The four independent academic papers "show a correspondence between watching the network and employing less stringent COVID-19 safety measures, a claim Fox calls 'cherry-picking," reports The Hollywood Reporter's Gary Baum, adding: "Fox News’ coronavirus coverage is increasingly the focus of academic research which has concluded the network contributed to an adverse public health situation during the pandemic. All of the studies are still working papers, meaning none have yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Still, the groups’ individual work — developed at the outset without knowledge of each other — is in itself 'mutually affirming,' in the words of Elliott Ash, the chair of law, economics and data science at ETH Zurich and member of one of the research coteries. The first paper, which became public in April, examined how Fox’s two most popular shows, Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight, had diverged in their coverage of COVID-19 early on. Tucker Carlson’s approach was more urgent than that of Sean Hannity — with clear results on viewers. 'Misinformation During a Pandemic,' published by the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, determined that 'greater exposure to Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight increased the number of total cases and deaths in the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic.' The three subsequent studies — which use Fox’s relative cable channel position across local markets to gauge the effect of the network on consumer behavior — have since arrived at a similar conclusion: Fox’s editorial coverage persuaded its viewership away from the necessity of physical distancing, which public health authorities believe would’ve helped stem the spread of the pandemic."