ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl gave unexpected praise to Fox News on Sunday, saying that “much” of the network’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic “was very responsible.”
Asked about the media’s role in shaping what was a tense political environment surrounding the early days of the pandemic, when former President Donald Trump still occupied the White House, Karl told former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace the media was simply reflecting “polarization” that already existed.
The discussion was hosted by the group Common Ground, The Hill reports.
“So again, not the media creating this, the media reflecting it, the polarization was there,” said Karl. “I think Fox’s coverage of the pandemic, for much of it, was very responsible … they weren’t repeating a lot of the stuff, not across the board, but I don’t think you can blame this on media coverage.”
While Fox News has often stressed the difference between its evening primetime programming that features opinions and commentary from such popular hosts as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, and its “straight news” content, it hasn’t stopped the network from being ruthlessly panned by many media “fact-checkers,” health experts, and other, more liberal, network hosts.
After Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested in December that attendees of Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest event “ambush” Dr. Anthony Fauci with questions about the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) role in gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, and “go in for the kill shot,” Fauci took to CNN and called for Watters to be immediately fired.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says Fox News’ Jesse Watters should “be fired on the spot” for telling a crowd to “ambush” Fauci with “the kill shot.”
But, he adds: “He’s gonna go, very likely, unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him.” pic.twitter.com/K3X0V3jZdM
— The Recount (@therecount) December 21, 2021
Fox News backed Watters, who has recently been given his own primetime show on the network, claiming his comments were taken out of context, Newsweek reported at the time.
“Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions to Dr. Fauci about gain-of-function research and his words have been twisted completely out of context,” Fox News said in a statement.
And Watters isn’t the only one with a bullseye on his every broadcast.
Hardly a day has gone by since the start of the pandemic that Tucker Carlson isn’t publicly berated for something he said on his broadcast the night before.
Tucker Carlson is now telling his audience to harass people who wear face masks outside.
If they see children wearing masks, Tucker says the response should be no different than when you see a kid being abused — "call the police immediately, contact child protective services" pic.twitter.com/4svVH0JY3s
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 27, 2021
But while mainstream media and “fact-checkers” have meltdowns over Fox News programming, the network continues to beat out its competition.
Just this week, Fox News swept the primetime hours, with Tucker Carlson’s 3.4 million viewers eclipsing Anderson Cooper’s 818,000 and Ingraham crushing Don Lemon, 2,142,00 to 616,oo0.
TV RATINGS: Fox News won the most total viewers on Thursday April 21, with these primetime hours:
5. @jesseprimetime @kilmeade
7. @IngrahamAnglehttps://t.co/5L4VQB3eph pic.twitter.com/1fH6Q4kbe6
— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) April 22, 2022
And no one — absolutely no one — should be more acutely aware of Fox News’s popularity than Chris Wallace, who jumped ship after nearly two decades for a spot at CNN+, which lasted less than a month.
Chris Wallace says he’s uncertain what comes next for him, declares that he’s ‘a victim’ https://t.co/UvEABv13Rd
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) April 25, 2022
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