Media Matters for America, the progressive organization supposedly dedicated to holding journalists accountable to the truth, vilified Fox News’ Fox & Friends for a segment on the coronavirus earlier this year. Fox News' Greg Gutfield now intends to sue the organization.
In two segments aired on January 27, the Fox News show ran reports about the COVID-19 outbreak in China, sourcing the news to posts on social media by Chinese whistleblowers who alleged that the Chinese government was actively suppressing details of the then-nascent outbreak of a deadly illness that had ravaged the population of Wuhan.
The reports claimed that the infection rate of COVID-19 was “33 times [higher than] what Chinese officials are reporting,” per Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, who spoke to Dr. Mehmet Oz. These reports were indeed accurate, as Human Events confirmed through its own sources in the Chinese medical community.
In the article excoriating Fox & Friends, MMFA referred to the sources as “unverified” and stated that “the video comes from an account known for pushing unsourced information in breaking news environments.” The piece cites a reporter for BuzzFeed News, Jane Lytvynenko, stating that she “regularly tracks the spread of disinformation online,” and that she had “flagged the video.” It goes on to state that Lytvynenko highlighted “several apparent inconsistencies with the alleged nurse’s outfit and those of actual first responders.”
While the article does not outright refer to the material as hoaxes, the author of the piece—Bobby Lewis—implicitly accused Fox News of spreading misinformation and insinuates that the videos should be discredited. We now know that there was nothing incorrect about the videos, which accurately depicted the state of emergency in Wuhan, China.
The inconsistencies in the first responder’s outfit, as depicted by Lytvynenko, can be explained by the shortage of personal protective equipment—an issue that first responders and hospital workers in New York City are currently facing. Human Events reported that paramedics and doctors in Wuhan published these videos as urgent pleas for help from the international community.
Regurgitating Lytvynenko, Media Matters incorrectly asserted that “fainting is not a symptom of coronavirus,” referring to existing research on older, non-novel strains of the coronavirus responsible for the common cold.
On February 5, The Guardian reported that symptoms of the novel coronavirus ranged from coughing, fevers and body aches to fainting, coughing up blood, extreme difficulty breathing, chest pain and weakness.
MMFA President Angelo Carusone posted today that “a Fox News host threatening to sue Media Matters for… wait for it…criticizing Fox’s coronavirus coverage, says his show always took it seriously (the show did not always take it seriously) and that @mmfa is slandering
Imagine being so foxed up to assert Fox always took seriously.” [sic]
Greg Gutfield expressed his intent to sue MMFA pending a retraction for a claim by MMFA deputy director Andrew Lawrence who accused Gutfield of lying when he stated he sounded the alarm on the coronavirus back in January.
Gutfield proved he is telling the truth with a video dated to January 28, in which he sounded the alarm on the coronavirus alongside other Fox News hosts.
MMFA and its allies at BuzzFeed and Vox have all been instrumental in downplaying the spread of the coronavirus as nothing more than a hoax driven by “Sinophobic” sentiments—as if China is above reproach. Their day of reckoning is overdue.