A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
A seemingly small act from a pair of online personalities Wednesday spoke volumes about cable news’ highest-rated network and its supposed commitment to accurately informing the public amid this pandemic.
Fox News might be working hard to whitewash its past coverage and convince the public that it is taking the coronavirus pandemic with the upmost seriousness, but its actions — or apparent lack of action, in this case — speak louder than its words.
“Diamond & Silk” might not seem like a duo worth your attention, but the pro-Trump sisters command a sizable audience that includes the President of the United States. They are also paid by Fox, where the two have a Fox Nation show. And they appear on the network’s programming.
Over the last few weeks, the duo has advanced all sorts of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. They’ve questioned the death toll. They’ve questioned whether the virus is being “deliberately spread.” They’ve suggested the “Deep State” is working “behind the scenes” and that it is “engineered.” On and on and on it goes.
On Wednesday, “Diamond & Silk” posted a tweet. “The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment,” the duo declared. “Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!”
Twitter promptly took action against the tweet for violating its rules against coronavirus misinformation. The suggestion from the Fox News personalities is clearly dangerous. People should not be “out in the environment.” Twitter required the two to remove the tweet in order to regain access to their account.
But while Twitter was the responsible outlet and declined to allow “Diamond & Silk” to spread their hazardous misinformation on its platform, Fox News fell silent. I sent a Fox News spokesperson requests for comment on the duo’s Wednesday tweet. I never heard back. Apparently the request was not even worth a reply.
That’s how far down the rabbit hole we are. Where two fairly prominent Fox News personalities — who have been elevated on numerous occasions by the President and Republican lawmakers — can promote wild conspiracy theories and dangerous misinformation and it does not even merit a response from the network’s public relations office.
The next time you see a story about how serious Fox News is taking coronavirus, or a fancy promo from the network offering a similar message, remember this: The network is paying “Diamond & Silk” for their opinions and it doesn’t seem to care much about the dangerous misinformation they disseminate.