ABC reporter says much of Fox’s coverage of the pandemic ‘was very responsible’
ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl praised Fox News on Sunday, saying its coverage through “much” of the coronavirus pandemic was “very responsible.”
Karl had been asked, during a panel discussion with former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace hosted by the group Common Ground Committee, about the media’s role in shaping the tense political environment around the pandemic during former President Trump’s time in the White House.
“So, again, not the media creating this, the media reflecting it. The polarization was there,” Karl said. “I think Fox’s coverage of the pandemic, for much of it, was very responsible. … They weren’t repeating a lot of the stuff, not across the board, but I don’t think you can blame this on media coverage.”
Fox has been panned by some public health experts and media watchdogs for comments made by top hosts, particularly in prime time, about the necessity and efficacy of lockdown measures, masks and vaccines.
The network has repeatedly stressed a differentiation it points to between “straight news” content reported in newscasts and opinion programming later in the evening on weekdays, featuring hosts such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, in December called for Fox News host Jesse Watters, who was recently given a show in prime time on the network, to be fired for comments he made about Fauci and public pushback on health mandates. Fox issued a statement at the time standing behind Watters.
A longtime correspondent based in Washington, Karl reported extensively on Trump before he was elected president, penning a book about his final days in power and the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
The Daily Beast reported last month Karl held talks with Fox about pursuing the anchor chair on “Fox News Sunday,” a gig Wallace vacated late last year to join CNN’s since-shuttered streaming service.
“We had very informal conversations with Jonathan Karl as we routinely have with many talent across all media,” Fox News said in a statement. “Offers are never extended in these discussions, therefore nothing was declined.”
This story was updated at 1:30 p.m.