In the first 10 days of March, some of the commentators on Fox News and Fox Business played down the threat of what would soon be recognized as a pandemic.
Many of the networks’ elderly, pro-Trump viewers responded to the coverage and the president’s public statements by taking the virus less seriously than others.
But one elderly Fox News viewer, a crucial supporter of President Trump, took the threat seriously: The channel’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who was to celebrate his 89th birthday on March 11.
On March 8, as the virus was spreading, the Murdoch family called off a planned party out of concern for the patriarch’s health, according to a person familiar with the cancellation. There were about 20 people on the guest list.