It's been reported that a certain part of the conservative media in the US is highly skeptical of the Covid-19 death figures, suggesting they are probably overcounted e.g.

Fox News’s Brit Hume, who has previously tweeted that New York’s “fatality numbers are inflated”, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s late-night show on Tuesday to claim that any person with the virus is being counted as a Covid-19 death “regardless of what else may be wrong”. Carlson responded by saying, “There may be reasons people seek an inaccurate death count,” adding: “When journalists work with numbers, there sometimes is an agenda.”

The right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, who received the presidential medal of freedom from Trump, previously dismissed Covid-19 as similar to the “common cold” but changed tack recently to claim: “It’s admittedly speculation, but … what if we are recording a bunch of deaths to coronavirus which really should not be chalked up to coronavirus?”

These views/suggestion have of course been rebutted by officials like Fauci... who generally described such views as "conspiracy theory"... and even by Trump:

However, the president has yet to follow suit by questioning the Covid-19 figures, telling reporters that he thinks the states have been “pretty accurate on the death count”.

So how do these conservative media personalities explain [away] the NYC freezer trucks full of dead that even president Trump remarked?

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    Regarding the close reasons, I disagree that what Rush Limbaugh says is not relevant to politics. He has a large following, concentrated on a certain side of the political spectrum. (Likewise for Fox News top anchors.) The fact that Trump gave Limbaugh an award is the "icing on the cake" for that, i.e. recognition of Limbaugh's influence. Wikipedia says Limbaugh is "one of the premiere voices of the conservative movement in the United States since the 1990s". Apr 12, 2020 at 10:01
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    It’s tough since debunking crazy conspiracy theories is more of a Skeptics thing, but when one major party in the US has made conspiracy theories the basis of policy, we probably need to be able to ask about them here in some form
    – divibisan
    Apr 12, 2020 at 22:25
  • @divibisan can we be kind and assume that only a minority of Republican voters side with Limbaugh? even if POTUS decided on the Medal of Freedom for him? Apr 13, 2020 at 2:04
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica No, you’re right, I did not mean to be that harsh. What I was trying to say was that, whether they’re literally believed or not, these theories are influencing policy and so might be a valid topic for this site. Limbaugh isn’t just a random crazy person; there are powerful people who listen to him and his ideas have influence
    – divibisan
    Apr 13, 2020 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


The answer seems to be (at least for Limbaugh) that he decided to "investigate" that by looking at an irrelevant place, i.e. one with a low reported death toll. As one of his critics says:

Then on Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh went on a rant and attacked fellow conservative Matt Drudge for fearmongering about overcrowded hospitals.

If you look at the drive-by media, you would believe there is not a single hospital bed in this country, right? You have been led to believe that every hospital is overflowing. That dead bodies are in body bags and refrigerated trucks that are being parked off to landfills or whatever. I mean, some of the most incredible reporting I have seen, and it is in New York, it is in Washington D.C., Maryland, the Eastern Seaboard states. There's just not a hospital bed around, the hospitals are overflowing. If you have to go to a hospital you may as just well pack it in and die. So I wanted to find out what the hospitalization rates were here in Palm Beach County.

To defend his moronic take on the hospitalization numbers, he recites data on Palm Beach County--NOT the epicenter of infected zones like New York City. Somehow that's supposed to justify his attacks on those reporting that hospitals with virus outbreak centers are understaffed, undersupplied and overcrowded with dead bodies piling up.

He might as well used data from American Samoa to defend his opinion.

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