Fox News is receiving some poor reviews for its coverage of the coronavirus crisis.
More than 70 journalism professors and journalists wrote a letter addressed to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch accusing the network of spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak.
“Viewers of Fox News, including the president of the United States, have been regularly subjected to misinformation relayed by the network,” the letter reads.
Read the full letter below:
74 journalism / comms professors + journalists have written an open letter to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch about the network's coronavirus coverage.— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 2, 2020
"Viewers of Fox News, including the president of the United States, have been regularly subjected to misinformation…" pic.twitter.com/Vpk04Tc9es
The letter outlines the information the professors and journalists believe to be false, including “downplaying” the coronavirus, “misleading” measures Americans should take to protect themselves, “recommendations of untested drugs,” and “false assessments” of measures encouraged by government officials.
The letter cites a poll suggesting the information spread by Fox News has been effective on audiences.
“A Pew Research poll found that 79% of Fox News viewers surveyed believed the media had exaggerated the risks of the virus. 63% of Fox viewers said they believed the virus posed a minor threat to the health of the country,” the letter says.
The professors and journalists did acknowledge some of the “solid reporting” the network has done, as well as some of the guests the network has had on.
The letter takes issue with Fox News’ rhetoric surrounding statements made by experts. It reiterates the dangers of the information as it makes the nature of the epidemic worse. It also emphasizes the responsibility networks have to tell the truth.
“The basic purpose of news organizations is to discover and tell the truth. This is especially necessary, and obvious, amid a public health crisis,” the statement reads. “Television bears a particular responsibility because even more millions than usual look there for reliable information.”
The statement closes with the professors and journalists calling on Fox News to base the information they provide on scientific fact.