CNN anchor Brianna Keilar on Thursday afternoon tore into rival cable-news network Fox News for misinforming the public and President Donald Trump on the coronavirus pandemic, calling the channel a “vector” for the “virus” of “misinformation.”
Keilar, who has recently carved out a niche for herself as a combative interviewer who regularly calls out Team Trump and Fox News, took aim at the conservative network for influencing the president with faux science and contrarianism on the virus that’s killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
“We have pointed out that millions go to Fox News for information, or should I say misinformation, and that includes the president,” she said during Thursday’s broadcast of CNN Newsroom. “If you only watched Fox News, you might think hydroxychloroquine is to coronavirus what Tylenol is to a headache, or that gathering in large crowds indoors without masks is safe.”
The CNN anchor then played a clip of frequent Laura Ingraham guest Dr. Ramin Oskoui declaring Wednesday night that there are “decades of medical science” that show “masks do nothing” to stem the spread of the virus. (Oskoui, by the way, is one of the doctors Ingraham brought to the White House to convince Trump to push hydroxychloroquine, which has shown to be ineffective as a COVID-19 treatment.)
“That is just false, it’s nonsense and it’s dangerous,” Keilar exclaimed. “It’s like telling people go ahead and smoke. It’s actually healthy for you.”
She then cited a Brigham Young University study showing that cloth masks can stop 90 percent or more of droplets that carry the virus. She also noted that countries where mask-wearing is prevalent have seen a significant drop in the virus’ growth rate.
“If mask usage increased from 60 up to 95 percent, we would save 120,000 of those lives, but Dr. Don’t Wear a Mask, oh, please go on,” she snarked.
Playing another clip of Dr. Oskoui insisting that “natural herd immunity” would cause the virus to die out, the outspoken CNN host slammed White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for “falsely claiming” the media had made up the controversial practice and that the president wasn’t considering it.
“Well, the president of course, contradicted that at least twice this week,” Keilar pointed out.
Keilar next took aim at former New York Times reporter and current spy-novel author Alex Berenson, who has become a frequent guest and coronavirus “expert” on Fox News of late due to his contrarian takes on the pandemic. Berenson, in the same Ingraham Angle segment with Oskoui on Wednesday, blasted pandemic models for frequently being wrong on the predicted number of deaths.
“It’s like they don’t even bother looking at the facts before they go on TV,” she stated. “The models, they have been wrong but not in the way that guest claims. The prevailing model, which the White House has used and uses, underestimated the number of deaths and cases we would have.”
Keilar went on to highlight the number of time the IHME model predicted lower numbers of American deaths throughout the crisis, recalling that in July the model projected 200,000 Americans would die by November—a number the United States is currently on the cusp of exceeding.
After taking issue with Berenson's claim that the media and Democrats are “trying to panic the country” before the election about the dangers of the virus, Keilar again noted the high number of American deaths before pivoting to CDC Director Robert Redfield touting mask-wearing to Congress on Wednesday.
“When CDC Director Dr. Redfield testified under oath that masks could be more powerful than a vaccine, he was actually giving a lifeline to the president’s re-election chances by saying that,” she asserted.
“The president responded to that by demeaning Redfield and slapping him down and Fox News ran with it, they enabled it,” Keilar concluded, adding, “Misinformation is a virus unto itself. And Fox News is the vector.”