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In the wake of fears that right-wing media figures’ downplaying the threat of coronavirus would accelerate its spread, a new study has found that when it comes to one particular Fox News host, that was definitely the case.
Economists Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher Roth, and David Yanagizawa-Drott found that in the months of February and early March, Fox host Sean Hannity was either downplaying or ignoring the virus.
“Using both a poll of Fox News viewers over age 55 and publicly available data on television-watching patterns, they calculate that Fox viewers who watched Hannity rather than Carlson were less likely to adhere to social distancing rules, and that areas where more people watched Hannity relative to Carlson had higher local rates of infection and death,” Vox’s Zack Beauchamp reports.
“Greater exposure to Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight leads to a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths,” the study’s authors wrote. “A one-standard deviation increase in relative viewership of Hannity relative to Carlson is associated with approximately 30 percent more COVID-19 cases on March 14, and 21 percent more COVID-19 deaths on March 28.”
The study hasn’t been peer-reviewed or accepted for publication at any science journals.
Read the full report over at Vox.com.