Fox Business Channel host Lou Dobbs was an early skeptic of the grave threat coronavirus posed to the United States. Now, it’s apparent that, while his past statements suggested otherwise, he’s taking the threat very seriously at the moment.
On his Friday evening program, Dobbs was notably absent. That’s because, according to fill-in host David Asman, he was self-quarantining himself after one of his staff members tested positive for COVID-19, The Daily Beast reported.
Dobbs wasn’t showing sign of symptoms, Asman said, “but out of an abundance of caution, he and his team are taking the necessary precautions.”
Early in his reporting on the crisis, Dobbs took on a diminutive tone on coronavirus, calling it a “hoax” put forward by “national left-wing media” to “[play] up fears of the coronavirus” in order to hurt the economy and make Trump look bad. Dobbs’s use of the word “hoax” matched Trump’s, in which he suggested concerns about the disease were exaggerated in order to hurt him politically.
However, Dobbs, in recent days, shifted his messaging — recognizing the threat was real, but still giving Trump positive marks about his response.
Lou Dobbs in self quarantine tonight after claiming the virus was an overblown “hoax” against Trump pic.twitter.com/pvJjYYL4lj
— Fuat Kırcaali (@FuatKircaali) March 22, 2020
Some of his reporting, however, bordered on the comical. Last week, the Fox Business Channel host put up a poll for viewers to respond to, asking them to rate Trump’s response as either “Superb,” “Great,” or “Very Good.” No negative responses were involved in the poll.
Different polling from earlier this month (the legitimate kind) found that Republican respondents overall were not taking coronavirus as seriously as the general population did. While 56 percent of Americans overall believed COVID-19 was a threat in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll published last week, nearly the same rate (54 percent) of Republicans felt it was being “overblown.”
As of Monday morning, 33,018 Americans have tested positive for the disease, with well-over 400 having perished from it so far. Those numbers are expected to rise, as testing increases and the disease continues to spread.
Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr