One day after Fox News executives sent a memo to staffers emphasizing the network's duty to keep its viewers informed with accurate information about the coronavirus crisis, Fox & Friends guest Jerry Falwell Jr. suggested the North Koreans worked in concert with China to create the virus specifically to harm America.
Falwell, who is the president of Liberty University and a top supporter of President Donald Trump, was asked how felt about the mass cancellations of schools and universities. After saying students have begged his school not to shut down, Falwell noted they’ve just eliminated large crowds before taking aim at the “overreaction” to the pandemic.
“You know, it's just strange to me how so many are overreacting,” the evangelical leader declared. “The H1N1 virus, in 2009, killed 17,000 people. It was the flu, also, I think. And there was not the same hype. It was—you just didn't see it on the news 24/7. And it makes you wonder if there's a political reason for that.”
Seemingly parroting other Fox hosts who have called the outbreak a Democratic “impeachment scam,” Falwell claimed that since “impeachment didn’t work” that maybe this is “their next attempt to get Trump.”
Apparently not satisfied with accusing Democrats of weaponizing the virus to take down Trump, Falwell took it several steps further.
“The owner of a restaurant asked me last night, he said, ‘Do you remember the North Korean leader promised a Christmas present for America, back in December?’” Falwell exclaimed. “‘Could it be they got together with China, and this is that present?’ I don’t know. But it really is something strange going on.”
Despite Falwell dropping some insane and highly irresponsible speculation right at their feet, the Fox & Friends hosts didn’t push back or dispute him at all, instead moving on to another question about Liberty continuing classes.
In its memo to staff this week, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and network president Jay Wallace warned employees about the risks of the virus while highlighting the steps the network would take to combat the spread of COVID-19. They also noted how the network has a responsibility to their audience to take the outbreak seriously.
“Viewers rely on us to stay informed during a crisis of this magnitude and we are providing an important public service to our audience by functioning as a resource for all Americans,” the memo read.