On Wednesday, Fox 17 in Nashville, a Sinclair-owned station, published what sounded like an explosive report. The story alleged that the mayor’s office covered up data showing low spread of the coronavirus at restaurants and bars. It essentially suggested that city officials did not disclose the info so that they could justify keeping local businesses shut down.
The story — since taken down — reverberated through the right-wing media universe. It was featured on sites like Breitbart, The Daily Wire and The Gateway Pundit, and ultimately made its way up to major figures like Donald Trump Jr. After the mayor’s office put out a statement demanding an apology, Fox 17 removed its story from its website.
The station then issued this statement: “In a segment that aired earlier this week, we incorrectly asserted that Mayor Cooper’s office withheld COVID-19 data from the public, which implied that there had been a cover up. We want to clarify that we do not believe there was any cover-up, and we apologize for the error and oversight in our reporting.”
Junior’s false tweet is still up.
The Dem Mayor of Nashville KNOWINGLY LIED ABOUT COVID DATA to justify shutting down bars & restaurants, killing countless jobs & small businesses in the process.
Everyone involved should face jail time. How many other Dem run cities is this happening in?https://t.co/8anzs5Jgba
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 17, 2020
Tennesseans deserve transparency, and businesses must be treated fairly. Instead, the City of Nashville covered-up the data and shut down the economy. Mayor Cooper treated the rioting mob better than business owners. https://t.co/wtqMclRHwW
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) September 18, 2020
BREAKING: @FOXNashville retracts report accusing @JohnCooper4Nash of a cover-up in reporting #COVID19 numbers for Nashville bars. “We don’t have evidence of a cover-up and apologize for the error.” This after @DonaldJTrumpJr and @TuckerCarlson made the story go viral. https://t.co/Xt2MqH2Gtc pic.twitter.com/GBroI9hW82
— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) September 19, 2020