MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan didn’t mince words on Monday night over the damage he feels Fox News has caused, citing both the network’s Iraq War advocacy and its coverage of the pandemic to claim that “people actually die as a result of watching” the conservative news channel.
Hosting Hasan and New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg to discuss the late Colin Powell, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes contrasted Powell’s role in misleading the American public into the Iraq War with Fox News’ efforts to “further their agenda” by using Powell’s death from COVID-19 to “discredit vaccines.”
“We are experiencing the deadliest bout of misinformation in our lifetimes, much of it coming from the same network that pushed the lies about the weapons of mass destruction, though they were not alone in that,” Hayes added.
After Goldberg and Hayes noted how Powell’s role in selling the public on the Iraq War ended up destroying American trust in institutions like the media, Hasan said he was glad they “drew a straight line” between Iraq and the current pandemic because there are a “couple of ironies.”
“The first [irony] is that Colin Powell was part of an administration that misled the American people into a war that cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives,” he declared. “And then today, he dies from complications from a disease that spread unchecked through America because another Republican administration misled the American people. That’s the first irony.”
Saying the second irony was “the Fox News role,” Hasan insisted that Iraq “is what really has destroyed Americans’ trust in the media.” While he conceded that “all media organizations have to own up to the role in that, including this network,” he asserted that Fox News “was at the center of that propaganda.”
Hasan then referenced a 2015 poll that found 52 percent of Fox viewers believed at the time that the U.S. had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, compared to only 14 percent of MSNBC viewers. (It has long been determined that Iraq abandoned its WMD program in the early 1990s and destroyed its stockpile of chemical and biological weapons years before the invasion.)
Claiming that the lies that Fox News told about Iraq were “believed on a completely different level” by the network’s viewers compared to other outlets, Hasan said the same thing applied with the pandemic.
“Again and again, Fox News is this misinformation machine, and we go, ‘Hahaha, look how silly they are. Hahaha, look how eccentric they are.’ No,” the progressive host exclaimed. “People actually die as a result of watching Fox News, whether it’s going to war in Iraq or the pandemic.”