Fox News host Jeanine Pirro is facing a furious backlash after calling the historic devastation of Covid-19 into question.
“I think we have to be careful now about minimizing this profoundly unsettling, devastating experience that the nation has gone through,” Mr Rivera said, pushing back on comments his fellow panelists had made. “Yes, there is hype… but this is something that historians will look back on and say, my God, this was awful.”
“Ehhh,” Ms Pirro groaned dismissively. “That could be debated.”
As of Thursday, the pandemic has killed more than 846,000 Americans. The global death toll is more than 5.5 million. The virus has also battered the world’s economy, and has left countless survivors with long-term health issues, including heart problems, impaired breathing, strokes and brain damage.
But to Ms Pirro, the idea that the pandemic has been “awful” was debatable. Many on Twitter proved eager to join that debate.
“I’ve been around a long time, and I don’t remember any fun pandemics,” one user tweeted below a clip of Ms Pirro’s words.
“Of course some will not remember it as awful… because they’re dead,” another commented.
This week, Fox News named Ms Pirro as a permanent co-host on The Five, a five-person talk show starring Fox regulars Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino and Jesse Watters.
Of course some will not remember it as awful… because they’re dead.
— allseeingeye (@todaystheday99) January 13, 2022
“The Five continues to be a beloved show by the American audience,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement. “Each of the co-hosts are accomplished and insightful talent with diverse opinions and terrific chemistry who will certainly help drive this ensemble program going forward.”
The promotion came in spite of the legal troubles surrounding Pirro, who was named in one of the biggest lawsuits facing Fox News. Last year, the voting machine company Smartmatic sued the network for $2.7bn, arguing that Pirro and other hosts defamed the company with baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election.
Pirro’s attorneys have said the lawsuit is “meritless” and her comments are protected by the First Amendment.
The Independent has reached out to Fox News for comment.