As social distancing and lockdown measures are extended in many countries, people are starting to get frustrated. In some instances – instead of staying inside, or writing to their representatives – people are starting to defy lockdown and hold physical protests.
Fox News hosts are among those encouraging people to carry out physical protests against stay-at-home orders, potentially endangering the lives of countless others.
In Michigan, a mass protest was organised in defiance of the governor’s stay-at-home orders. Recent figures put the number of deaths in Michigan at 1,900.
Laura Ingraham, a prominent host on FOX news, tweeted in approval and suggested that the same may start to happen in other states.
Initially, protesters were supposed to create traffic gridlock and hold signs from their cars, but a group gathered on the steps of Michigan’s city hall. They said that the damage caused by the economic impact of stay-at-home orders was greater than the damage caused by Covid-19.
Other Fox News hosts, such as Jeanine Pirro, expressed similar sentiments on TV, saying that health officials had "overblown sentiments" and that the American spirit would not ‘take it’. She also said that what had happened in Lansing, Michigan, would start to happen all over the country. On the Fox news website, coverage of protests featured prominently.
Ingraham, Pirro and a number of other Fox News hosts were calling for stricter lockdown measures and more guidance from central government towards the end of March, although they appear to have changed their mind after a few weeks. There’s little evidence to suggest that any states in the US have reached a peak in Covid-19 cases.
Other prominent personalities in right-wing media have expressed frustration at public health measures – pro-Trump commentator Candace Owens tweeted in anger after being asked to wear a mask in a supermarket (she also said that she had been going every day).
Similar protests have taken place in Vancouver, Canada, where a small group of people gathered to protest what they saw as government overreach, and were promptly fined or arrested.