Coronavirus Doesn’t Concern 12% of Americans, Most of Whom Watch Fox News, New Poll Says

Two-thirds of those who said they are “very concerned” watch CNN or MSNBC

Sean Hannity Fox News
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

While the majority of Americans are beginning to understand the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows there’s still a small minority that is unconcerned… and most of them watch Fox News.

The poll, which was conducted by consumer research firm CivicScience, asked 1,452 Americans how concerned they were about the coronavirus spread and which cable news network they tend to watch the most — 54% said they were “very concerned,” while 33% said they were “somewhat concerned” and 12% said they were “not concerned at all.”

Of the 12% of unconcerned individuals, 59% said that they most often watch Fox News as their cable news network of choice, while 34% said they rarely or never watch cable news. By comparison, two-thirds of those who said they were “very concerned” said that they watch either CNN or MSNBC, compared to a combined 7% who said they were unconcerned and watch either of those two networks.

Many pundits on Fox News downplayed the danger of the coronavirus spread prior to the decision by the Trump Administration to declare it a national emergency, with Sean Hannity calling the disease’s spread a “hoax” on March 9 before denying that he ever did so just nine days later. On Feb. 25, Laura Ingraham told her viewers that Democrats were using the virus as “a new pathway for hitting President Trump.” A notable exception was Tucker Carlson, who, while not criticizing Trump, spoke about the seriousness of the pandemic on recent broadcasts.

“People you trust — people you probably voted for — have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Carlson said last week. “Though these people have good intentions as they say this — many of them, anyway ― they may not know any better. Maybe they’re just not paying attention or maybe they believe they’re serving some higher cause by shading reality.”

Internally, Fox News has taken measures to protect its employees, allowing non-essential staff to work remotely and airing many broadcasts over the past week from the anchors’ homes. The studio has also expanded its coverage of the pandemic, adding several medical experts to its team of analysts. Unfortunately, the news outlet’s New York headquarters was hit with four positive tests for the virus, a situation that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns will become more common, as he estimated at a Sunday public briefing that 40-80% of state residents would contract COVID-19.