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National Talk Radio Hosts Reject Calls For Masking

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Conservative talk radio hosts across the country are mocking the use of masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, even in states like Arizona where cases are surging.

Masks are an essential tool in the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Infected people are less likely to transmit the virus to others when wearing a mask, and while no mask can completely prevent inhalation of virus particles, even cloth masks provide some protection for healthy individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that Americans wear cloth face masks when interacting with people outside of their households.

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How Fox News Made Masks Another Culture War Flashpoint

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are once again soaring in the United States, with new epicenters in Republican-led states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida. In response, numerous Republican leaders have finally started urging Americans to wear masks in public spaces to slow the spread of the virus. But those GOP officials are fighting against figures with at least as strong a hold on their supporters as they have -- Fox News stars like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

Carlson, Ingraham, and several of their colleagues have denounced masks and those who promote them, even as evidence has accumulated that masks are one of the most effective countermeasures against the coronavirus. The network's viewers have been told that mask usage is not only ineffective, but part of a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to keep Americans living in fear and under their control.

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Fox News Pushes Trump’s ‘Cognitive Test’ Taunt At Biden Presser

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

At the very end of former Vice President Joe Biden's press conference largely focusing on the Trump administration's botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox News reporter Doug McKelway pressed Biden about being tested for his mental capacity -- a constant theme of Fox News and the Trump campaign since Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

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Misleading Voices In Right-Wing Media Promoted Virus Spread

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Although some GOP governors have joined their Democratic counterparts in aggressively promoting social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic — including Maryland's Larry Hogan and Massachusetts' Charlie Baker — President Donald Trump and much of the right-wing media, from Fox News to AM talk radio, have failed to take the crisis seriously. And according to Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham, some recent studies offer a damning indictment of right-wing media coverage of the pandemic.

"In recent weeks," Ingraham explains, "three studies have focused on conservative media's role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others. The end result, according to one of the studies, is that infection and mortality rates are higher in places where one pundit who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic — Fox News' Sean Hannity — reaches the largest audiences."

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