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Several conservative pundits and commentators have focused their coronavirus narratives on "evidence of bias designed to harm President Trump," the Washington Post reports.
Why it matters: Attacks from conservative media commentators could "undermine sources of reliable information at a time when such information is vital." Trump is known to listen to such pundits, and has already tweeted that the news media and Democrats are "doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible."
What they're saying:
- Rush Limbaugh stated the virus is being used as a bioweapon by the Chinese government, only to then downplay the outbreak, saying it “is the common cold, folks.” He added on Monday that the media coverage of the virus is "an effort to get Trump," per the Post.
- Limbaugh also tried to discredit Nancy Messonnier, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, partly because her brother, Rod Rosenstein, is the former deputy attorney general who oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, the Post notes.
- Messonnier said during a media briefing on Tuesday that an outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S. was inevitable.
- Laura Ingraham said on-air, "I think they want to use this — I mean, in China, they don't want to deal with Trump anymore, with the tariffs. I think for them, the best thing would be if this hurt Trump in his reelection, correct?"
- Sean Hannity argued Democrats are "sadly politicizing and weaponizing an infectious disease as their next effort to bludgeon President Trump."
- Tucker Carlson said, "Countless publications wagged their fingers in the face of readers and told them it was irrational – probably immoral, in fact – to worry more about the coronavirus than the annual flu. Identity politics trumped public health and not for the first time. 'Wokeness' is a cult. They'd let you die before they admitted that diversity is not our strength."
Fox News has declined to comment.