Insure Our Future campaign says Allstate, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and USAA have a long history of standing by Fox’s science denial and disinformation.
WASHINGTON, DC — Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media watchdog, is warning that major insurance companies that have a long history of standing by Fox’s climate denial and disinformation are now among the top sponsors of Fox’s coronavirus coverage and therefore complicit in the spread of dangerous medical misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent public health threat in the United States.
Today, Media Matters released a report showing that forty-three insurance companies ran more than 3,000 advertisements on Fox News throughout March and April, making the insurance industry among the major sponsors of Fox’s coronavirus coverage. Allstate, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and USAA — which combined ran more than 1,700 ads — accounted for more than half of all insurance company ads featured on Fox News during the two-month period. Four of the five companies — Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and USAA — were among the network’s top 10 advertisers.
“By placing ads on Fox News, the insurance industry is underwriting the network’s dangerous misinformation. For years, Fox News has served as a hub for misinformation and other tactics intended to distract from and dismiss the urgency of the climate crisis–and the credibility of those issuing warnings. Now the network is using those same reckless tactics to misinform and downplay the severity of the coronavirus pandemic at the expense of its audience and the public writ large,” said Allison Fisher, Media Matters Climate and Energy Program Director.
Media Matters has systematically documented the network’s deceptive coronavirus coverage. Among other issues, Fox’s coronavirus coverage has included false claims that the pandemic is a preview of the world under bold climate change policies like the Green New Deal, attacked the modeling that informs COVID-19 and climate change predictions, and downplayed the coronavirus by employing tactics long used to deny climate change.
“Dangerous science denial is part of the Murdoch and Fox News playbook. I’ve watched them spread climate change denial for years. Insurance companies – which claim to be committed to science-based decision making and risk management – should have pulled their advertising money a long time ago. I urge Liberty Mutual and others to cut all ties immediately given that Fox is actively spreading misinformation during a pandemic that is killing tens of thousands of people,” said Professor Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University.
Six different public polls released last month showed that Fox viewers were more likely to believe the press had exaggerated the risks of the coronavirus — and were taking the pandemic less seriously — than people who get their news from other sources.
“For partisan, ideological, and giant corporate-friendly reasons, Fox News has become the anti-public health network. Insurance companies that claim to care about health and science should be racing to disassociate themselves from Fox News,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “By downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, upselling unproven medical treatments, and downplaying the severity of the worsening climate crisis, Fox News is shaping public policy and public views in ways that will result in more people needlessly becoming sick and dying.”
Public Citizen, Greenpeace USA, and Rainforest Action Network are members of Insure our Future, a campaign demanding that U.S. insurers stop making climate change worse by ending insurance for and investments in fossil fuels. In conjunction with the report, today Greenpeace USA launched an online petition demanding that Liberty Mutual stop advertising on Fox News. Liberty Mutual and other U.S. insurance companies have already come under fire from Insure Our Future for their role in backing fossil fuels and fueling the climate crisis.
“Fox News is a major disease vector, spreading scientific disinformation and climate denial across its platforms. It’s simply unconscionable that insurance companies like Liberty Mutual — which claim to be committed to scientific rigor — continue to give them advertising dollars, especially as we’re fighting COVID-19. With Fox doubling down on its dangerous science denial during a global pandemic, Liberty Mutual and other insurers must finally pull their funding,” said Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA.
Insurance companies continue to be among the biggest advertisers on Fox at a time when the network is under intense scrutiny — and possible liability — for spreading dangerous misinformation about, and downplaying the severity of, the coronavirus outbreak.
“Insurance companies claim to be committed to scientific rigor and risk management, and yet they continue to funnel money into Fox News’ COVID-19 misinformation and climate change denial,” said Elana Sulakshana, Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. “From advertising on Fox News to insuring and investing in fossil fuels, companies like Liberty Mutual are putting profit above the health and safety of communities and the planet.”
VIEW A FULL LIST OF THE INSURANCE COMPANIES MOST FREQUENTLY ADVERTISING ON FOX NEWS HERE: https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/these-are-fox-news-leading-advertisers
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For more information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Myriam Fallon with Insure Our Future, 708.546.9001, [email protected]
The full report can be viewed here: https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/insurance-companies-are-among-top-sponsors-foxs-dangerous-coronavirus-and-climate-coverage