The conservative Fox News network has repeatedly echoed GOP talking points in its constant dismissal and disinformation regarding the virus that's killed more than 750 thousand Americans.
The network has platformed lies about the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, which are proven to be safe and effective. Its hosts have railed against even the most basic public safety measures, painting them as tyrannical takeovers.
What's more, the disinformation campaign is working, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study released earlier this month, which found that Fox News viewers were more likely to believe pandemic falsehoods than those who consume other outlets.
Now, scientists are scrambling to study the new omicon variant of the virus, which was discovered by South African scientists earlier this month and deemed a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this week.
Key questions regarding the omicon variant, such as its ability to evade vaccines and its potentially faster transmissibility rate, have yet to be answered, but Fox News hosts were already leaping to dismiss concerns over its emergence.
Fox News hosts suggest coronavirus variants are made up to help Democrats:
CAIN: “Always a new variant.”
HEGSETH: “Count on a variant about every October, every two years.”
CAIN: “You’re probably right…”
HEGSETH: [mimicking phone call] “We’re gonna need a new variant here.” pic.twitter.com/cXhbWY2vWa
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) November 27, 2021
Fox host Pete Hegseth and his colleagues suggested Democrats were orchestrating new variants of the virus in order to save face politically or to impose more lockdowns. It was just the latest in Fox News' barrage of falsehoods regarding the pandemic.
That didn't sit well with CNN pundit and self-described "practical conservative" S.E. Cupp, who decried the Fox's preemptive downplaying of the variant.
Fox News suggests Democrats invented Omicron variant youtu.be
Noting how "bonkers" it is to claim a political party is conspiring with a web of entities to drum up a new variant, Cupp said:
“It is irresponsible, but that's the floor. That’s evil. That is evil. To get up and tell your viewers, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s probably just made up and so don’t believe any of the other science. Don’t believe about vaccines or boosters or anything else because it’s probably just Democrats. I don’t know another word for that.”
Social media users widely agreed.
It's insane that a conservative (and former Fox contributor) even has to have this conversation. Fox News is killing people. @secupp https://t.co/hDqtmA22U9
— Joe Remi (@JoeOfTheNorth) November 29, 2021
Politicians who behave like irresponsible children
deserve to be treated (& reprimanded) accordingly.
Thank you, @SECupp, for calling out this malpractice!
Dissing the opposition party by working against their measures to protect the public is simply #NotKosher. https://t.co/8zZFmpS4UQ
— M. Haytham Matthews (@HaythamMatthews) November 29, 2021
Atta girl, S.E.
— Teri (@WomenInTheBurbs) November 29, 2021
And Cupp was far from the only one to call Fox out.
This is not journalism or ‘news’. This is InfoWars with a bigger budget and better production values. It’s also getting people killed. https://t.co/hRM0JnGeh5
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) November 27, 2021
This is the kind of Fox News propaganda that deeply damages public health efforts against the virus. It seems to me deeply irresponsible of companies to run commercials on Fox News and underwrite this. https://t.co/m7nQdtTef8
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) November 28, 2021
The irony is that it is these very same Fox News personalities who are helping prolong the pandemic by fear-mongering about vaccines https://t.co/N0IuOTEKDL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 27, 2021
I don’t even know what the thought process on this one is. Nobody wants COVID to keep going, and it certainly doesn’t work to the advantage of the party in power for that to happen. https://t.co/H7Z7pjAS6Z
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) November 27, 2021
They assume the CDC covers the virus the way Fox covers immigrant caravans. https://t.co/4WT9zVSwqX
— Seth Masket (@smotus) November 28, 2021
Staggering cost to our lives & democracy from America’s political, media, and corporate elite’s insistence we treat Fox News as legitimate mainstream news. https://t.co/WfXG8ODYHY
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) November 28, 2021
Health officials are scrambling to prepare for the inevitability of the variant's arrival in the United States.