covered Covid-19 since the early days of the story. The ‘study’ almost completely ignores his coverage and repeated, specific warnings and concerns from January 27-February 26 including an early interview with Dr. Fauci in January. This is a reckless disregard for the truth.”

But the authors did more than highlight a few specific examples. They also used both a data analysis of transcripts and a systematic coding of show transcripts by five paid reviewers — methods that together exposed uncovered systematic differences in how much the shows covered the coronavirus and how seriously they told their audiences to take it.

“Both anchors first discussed the coronavirus in late January when the first US case was reported, but Carlson continued to discuss the subject extensively throughout February while Hannity did not again mention it on his show until the end of the month,” they write. “While Hannity discussed the coronavirus as frequently as Carlson during early March, he downplayed its seriousness and accused Democrats of using it as a partisan tool to undermine the administration.”

These differences persist until mid-March, when Trump banned travel from Europe and declared a state of emergency. Around that time, Hannity started to sound a lot more like Carlson (though Hannity didn’t stay responsible all that long, while Carlson inveighed against social distancing in April and praised anti-distancing protestors).

Next, the researchers investigated if this difference in tone actually affected the way viewers of the two programs thought about coronavirus. To do so, they conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,045 Republicans aged 55 and up who reported watching Fox News at least once a week. They chose to study this demographic specifically because older Republicans were more likely to watch Fox and because older people in general are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

In the survey, they ask viewers which shows they watched and how much they watched them. They also asked when, if it all, they started changing their behavior in response to the outbreak — things like canceling their vacation plans, doing social distancing, and washing their hands with increased frequency.

They then ran a regression analysis to see if behavior changes correlated with any viewership patterns. It turned out that, when compared to viewers of other Fox News shows, both Hannity and Carlson fans were distinct and statistically significant outliers.

“Viewers of Hannity changed their behavior five days later than viewers of other shows,” they write. “Viewers of Tucker Carlson Tonight changed their behavior three days earlier than viewers of other shows.”

The final part of the paper uses two different regression models to show that, in fact, there is good reason to believe that Hannity viewership did increase coronavirus deaths relative to Carlson viewership.

In the first model, they compare data on the two shows’ ratings in different areas to county-level data on coronavirus infections and deaths. Specifically, they compare Hannity viewership to coronavirus rates two weeks later — the time it would take for the virus to start presenting in virtually all infected, symptomatic individuals.

After controlling for a number of confounding variables, ranging from overall television viewership rates to demographic factors like race, they find a clear relationship: Areas with greater Hannity viewership had more cases and more deaths. This relationship weakened after Hannity changes his show’s tune in mid-March, suggesting that it is in fact the programming driving the changes.

“A one standard deviation greater viewership difference is associated with approximately 2 percent more cases on March 7, 5 percent more cases on March 14, and 11 percent more cases on March 21,” they write. “Deaths follow a similar trajectory on a two-week lag.”

To be clear, this doesn’t show that Hannity viewers are necessarily the ones getting sick and dying. It could be that they’re asymptomatic carriers, simply spreading the disease to others without suffering themselves. All this regression shows is that higher Hannity viewership in a particular area is correlated with higher coronavirus infection rates and deaths in that area.

It’s possible that there’s some hidden variable they couldn’t control for driving this effect, rather than the programming itself. Maybe there’s something about people who choose to watch Hannity rather than Carlson that makes them less likely to take social distancing seriously.

That’s where the second regression model comes in. It exploits a pattern the authors identified in television viewership: It tends to be highest 2.5 hours after the sun sets, regardless of what’s on the air. This makes sense: People like to be outside or doing other stuff during daylight hours, settle in at home to watch TV for a bit after the sun sets, and then tend to go to bed within a couple of hours.

Around the country, Carlson’s show is broadcast in the hour before Hannity’s. This sets up a random experiment: In counties where the sun sets earlier, Carlson viewership will be higher (and vice-versa when the sun sets later). This isn’t because people prefer Carlson to Hannity for any particular reason, but simply because they want to watch something on Fox and Carlson’s show happens to be on.

Studying this random pattern allows them to remove the possibility that it’s something about the kind of people who watch the shows, rather than the programing itself, that’s driving the results.

In a second regression incorporating the sunset data, focusing on media markets where Fox is popular while once again controlling for confounders, the relationship holds: Places where Hannity viewership is randomly higher than Carlson viewership tend to have higher rates of infection and deaths.

“Greater exposure to Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight increased the number of total cases and deaths in the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic,” the authors conclude. “Our findings indicate that provision of misinformation in the early stages of a pandemic can have important consequences for health outcomes.”

Why the finding that Sean Hannity killed people is disturbingly plausible

It’s important to be cautious about drawing sweeping conclusions from this paper, for two broad reasons.

First, the authors caution that their findings are limited to the comparison between Hannity and Carlson. All they claim to show is that watching the former made people more likely to get sick and die than watching the latter, not any kind of more generalizable statement. They haven’t proved that watching Hannity rather than (say) MSNBC or a scripted drama would make a random person more likely to get sick, nor that watching Carlson instead of those sources would make them more likely to stay healthy.

Because the study only looked at Fox viewers, it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the network’s effect more broadly. In theory, mainstream media’s more serious tone in February should mean that switching between it and Carlson would have little effect on a news consumer’s behavior and health — but choosing to watch Hannity rather than a mainstream source would have a large one. That’s really just a guess, though; there’s no direct evidence for this in the paper itself.

Second, drawing sweeping conclusions from one paper is always a bad idea. The social sciences in particular are notoriously difficult, dealing with complex phenomenon using imperfect data. The fact that this study hasn’t been formally peer reviewed means that, despite its impressive design and positive reviews from scholars who have read it so far, you should be especially cautious.

These caveats aside, there are several reasons to think that the conclusion in this paper is at least close to the truth.

First, we know that the response to the coronavirus has been deeply affected by partisan attitudes. Polls and regression analyses consistently find that Republicans are considerably less likely than Democrats to embrace social distancing measures, seemingly as a result of the overall partisan debate over the issues.

Given Fox News’ overwhelming popularity among Republicans, it’s at least plausible that some of this effect comes from Hannity and other coronavirus skeptics on the network (Carlson’s early programming was an outlier).

Second, we know that Fox News in general has powerful effects on American political behavior.

A 2007 study on Fox News’ initial rollout found that areas where the channel was available showed much better results for Republicans in both the 2000 presidential and Senate elections. The effect was significant enough to have swung the entire presidential election given the razor-thin margin separating Bush and Gore.

A 2017 study used data on the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections to show that the expansion of Fox News’ availability and viewership had significantly increased the advantage the network offered Republicans. Fox shifted the the 2000 results in their direction by about 0.46 percentage points nationally in 2000, 3.59 in 2004, and 6.34 in 2008.

If Fox News can affect the way Americans vote, it’s at least plausible to say that it might affect the way they approach a novel and confusing pandemic.

Third, television in general appears to affect the way people make decisions about their health. One particularly interesting study looked at the popularity of Brazilian soap operas (novelas) on fertility. These shows tended to feature women with one child or none at all; the study’s authors found that, as these shows became more popular, the fertility rate of Brazilian women tended to fall. This does not appear to be an accident.

“Decreases in fertility were stronger in years immediately following novelas that portrayed messages of upward social mobility,” the authors write. “The effect ... in any given year was stronger for women whose age was closer to that of the main female characters portrayed that year.”

It seems that people really do see media as a guide to some of their most intimate life choices. Given how much a certain segment of older, white, conservative Americans trust Fox, it seems very plausible that they took cues from their favorite anchors on how to handle the coronavirus outbreak.

Carlos Ponce

"February and early March. At the time, Hannity’s show was downplaying or ignoring the virus..." The record shows this is a lie.

Here are the topics discussed during February and early March:

February 2, 2020 - Donald Trump discusses the possibility of closing borders due to the Coronavirus threat during Sean’s Super Bowl interview with the president.

February 10, 2020 - Sean asks Dr. Fauci about asymptomatic spreading of disease

February 26, 2020 - Hannity radio program "Scientists already working on a vaccine "

February 27, 2020 - Discussion on "Trump travel ban; Smartest people working on vaccine" "We have the best people working on Coronavirus"

February 28, 2020 - "Want a vaccine for all diseases; U.S. has the best doctors and scientists" "We have the best people working on Coronavirus possible vaccine"

March 2, 2020 - "Sean: I want a cure for every sickness" "We must take Coronavirus seriously" "Trump’s response saved lives"

March 6, 2020 - "All hands on deck, we have the best people working on Coronavirus"

March 9, 2020 - "Sean: You’d think one thing we’d agree on is fighting coronavirus"

March 10, 2020 - "We don’t want Americans to get sick. Do everything to keep loved ones safe"

March 11, 2020 - "Want to prolong human life as much as possible. We have greatest scientists."

None of this is "downplay", Bill Broussard.

Check out the stories at

Dan Freeman

Mr. Ponce should explain this edited timeline was put together as posted by Hannity Staff - 4.11.20 Nothing except talking points

Carlos Ponce

These are excerpts from the shows that allegedly are supposed to show "Hannity’s show was downplaying or ignoring the virus..." Reality shows this is a lie.

jim sitgreaves

Mr. Broussard, you lost me at, "most media critics." Anyone that believes MSM is only reporting facts and isn't bias isn't paying attention. First it was Stormy Daniels. Then came the Russia hoax, followed by the Ukraine garbage. The MSM constantly told the public Trump was guilty and the Democrats had 100% proof of his guilt.

Now it's the use of a virus from China as a means to get President Trump out of office. In doing so, the left and the media they're using, have put people out of work and this nation in peril. God save us!

PS "They are lying to you."

Bill Broussard

Fox News falls out of love with hydroxychloroquine

Updated 9:44 AM EDT April 22, 2020
New York

A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Fox News has fallen out of love with hydroxychloroquine. After weeks of unrelenting coverage hyping the antimalarial drug as a potential game-changing treatment for the coronavirus, the network has all but stopped mentioning it on its airwaves. So has President Donald Trump.

The quiet abandonment of hydroxychloroquine comes as studies indicate it is not an effective treatment against the coronavirus. A French study found last week that the drug does not help patients with the virus. And on Tuesday, a study of hundreds of patents at US Veterans Health Administration medical centers found that patients who took hydroxychloroquine were no less likely to need ventilation and had higher death rates than those who didn't take the drug.

"Will anyone who breathlessly pitched hydroxychloroquine as a miracle drug show a modicum of regret or even self-awareness over this? Doubtful," The Daily Beast's Sam Stein predicted. "More likely is they'll ignore the study entirely." Stein appears to have been right on the money.

Despite having previously pushed the drug as a possible treatment, neither Tucker Carlson nor Sean Hannity mentioned the study on their Fox News shows Tuesday night. I didn't see Laura Ingraham, who reportedly visited the White House to promote the drug, discuss it either. Fox published a digital story on the Tuesday study, but it fell off the website's homepage after a few hours. And, according to CNN's Betsy Klein, Trump hasn't mentioned it in a week...

Mentions down 77% in recent days

Numbers from Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog group, give a better idea of just how obsessed Fox was with the drug. From March 23 to April 6, Fox News personalities and guests mentioned hydroxychloroquine nearly 300 times. But that's changed in recent days. Media Matters found that between April 16 to April 20 mentions of the drug dropped 77% compared to the previous five-day period.

Trump dodges question

During Tuesday's White House briefing, Trump — who repeatedly asked what Americans had to lose by taking the drug — was asked about the new VA study. He pleaded ignorance. "I don't know of the report," Trump said. He promised the White House will be "looking at it."

No comment from Dr. Oz

One of the top guests to promote the drug on Fox News was Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity cardiac surgeon whose medical recommendations has been called into serious question in the past. Despite not being formally employed by Fox News, Oz became a fixture on the network, using his appearances to tout hydroxychloroquine and catching Trump's attention while doing so.

So I called a spokesperson for Oz on Tuesday and left a message asking if he has any comment on the new study. I didn't hear back. Oz has also not been on Fox News quite as much in recent days. I didn't see him in prime time Tuesday night, and it seems he's only done a pair of "Fox & Friends" hits this week...

"These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies"

While Tuesday VA study — funded by the National Institutes of Health and the University of Virginia — raised significant red flags, it's also important to note that it was not peer reviewed. As the authors wrote, "These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of these drugs." Which is why it was so irresponsible for Fox personalities and the President to jump the gun and promote the drug as a possible game-changer before the scientific evidence was in...

Carlos Ponce

"Fox News has fallen out of love with hydroxychloroquine."

FOX News was NEVER in love with hydroxychloroquine. They reported it as a possible treatment with favorable anecdotal results in this and other countries. That's not love, that's reporting.

"Tuesday VA study" Let me repeat what I posted in another forum:

Veterans Affairs’ Robert Wilkie on the hydroxychloroquine study: "That’s an observational study. It’s not a clinical study ... We know the drug has been working on middle-age and younger veterans. And the gov of NY was just in the Oval Office yesterday asking for more". "It was done on a small number of veterans. Sadly, those who were in the last stages of life, and the drug was given to them."

Red flags? These veterans were already "in the last stages of life".

jim sitgreaves

Speaking of "Jumping The Gun...."

Perhaps you should take a quick look at Laura's show from Wednesday night. She exposed the fraudulent "study" that CNN and others were jumping up and down about, claiming that it proved hydroxychloroquine was a complete failure for treating the new virus. (there they go again with fake news) Just thought you'd like to know.

PS They're lying to you.

Charles Douglas

I agree with Mr. Police's post beneath this one, and I think the ranting and false accusations against Sean Hannity is no more than a LIBERAL China orchestrated hit piece! Hannity expected it to be so because he is highly effective in getting the truth out with his show, and the FAKE NEWS & DEEP STATE manipulations, and lies spewed about DJ TRUMP are put to rest everytime his show hits the air!

Ray Taft

Really? A 2,220 word essay. Brevity is the soul of wit.

Dan Freeman

Mr. Tillotson correctly castigates abusers of the media. It is fascinating that the most influential media sources, President Trump and Fox News, have omitted the AP story on the dangers of their magic bullet, hydroxychloroquine The GCDN carried the story inside, but it seems to have been lost on-line. The drug has been found to not have any benefit and increase the risk of death. The CIA, among other agencies, has instructed employees not to use it. Can we hear from Dr. Robin Armstrong on his willingness to risk vulnerable patient’s lives using an unproven, dangerous drug?

Related to media coverage, is the Ibsen play Enemy of the People, which I took the time to watch recently. In it the local paper declines to publish an article by a physician about a contagion that would devastate the town’s resort. It does this because of venal pressure by the Mayor and other businessmen. It is a classic play about conflicts over environmental issues, professional responsibility, and the dangers of whistle blowing. Sound familiar?

Summing up, Mr. Tillotson is exactly on point about the dangers of killing the messenger.

jim sitgreaves

Dan, even the AP fell for the "study" which was really nothing but an insufficient survey and was improperly summed up. Also, the administration has wanted to rid of the so called "whistleblower" for months. It takes time to flush out the roaches. Just thought you'd like to know, as well.

PS They're lying to you.

Dan Freeman

Here is a link to the study Mr. Broussard summarizes:

Carlos Ponce

Their premise is incorrect since they try to portray a dichotomy between those that view Sean Hannity's and Tucker Carlson's shows. They are the same audience before and after the suggested time. They state " Hannity first ignored the topic". If you look at the link to the timeline I provided you will note Sean's concern was shown on January 27, 2020 in his interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"Good to see you. I’ve watched you over many decades and I know this is your wheelhouse, this is what you do. I agree with Trace’s [Gallagher] analysis. Maybe we are looking at 110 cases. Only five confirmed. I feel China reacted too slowly. Contact tracing comment incubation periods."

What's telling is this "study" fails to mention Sean Hannity has a daily RADIO program in which he discusses the immediacy of dealing with coronavirus.

January 28, 2020 - RADIO - 5:30 PM ET – Dr. Josh Umbehr of Atlas M.D. and Dr. Lee S. Gross, President of Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation and Founder, Epiphany Health Direct Primary Care, will give us what they have learned from the CDC and HHS about the coronavirus. With several states in the US reporting case of the virus, and two deaths in Canada as a result of the illness, many are on high alert.


January 29, 2020 - 4:30 PM ET – Secretary Ben Carson joins to talk about how Congress should be focused on major issues like Coronavirus and how this virus underscores why states like California with a homelessness crisis on its hands need to step up their efforts to build more emergency homeless shelters to contain their crisis. Sec Carson is a neurosurgeon and explains that he has the utmost is a medical professional so he could reiterate how he has confidence in our country’s medical professionals and CDC’s medical responses to disease outbreaks to calm the public.

March 2, 2020 - 5:05 PM ET – Dr. Mark Siegel, is a Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, a Medical Director of Doctor Radio at NYU and SiriusXM, and a Fox News Medical Correspondent and Dr. Nicole Saphier, board-certified radiologist in New York City, Fox News Medical Contributor and author of the book Make America Healthy Again: How Bad Behavior and Big Government Caused a Trillion Dollar Crisis, are here to discuss the Coronavirus. CORONAVIRUS HAS MANY IN A STATE OF PANIC AS MORE INFORMATION COMES OUT

March 9, 2020 - 5:05 PM ET – Betsy McCaughey, a former Lt. Governor of New York and Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, she has a lot to say about the Coronavirus and the handling of the situation by Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio in places like NY. An excerpt from her article on

As the nation gears for battle against coronavirus, our biggest enemy is false information. A lot of that is coming from the same place as the virus — China. Government officials there have deceived and equivocated about how the disease got started. China has been blaming the new virus on the sale of live exotic animals like bats at an outdoor food market in the city of Wuhan, claiming that’s where the earliest cases originated. But new research in the medical journal Lancet proves that the first victims of coronavirus had no contact with that food market, contrary to the official story. One possibility is that the virus leaked from China’s National Bio-Safety Laboratory, also in Wuhan, which handles some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens.

If the U.S. is going to develop medications and vaccines against this coronavirus — now dubbed COVID-19 — our scientists need the truth.

So they disregard Hannity's comments about coronvirus on his THREE HOUR radio show and nitpick his one hour FOX show.

There's plenty more where that came from. I stopped on March 9 hoping you get the picture.

Anne Reiswerg

Nice to hear from you Dolph. It’s been a while. Stay safe.

Chris Gimenez

Thank God the Reverend Tillotson has come down from on high to tell all the rubes in the lowlands how stupid we are and that he’s reluctantly blessing us with his superior intelligence and elitist arrogance. Reading Norman’s fact-based and well-organized opinion and then reading Dolph’s cringe-worthy screed with all thoughts leading to the evil orange man could best be described as a desperate-and failed-attempt to disguise a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome as esteemed journalism.

Sorry Dolph, I got news for you. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. To state that “…one would have to believe nonsense-that the disease is not as bad as everyone claims and the danger is minimal” proves you believe those two thoughts are mutually inclusive and informed citizens should believe the same. We know better. It’s been proven factually that the China flu hasn’t been as bad as predicted and yet I don’t know anyone personally who thinks the danger is minimal, especially if they’re older or with compromised health conditions. Nice try though Dolph. And then you drag out “the 40,000 dead and tens of thousands of dead to come yet to die” to support your sophomoric attempt at misinformation. So how many people die from the common flu each year? What is the actual death rate from the China flu? There isn’t any significant difference.

As for the leftwing media having fewer viewers than FOX or Limbaugh that’s not the point. The point is the unmitigated and unabashed lying that comes from the majority of media outlets against this President and his administration. They have no shame and neither do you for trying to talk down to and misinform the public in this manner.

Charlotte O'rourke

People believe what they believe and no amount of facts or logic will change that belief.

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