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Fox News viewers use fewer Covid-19 safety precautions than CNN viewers, study finds

Viewers who trust Fox News coverage more than CNN’s are slightly less likely to take preventative measures against the novel coronavirus and a little more likely to put themselves at risk, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal BMJ Global Health.



Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham are posing for a picture


© Pool/Fox News


“Health messaging, despite being one of the few effective ways to slow down the spread of the virus in the absence of a vaccine, is doomed to fail if the media prioritize political interests over population health,” said study authors Erfei Zhao and Qiao Wu, who are both PhD students at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: trump siegel split


© getty images/fox news
trump siegel split

Among the nearly 5,000 adults who participated in an online survey every two weeks from March to June, around 29% said they trusted CNN more than Fox; about half (52%) expressed no preference, and one in five (20%) said they trusted Fox more than CNN.

Devotees of Fox News consistently practiced more risky behaviors — such as going out to a bar or club, attending gatherings of more than 10 people or visiting others in their homes — than CNN viewers, the study found.

In addition, the study found Fox News enthusiasts consistently practiced fewer preventative measures — such as wearing a mask, sanitizing hands, avoiding restaurants and canceling social plans — than CNN fans.

“The most we can take away from the study is that there is a correlation between news preference (at the beginning of the study) and frequency of infection-mitigating behaviors — a relationship that strengthens over time,” said Christopher Federico, who directs the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Political Psychology, in an email.

“This ‘suggests’ that there is something about the different news sources that influences behavior, but we cannot conclude that for sure given the methodology,” said Federico, who was not involved in the study.

The study’s authors noted that the research was “observational, and as such, can’t establish cause.”

“That said, there is some evidence from other studies — using better methodologies — that exposure to Fox does have a causal effect on certain behaviors (e.g., voting),” Federico said.

Trust in news seems to affect behavior

The new study analyzed data from the Understanding America Study, an ongoing longitudinal national online survey of approximately 9,000 US adults. Every two weeks from March 10 to June 9, participants were asked questions about how they had protected themselves from Covid-19 over the last seven days, among other things.

The final analysis looked at data from 4,863 respondents who completed questionnaires every two weeks without fail.

CNN viewers were most likely to follow protective guidelines issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and others, followed by those who had no preference in their media choice.

Viewers who trusted CNN for their news on Covid-19 engaged in an average of 3.85 preventative behaviors during the study period, while people who

CNN medical analyst: I’d perform psychiatric evaluation on Trump if he were my patient

Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and visiting professor at George Washington University, said she would perform a psychiatric evaluation on President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE if he were her patient and left the hospital while still infected with the novel coronavirus “to go for a car ride.”

“If @realDonaldTrump were my patient, in unstable condition + contagious illness, & he suddenly left the hospital to go for a car ride that endangers himself & others: I’d call security to restrain him then perform a psychiatric evaluation to examine his decision-making capacity,” she tweeted on late Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, Trump, who was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment last week after confirming he and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGOP lawmaker calls on Pelosi to apologize for response to Trump contracting coronavirus White House gave New Jersey officials list of 206 people at Trump’s Thursday fundraiser events Photo of Mark Meadows rubbing his head during update on Trump’s health goes viral MORE tested positive for coronavirus, was seen riding in a motorcade and waving at supporters during a “surprise” trip around the hospital.

Trump and Secret Service agents were seen wearing masks inside the vehicle. 

Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said Trump “took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed.”

The official added that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including PPE. The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

Deere declined to say if the president requested the move. 

The drive-by sparked criticism online from those who said the move put others who rode in the vehicle with Trump  at unnecessary risk. 

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed. “They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. This is insanity.”

Wen previously served as president of Planned Parenthood before being removed from the organization last year due to “philosophical differences” she said she had with new board chairs “over the direction and future” of the organization. She was the first physician to head Planned Parenthood in years.

–Updated at 7:47 a.m.