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Media Matters Study On Fox News ‘Misinformation’ Is Riddled With Misrepresentations, Flagged Objectively True Statements

Media Matters Study On Fox News ‘Misinformation’ Is Riddled With Misrepresentations, Flagged Objectively True Statements
  • A Media Matters study claiming Fox News pushed coronavirus misinformation an estimated 13,551 times during the pandemic is riddled with misrepresentations.
  • Media Matters did not provide a full list of the 13,551 instances of Fox News misinformation, nor did it provide the methodology used to come up with the figure.
  • “My thought is that if a study of misinformation or propaganda does not offer a detailed explanation of its methods, that should give any news organization pause before reporting its findings,” Ursinus College associate professor of media and communication studies Anthony Nadler told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A study from a liberal media watchdog group that claimed Fox News promoted coronavirus misinformation an estimated 13,551 times in 2020 on weekday programs, but its list of claims is riddled with misrepresentations, flagged accurate remarks and fact checked clear statements of opinion.

Media Matters for America did not provide the methodology used to establish its estimated 13,551 figure, nor did it disclose a list of each instance of what it identified as Fox News misinformation for independent review. Despite this, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof promoted a Media Matters campaign to get cable providers to drop Fox News from their basic cable packages.

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Kristof quoted Media Matters President Angelo Carusone, who cited the figure, and linked to a related Media Matters page proclaiming Fox News “Misinformer of the Year.”

Ursinus College associate professor of media and communication studies Anthony Nadler told the Daily Caller News Foundation that any study on misinformation that lacks transparency in its methodology should be seen as a red flag.

“My thought is that if a study of misinformation or propaganda does not offer a detailed explanation of its methods, that should give any news organization pause before reporting its findings,” Nadler said. “There are certainly times when there are compelling reasons not to release full data (privacy concerns).”

“But something that lacks transparency in methods lacks credibility,” Nadler added.

Media Matters did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking for a full list of the estimated 13,551 instances of Fox News coronavirus misinformation it flagged and the methodology used to come up with the figure.

Media Matters did publish a companion piece to its study that listed around 1,000 instances of what it called the “broader extent of Fox’s lies, propaganda, conspiracy theories, bigotry and misinformation” in 2020.

The list did flag legitimate instances of misinformation from Fox News, but much of what Media Matters characterized as Fox News misinformation can be more accurately described as opinion, and the list contained many blatant misrepresentations of what actually transpired.

For example, Media Matters falsely accused Fox News medical contributor Marc Siegel of spreading coronavirus misinformation on March 12, 2020, when he made a “brief mention of chloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19.”

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What Media Matters flagged as misinformation was in fact Siegel accurately reporting that South Korea was at the time testing chloroquine, remdesivir and Plaquenil, a brand name for hydroxychloroquine, as potential treatments for coronavirus.

Media Matters also flagged Fox News host Sean Hannity for misinformation for displaying a graphic that accurately indicated that there were zero coronavirus deaths in the United States on Feb. 27, 2020, as misinformation. The first confirmed U.S. coronavirus death came two days later on Feb. 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From The Daily Caller

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