Fox News faced serious backlash after several of its anchors downplayed the severity of coronavirus in the weeks leading up to the outbreak. The Fox Business Network recently announced it had parted ways with talk show host/author Trish Regan, who dismissed the deadly disease as a Democratic "scam" that was nothing more than "another attempt to impeach the president."
Regan's on-air comments, which were made on March 9—ignited widespread criticism, as her remarks were characterized as misleading, dangerous, and irresponsible. On Friday, Fox News confirmed Regan was leaving the network.
"We thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors," Fox News said in a statement. "We will continue our reduced live prime time schedule for the foreseeable future in an effort to allocate staff resources to continuous breaking news coverage on the Coronavirus crisis."
Though Fox Business has not provided an explanation for Regan's departure, there are reports that the network is now concerned it will be held liable for any "misleading" coverage/commentary regarding COVID-19. Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman shared this information during a Sunday appearance on MSNBC's AM Joy.
"We saw Trish Regan, who had a show on Fox Business, come out and essentially just label it all a fraud. She's now no longer there. I don't know what happened with her show but I guess it's not airing anymore ..." host Joy Reid said, as reported by Media Matters. "It's interesting to have to watch them have to confront reality, that as you say, is deadly reality, that they can't cover for Trump on this. There's no way they can keep doing it ... How are they handling it?"
Sherman claimed the network is worried about potential lawsuits.
"When I've been talking to Fox insiders over the last few days, there's a real concern inside the network that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this I've heard Trish Regan's being taken off the air is, you know, reflective of this concern that Fox News is in big trouble by downplaying this virus," he said.