Someone Should Tell Tucker Carlson That Breast Cancer And Opioid Addiction Are Not Contagious
One aspect of the pandemic that has been particularly difficult for many Americans — particularly rightwing Americans — to grasp is that COVID-19 is a contagious virus. Not only that, but that carriers are often asymptomatic, meaning that the only way for us to survive this thing is for all of us to collectively adjust our behavior to make things safer for us all. All of this flies in the face of everything that Fox News and other conservative media have been telling people for decades — that selfishness (except in regards to reproductive rights) is good and that collective responsibility is tyranny.
Tucker Carlson, in particular, has been having a very hard time with this.
On his show last night, Carlson went on a rant about how testing young people for COVID-19 en masse would be like testing men en masse for breast cancer. His theory with this is that women are more likely to have breast cancer so "resources" should go to testing them and not men, even though men can get breast cancer — and that, similarly, since older people are more likely to die from coronavirus, they should be tested more than young people, who are less likely to die from it.
There are more than a few things wrong with this analogy.
Tucker compares being young and dying from the coronavirus to men getting breast cancer. You cant give someone br… https://t.co/m2ys8D766H— nikki mccann ramírez (@nikki mccann ramírez)1586823247.0
First of all, while men account for less than one percent of all breast cancer cases, they have a lower survival rate than do women because of the fact that they are less likely to catch it early on. Also, there are not a limited number of breast cancer tests in the world. A man getting a mammogram would not affect my ability to get one.
Second, as Nikki McCann-Ramirez of Media Matters pointed out in her tweet of the clip ... breast cancer is not contagious. It's not as if men who don't know they have breast cancer can spread it to other people who are more likely too die of breast cancer than they are. While young people can and do die of COVID-19, the main issue is that they can contract it, be asymptomatic, and then spread it to other people who could then die. Yes, it's Carlson's worst nightmare — people suddenly realizing they are dependent on each other for survival. People being even this minutely aware of that could ruin his whole schtick.
In another segment, Carlson went on a rant about how Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is enforcing a ton of restrictions in her own state not because she cares about anyone's safety and because her state currently has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases, but because she is so very, very thirsty for power.
Gov. Whitmer wants to be the vice president. She wants to be chosen by Joe Biden. That's pretty clear, and she has calculated there is no penalty for petty authoritarianism. In fact, petty authoritarianism might make even mediocre politicians look strong and decisive. That's her bet. She's willing to destroy the people in her state in exchange.
Oh sure, that is very plausible.
His evidence for this is that, despite the fact that people die from opioid overdoses and suicide, Governor Whitmer has not closed all of the pharmacies.
And incidentally, when exactly did Gov. Whitmer becomes so deeply concerned about citizens dying and willing to do anything to prevent it? In 2018, Michigan had almost 2,800 deaths from overdose. It had another 1,500 suicides, more than that. Now, unlike coronavirus, every single one of those deaths might have been preventable.
As it was, they fell disproportionately on the young and the middle age. And yet, Whitmer didn't shut anything down. She didn't even consider closing pharmacies dispensing this poison, asking police to conduct random searches to ferret out drugs and dealers. No. Nor did she say something about China, which is sending all this crap into our country. Not a word.
As for suicides, if she cared, she could have taken anyone in the state into custody at any time if that person was identified at risk of self-harm. But that wasn't a consideration, either.
Then again, at the time, Joe Biden didn't need a running mate. And CNN wasn't watching.
Or because absolutely none of that makes any sense. People take opioids for various reasons not related to abusing them. There are also many, many other reasons people have to go to the pharmacy, which is why no one actually concerned with helping addicts has ever suggested that as a possibility. Also, opioid abuse — while it can affect many people in an addict's life — is not contagious.
Similarly, while there is certainly a lot of evidence behind suicide being psychologically contagious, it's not as if someone is going to walk into a store and catch "suicide" from the last person to use the self-checkout. That is not a thing.
What Tucker Carlson's flight of fancy actually proves is that Whitmer is hardly the cruel anti-death authoritarian Carlson is making her out to be. If she were, she probably would be out doing weird things like shutting down pharmacies and making it difficult for people to get their prescriptions because some other people have opioid addictions. At this point, she does not even support single payer, so I don't think Carlson has very much to worry about.
Carlson isn't afraid that anyone is going to use COVID-19 to restrict anyone's freedom. He's afraid that people will make the connection that their behavior affects other people and start to make that connection elsewhere in their lives — which will make peddling selfishness as patriotism all the more difficult.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse