A novel study looking at impacts of coverage of COVID-19 by two Fox News shows in the United States – Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight – on viewers’ behavior and downstream health outcomes. Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by the coronavirus from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the risks associated with the virus before gradually adjusting his position starting late February. Hannity’s viewers changed behavior in response to the virus later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson’s viewers changed behavior earlier. Greater viewership of Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight is strongly associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the early stages of the pandemic. The researchers say that provision of misinformation in the early stages of a pandemic can have important consequences for how a disease ultimately affects the population.
Link to paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3580487