Fox & Friends Apologizes For Airing False Story on Nashville Coronavirus ‘Cover-Up’


Fox & Friends issued an apology on Monday morning for covering a false report claiming Nashville city officials had covered up good news about the coronavirus.

Fox 17, a Sinclair station in Nashville, retracted their story last week. It alleged that the mayor’s office hid data showing a low spread of coronavirus at restaurants and bars.

The explosive report received ample coverage on Fox News. Tucker Carlson led his Thursday night show with the story, citing it as “conclusive proof” that “leaders are lying” about America’s response to the virus.

Calling the story proof of a “cover-up,” Carlson concluded the Nashville mayor was lying in order to maintain power over the city’s population.

CNN reporter Oliver Darcy took a look at the Fox 17 story, noting that it contained “easily debunkable” claims. Nashville paper The Tennesseean also debunked the false report on Friday, before it was retracted. The story seems to have been based on a misreading of internal emails, which were deemed nefarious by the Fox 19 reporter.

The station deleted the story from its website and issued an on-air apology on Friday night.

“In a segment that aired earlier this week, we incorrectly asserted that Mayor Cooper’s office withheld COVID-19 data from the public, which implied that there had been a cover up,” the station told CNN in a statement. “We want to clarify that we do not believe there was any cover-up, and we apologize for the error and oversight in our reporting.”

“We continue to have questions about the level of transparency that the government showed to the restaurant and bar industry—whose livelihood was on the line,” they continued. “As journalists, we will continue to ask those questions and hold elected officials accountable.”

Carlson was not alone in covering the story on Fox News. Prime time host Laura Ingraham declared it evidence of a “a sinister Covid cover-up” and Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade demanded the mayor of Nashville’s resignation.

On Monday Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy delivered an apology for “any confusion” caused by their coverage of the story.

“We wanted to give you update on a story we shared with you last week,” Doocy said. “On Friday, we reported on allegations that the mayor of Nashville had hidden coronavirus numbers. That was according to our local Nashville Fox affiliate.”

“They have since retracted their story. And we now know the mayor’s office did apparently not conceal those numbers and did release them to the public and so this morning on this Monday we wanted to apologize for any confusion,” Doocy said.

Fox News told Mediaite that Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham will be addressing the retraction on their shows Monday evening.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin