Fox’s flagship ‘straight news’ show promotes fake COVID study to boost Republican policies

Committee to Unleash Prosperity Rewrites Death Numbers in Red States with Fake Stat: ‘Metabolic-Health Adjustment’

In order to arrive at the favored conclusion, the report of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity actually looked at more than health outcomes. The group’s press release explains that it used three metrics for its findings – COVID-19 deaths, economic performance and school openings – and said they were ‘equally weighted’ in the analysis. . The result is that the question of saving lives only counts for a third of the calculation. The study also merely rehashes in pseudo-scientific form Moore’s longstanding assertion that saving lives in the pandemic might not be “worth trillions of dollars in losses” and that simply allowing the virus to spread was “a better strategy” than to endure the pandemic. economic costs of lockdowns.

The concept of age-adjusted deaths in populations is a tricky one. While this is a legitimate investigative lead, Fox News has exploited it since the start of the pandemic to create a nonchalant response to COVID-19 deaths among the elderly. Examining this metric from a neutral source shows some interesting effects, but the lowest performing state ranks would still be those led by Republicans such as Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

However, Moore and his compatriots on the Committee to Unleash Prosperity went a step further by embedding a new metric in the fine print of their purported study. They call this an adjustment for “metabolic health” in different populations – “the pre-pandemic prevalence of obesity and diabetes.” But it really amounts to a manipulation of statistics to declare that higher death rates should be ignored in populations that were less healthy to begin with, and act as if public health responses can be separated from overall health. public.

Much of the discourse on the role of obesity in COVID-19 deaths has framed it as “another ongoing pandemic”, and the role of diabetes has been addressed in the media as a “train wreck public health” and evidence of “America’s diabetes crisis. But the Committee to Unleash Prosperity instead treats these deaths as a mitigating factor in the public health responses of the most affected states. It’s almost as if, by the standards of Moore and his co-authors, the death of unhealthy people isn’t a problem at all.

As a result of this statistical quibbling, death rates in the South and some other Republican-run states have been magically revised downwards, while deaths have been “adjusted” dramatically higher in many states. Democrats — skewing the data to make blue states look like the worst offenders.

“NV, NY, NJ, and DC were the four states with the highest metabolism-adjusted mortality, although none are in the top four without the adjustment,” the report reads — as if that’s a good thing for the credibility of the authors. — because these four places all have obesity and diabetes rates below the national average. By contrast, in the real-world stats they started with, the worst contenders were all red states.

Fox News has waged a two-year propaganda campaign against public health, during which it lied about COVID-19 vaccines, promoted bogus cures, encouraged the spread of the virus and turned people who defied public health measures as heroes of the culture war even though their actions killed them. Fox also doesn’t clearly believe what it preaches — see its own corporate vaccination and testing policies — but the network pursues this framing nonetheless because it’s “great for the ratings.”

Who knows, maybe the network can come up with a study showing that watching Fox News is good for surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, once analysts can adjust to the comorbidities associated with watching Fox News.