Fox News COVID Messaging Weirdly Incoherent, But All Of It Says You Should Just Go Die
On the 1980s series "V," the evil alien visitors launched a disinformation propaganda campaign against scientists, who they feared might figure out they were actually people-eating lizards underneath cheap TV makeup. As a kid, this struck me as an obvious Nazi allegory with scientists replacing historically marginalized groups. Besides, who'd be dumb enough to join an anti-science, anti-expert bandwagon?
If you live long enough, everything stupid from your childhood becomes reality.
Professional terrible person Laura Ingraham whined Monday night on her white power hour that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "still doesn't want us to be free" because it advises that even vaccinated people avoid medium and large size gatherings and non-essential travel. The CDC is urging caution during a critical period, which Ingraham declared is “completely insane."
Ingraham thinks she's smarter than CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky. She's not. Ingraham claimed the reasonable COVID-19 guidance Walensky shared is proof that “experts" are obsessed with total control over Americans.
The vaccines were sold as a way to get our lives back, but obviously that's not true.
The vaccines are how we can avoid another 500,000 COVID-19 deaths. That's their primary “selling point," although I'll probably enjoy dining in a restaurant again as long as they don't mind that I'm wearing sweat pants. Ingraham bashed epidemiologist and former Biden coronavirus adviser Michael Osterholm because he said he wouldn't go inside a crowded restaurant now, even if vaccinated. That's not unreasonable. Vaccines aren't 100 percent effective like one of those miracle Star Trek cures, and only about 10 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
Russia is reportedly attempting to undermine public faith in the COVID-19 vaccines, and Fox News has joined the disinformation campaign. Tucker Carlson regularly invites former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson onto his show. Berenson is a coronavirus skeptic and an anti-masker — you know, a moron. He's promoted the fiction that vaccines aren't safe at all, and Carlson himself likes to complain that the “experts" won't permit you to even “question the vaccine."
jfc. Berensen tells Tucker's huge audience that "It is increasingly clear that the vaccines aren't quite as effecti… https://t.co/gECRl5Manl— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz)1615298577.0
Carlson could distrust vaccines, but he simultaneously argues that lockdowns and mask mandates are “totalitarian." Sean Hannity, who hosts the least racist hour of the Fox New primetime lineup, expressed doubts about getting vaccinated, as he'd heard scary things from stupid people. This might seem like whiplash programming: Carlson and Hannity are both “vaccines will kill you" but Ingraham is like, “hey, eight people are vaccinated! Let's burn those masks and party!" The message is diabolically consistent, though: You can't trust the so-called “experts."
Ingraham thinks we've spent so much time listening to experts we've “abandoned our common sense," which would obviously tell us to ignore medical experts and do whatever the hell we want. (We should probably tell our common sense to lay off the boilermakers before lunch.)
Last summer Dr. [Robert] Redfield said masks were as good as vaccines, and if we wore masks for about two months, it would basically be over. Instead, cases spiked.
Back in September, Dr. Redfield was begging fools to wear masks and he said that facial coverings were "more guaranteed to protect" wearers against COVID-19 than a vaccine that did not yet exist. The FDA had committed to produce a vaccine that was at least 50 percent effective. Maybe Ingraham would play Russian Roulette with those odds, but I'd keep wearing a mask.
Ingraham grossly linked the late summer spike in COVID-19 cases to Dr. Redfield's statements about masks. She's the one who spent the summer opposing mask mandates and questioning whether masks work at all.
She also played “gotcha" with Dr. Anthony Fauci because a year ago he claimed there was no reason that most people should wear a mask. Yes, he said this, but it was months before we knew the full extent of asymptomatic spread.
Back in January, Fox News host Steve Hilton suggested that maybe Dr. Fauci himself caused the coronavirus. Whenever you're watching, someone on the network is demonizing the very people Americans should trust regardless of politics. When science becomes partisan, people die. Russia is probably thrilled.
Ingraham declared that it's time for Americans “to break free of the cycle of failed experts and frankly unconstitutional orders."
If you are trapped in a blue state that won't open up, that denies the data and the science, that bows to the teachers unions, it's time to get — get up and either leave altogether, or get involved in politics, on the local level, on the state level, in any way you can. A year later, it's time to retire or just ignore the control freaks. It's time to declare victory and move on.
Sweet Christ. No one's “trapped" in a “blue state," and states that deny data and science have Republican governors. It's also downright eerie when Ingraham recommends that we “retire" the public health officials.
The rightwing's COVID-19 rhetoric is reckless but clear: Don't listen to the bad scientists who say the lizards are coming to eat you.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."