Fox News' alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America

Fox News' alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 5:00 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2021 5:00 PM

"Do you think we could've eradicated polio or defeated the measles if you had Fox News night after night warning people about these vaccine issues that are just bunk?" CNN's Jim Acosta asked Saturday of Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser.

Fauci response's was jaw-dropping: "If we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media I don't think it would have been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox and we probably would still have polio in this country." The nation's premier infectious disease specialist added, "If we had the kind of false information that's being spread now, if we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we'd still have polio in this country."

There's no dispute that Fox News has been delivering to its audience, of which almost 60% is in the high-risk over-65 age group, dangerously misleading information about the Covid vaccine and its rollout by the Biden administration. A report released Friday by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters documents that the majority of vaccine-related segments that Fox News aired over the past two weeks "repeatedly fearmongered about and downplayed the need for continued vaccination campaigns."

Specifically, Media Matters found the between June 28 through July 11, "Fox News aired 129 segments about coronavirus vaccines. Of those, 57% included claims that either undermined or downplayed immunization efforts.

Among Media Matters' findings: "Forty-five percent of segments included claims suggesting that the vaccination drive is coercive or that it represents government overreach." Just one instance of the many cited came from Tucker Carlson's July 8th show where he lied that if you don't take the vaccine, "you'll wind up on a government list." Taking it even further, rabid Trump supporter Jeanine Pirro irresponsibly declared on her July 12 show that the goal of Biden administration's door to door vaccine outreach was ultimately "about confiscating your gun."

Even worse, Media Matters notes, "Thirty-seven percent of segments included claims suggesting that vaccines are unnecessary or dangerous." Just one example cited was Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who on her show last week touted "natural immunity" over the Covid vaccine.

Alarmingly, the disinformation campaign led by Fox News' opinion hosts and guests is happening at the very time our nation is experiencing a dangerous spike in Covid cases -- especially among those not vaccinated. On Friday, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky put it bluntly, "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated." She added, "We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk" while "communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well."

It's hard to believe that Fox News hosts aren't aware of this. After all they work at a so-called "news" outlet. But as CNN has reported, Fox shows are playing a key role in disseminating anti-vaccine propaganda to their viewers.

The only question is: Why?

The obvious reason is that many at Fox News believe that hurting the Biden administration's efforts to vaccinate people will help Republicans win in the 2022 midterm -- and maybe even help Donald Trump if he runs in 2024. If the economy slows down or if there's a need to close businesses again to contain the virus, Biden could suffer political damage.

That was certainly the overwhelming response of callers to my SiriusXM show this week. It's my view as well. To be clear, no one is suggesting the Fox news hosts are actively rooting for people to get ill or die from Covid. Rather, they are so obsessed with hurting Biden politically they simply seem not to care who gets sick to achieve their goal.

This strategy is also consistent with the network's business model of catering to a pro-GOP, pro-Trump audience. Slamming Biden on every and any issue makes the audience happy.

Fox's partisan approach to the pandemic was clear as far back as March 2020. As the pandemic was raising alarm bells, Sean Hannity irresponsibly told his Fox news audience that the virus was just the Democrats' way "to bludgeon President Trump." Hannity added, that the same people who screamed "Russia, Russia. Ukraine, Ukraine. And impeach, impeach," are now crying, "corona, corona."

A few weeks later, the network publicly reversed course and began to take the virus seriously. So why hasn't the Fox News' brass stopped the current misinformation strategy on the vaccine rollout? It's hard to read the silence as anything but a deliberate political tactic.

There are countless other issues for Fox News to go after the Biden administration and Democrats that don't involve misleading Americans about a vaccine that could save their own life or their family members. And the news executives have to know that.

Last week, Biden, in his impassioned speech about the GOP's war on our democracy -- which Fox News was the only major cable news network not to air live --asked of the Republicans, "Have you no shame?" While some Fox commentators do acknowledge the value of the shots, Biden's question should be asked of Fox News hosts and executives who are engaged in a concerted effort to push vaccine skepticism. Their track record suggests that the answer is no -- that they only care about hurting Democrats and helping Republicans -- even if the consequence is more Americans killed by Covid.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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