For weeks, on-air personalities at Fox News parroted President Donald Trump and his administration's dismissals of the virus that's upended daily life in the United States.
The President finally started acknowledging the threat posed by the virus, yet still refuses to take responsibility for his administration's lack of preparedness. Despite multiple warnings that the United States wasn't prepared for a pandemic, the administration took little action in the early stages of the outbreak, when containing it was more feasible.
As a result, a shortage of medical equipment and a surge in unemployment have taken place.
That hasn't stopped some Fox hosts from trying to rewrite history, pivoting accountability away from the President.
Pediatric infectious disease expert Dr. Rishi Desai was having none of that in a recent interview with Fox's Martha MacCallum, in which Desai laid bare what the administration should've been doing instead of dismissing the threat as a "hoax."
How to ensure you don't get follow-up questions on Fox, apparently. https://t.co/nOUqw4ZVhO— Ben Smith (@Ben Smith)1585792249.0
After MacCallum said the government was "working on" more efficient testing kits for the virus, Desai responded:
"Yeah, they're working on it. They should've been working on it for months. So the fact is we knew about this from the WHO when? December 31, 2019. So last year, we knew about this. We knew [the virus] was coming, we knew it was a respiratory disease, we knew it was person to person."
Desai pointed out that even the most efficient machines available can only handle one test at a time, which he said doesn't meet the level of contagion the United States is about to see at the height of the pandemic.
"We needed this months ago...South Korea and the U.S. had their first confirmed case on the same date: January 19. Since January 19, you look at what South Korea did and what we did. Their population is one sixth of ours. Look at the cases they have, look at the mortality they have. It's a trifle compared to what we're dealing with right now, because we've had a very weak response and they had a really strong response."
After an awkward silence, MacCallum promptly ended the interview:
"Doctor, thank you, very interesting to talk to you Dr. Desai. I hope you'll come back as we move through this difficult period for the country."
People noticed that Desai wasn't asked any additional questions after he began criticizing the government's response.
When a leadership cult collides with facts. https://t.co/keRJ67BAEC— Teri Kanefield (@Teri Kanefield)1585833949.0
Haha OMG you can see her sitting in that chair, seething. Her EP is in her ear saying cut him off, no follow ques… https://t.co/3Dv22UEwWW— Steve Holzer (@Steve Holzer)1585792900.0
They couldn't get him off the air fast enough.. https://t.co/0BPe4hce2A— V͎O͎I͎Z͎E͎ ͎O͎F͎ ͎R͎E͎A͎Z͎O͎N͎ (@V͎O͎I͎Z͎E͎ ͎O͎F͎ ͎R͎E͎A͎Z͎O͎N͎)1585827803.0
They were pretty sure Dr. Desai wouldn't find himself on Fox News again any time soon.
Wow. Just wow. Watch these 90 seconds, seriously, because it will be the last time Dr. Desai will ever be on Fox. https://t.co/mLFhaUtXbv— Janice Hough (@Janice Hough)1585802852.0
OMG, Fox News featured someone who told the truth yesterday. No April Fool's other than those who don't believe him… https://t.co/shaAZSYXD7— Lesley Abravanel🆘 (@Lesley Abravanel🆘)1585835030.0
Hahaha ooops truth-telling Dr Desai aint never gonna be invited back on Fox News! https://t.co/M6n1K3AZuN— Arati Kumar-Rao (@Arati Kumar-Rao)1585794639.0
Nevertheless, people commended his honesty.
Dr Rishi Desai is my new hero. How perfectly he explains why the US messed up on testing. A portable machine that c… https://t.co/fwNrE3b26p— Chris Lowndes (@Chris Lowndes)1585798137.0
I could watch this over and over, which I will because. as you know, Dr. Desai is never getting invited back to Pro… https://t.co/lhiVKYkTNK— HawaiiDelilah™ (@HawaiiDelilah™)1585808999.0
Blunt truth from @RishiDesaiMD. Thank you. https://t.co/MOc39x7Swq— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith)1585833665.0