'Misinformation machine': MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan warns 'people actually die' from believing Fox News’ 'reckless' lies

'Misinformation machine': MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan warns 'people actually die' from believing Fox News’ 'reckless' lies
Image via Screengrab.

MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan, a progressive firebrand, can be delightfully blunt. And he was exactly that on Monday night, October 18, when he slammed the type of lies, distortions and misinformation that Fox News has been promoting about the COVID-19 pandemic and argued that "people actually die" from taking Fox News seriously.

Hasan, a native of the U.K. who hosts a Sunday night show on MSNBC, appeared as a guest on his colleague Chris Hayes' show on October 18 — and he discussed the death of Gen. Colin Powell, a moderate ex-Republican who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush. Powell had died of COVID-19 earlier in the day at the age of 84; he was also battling cancer.

Powell was a very rare example of someone who died from COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Anti-vaxxer extremists have been claiming that Powell's death shows that vaccines don't work when in fact, the vast majority of COVID-19 "breakthrough" infections are not fatal. COVID-19 vaccines work, and they save lives.

Hasan told Hayes and liberal New York times columnist Michelle Goldberg (a fellow guest) that Fox News shamelessly promoted lies about the Iraq War just as it shamelessly promoted lies about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Colin Powell was part of an administration that misled the American people into a war that cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives — and then today, he dies of complications from a disease that spread unchecked through America because another Republican administration misled the American people," Hasan explained. "That's the first irony. The second irony…. The Fox News role here."

Hasan went on to say that with the Iraq War, "Fox was at the center of that Republican administration propaganda campaign. A few years ago, there was a poll that came out that showed that even in 2015, 52% of Fox News viewers believed that we had found WMDs in Iraq — in 2015! — compared to 14% of MSNBC viewers, I would just point out."

Hasan continued, "So, it's very important to point out that the same lies that were told about Iraq — that were believed on a completely different level by Fox viewers compared to everyone else — the same thing on COVID. You see it with the studies done on Sean Hannity's viewers at the start of the pandemic. Again and again, Fox News is this misinformation machine. We go, 'Ha ha ha, look how silly they are. Ha ha ha, look how eccentric they are.' No, people actually die as a result of watching Fox News, whether it's going to war in Iraq or the pandemic."

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