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74 journalism professors accuse Fox News of spreading coronavirus misinformation

Dozens of journalism professors and working journalists signed an open letter to Fox News heads Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch on Thursday, bashing the network's coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as a "danger to public health."

"Viewers of Fox News, including the president of the United States, have been regularly subjected to misinformation relayed by the network—false statements downplaying the prevalence of COVID-19 and its harms; misleading recommendations of activities that people should undertake to protect themselves and others, including casual recommendations of untested drugs; false assessments of the value of measures urged upon the public by their elected political leadership and public health authorities," the letter reads.

In the letter, the group cites multiple surveys, including a recent Pew Research poll in which 79 percent of Fox News viewers reported that they believed that the media had overstated the potency of the virus. It also cited that the average age for Fox News viewers is 65. Senior citizens are one of the two most at-risk demographics to experience fatal complications from the virus, the other being people with underlying health conditions.

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The letter points out that some of Fox News's reporters have done solid reporting on the outbreak, but also singled out multiple pundits on the network who have done the opposite, mentioning hosts Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityTrump calls Fox 'disappointing' for airing Obama speech Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Biden: Johnson should be 'ashamed' for suggesting family profited from their name MORE, Steve Hilton and Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonCable news October ratings explode as Fox News hits historic highs Trump aide accuses CNN's Chris Cuomo of breaking quarantine while COVID-19 positive in heated interview Tucker Carlson to interview Hunter Biden business partner and discuss 'new allegations' MORE all by name.

Specifically, the group pointed out a segment in which Carlson reported on a controversial French study that claims that anti-malarial drugs when used with certain antibiotics can be an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE soon touted the treatment as a "game changer," an assertion that was quickly walked back by Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: White House seeks to clarify press release claiming pandemic over | Fauci: COVID vaccine likely not available until next year Fauci: COVID-19 vaccine likely not available until next year Kushner told Woodward in April Trump was 'getting the country back from the doctors' MORE, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and key member of the White House's coronavirus task force. Fauci has urged and cautioned that the treatment is still unproven and more stringent studies and trials need to be conducted before calling it an effective treatment option.

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"Inexcusably, Fox News has violated elementary canons of journalism. In so doing, it has contributed to the spread of a grave pandemic," the end of the letter reads. "Urgently, therefore, in the name of both good journalism and public health, we call upon you to help protect the lives of all Americans—including your elderly viewers—by ensuring that the information you deliver is based on scientific facts." 

As of Thursday morning, there were more than 215,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 5,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Hill has reached out to Fox News for comment.