The news that Donald Trump and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19 came as a surprise Thursday night, but not because it could not have been predicted. Trump’s disregard for practicing the most rudimentary safety guidelines stipulated by his own health experts (Dr. Fauci, CDC, Surgeon General, etc.) provided a reliable foreshadowing of what has now occurred.
The nation sends its thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Never mind that Trump didn’t share that concern for the more than 200,000 Americans who have already died (and seven million plus infected). This is a nation with compassion that exceeds the callousness of its current “leader.” It’s just so sad that so many had to suffer because of Trump’s negligence and vanity to refuse to promote the sort of behavior (social distancing, mask wearing, etc.) that would have saved tens of thousands of lives. Even now, his administration has still not adopted a consistent, coherent strategy for the safe reopening of businesses and schools.
Throughout the past eight months, Fox News has been Trump’s accomplice in misinforming the public about the very real risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic. And that role hasn’t changed now that the President is among its victims. On Friday morning the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends engaged in their typical banter, exalting Trump and maligning his critics. And in the course of their daily propaganda production, co-host Brian Kilmeade had this to say:
“Let me take it to another level. People think – and there’s a lot of people out there who say that ‘If I get it I die.’ Seven million people have it, it’s terrible. Now what if the most famous person in the world gets it and in ten days it’s back out? Doesn’t that also send a message that you could say whatever you want in stats and graphs but I give you an example of somebody who’s in that danger age of 74 who is out there, gets it, and beats it? Could that also send a message?”
REALLY? Fox News is already speculating that if Trump recovers quickly it sends a message that the the virus isn't a serious problem. 200,000+ other Americans may disagree.pic.twitter.com/1NuSOyav7L
— News Corpse (@NewsCorpse) October 2, 2020
Fox Business host Stuart Varney initially suggested that people might become more cautious about following safety guidelines and be more resistant to the opening of bars, restaurants, etc. But he quickly shifted course and agreed with Kilmeade that a rapid recovery by Trump would “mitigate concern about the virus.” And they clearly regarded such a relaxation of concern as a good thing.
There is so much wrong with that attitude. First of all, people need to be concerned about a virus that has killed 200,000 Americans and counting. Any “mitigation” of concern is a sure path to more deaths. Secondly, if Trump recovers quickly, that tells us nothing about how the virus would affect anyone else. How many Americans have teams of physicians and first-class hospital facilities catering to their exclusive needs 24/7?
What Kilmeade is suggesting is that the “message” of a rapid recovery by Trump is that it affirms the belief among his cult disciples that Trump is omnipotent; a Superman in the White House who can rescue us from any and all threats. It’s a dangerously tunnel-blind faith in the false divinity of someone who has more in common with a sociopath than a savior.
For several weeks Trump has tried to distract the nation from the tragic consequences of the pandemic that he so badly mismanaged. He’s tried to shift the public discourse to civil unrest, the Supreme Court, phony assertions of election fraud, and whatever other manufactured controversy he recently saw on Fox News. But now the coronavirus is back at the top of the news cycle, and likely will remain there for the remainder of the campaign. And if there is anything positive to take away from this, it’s that it may result in people becoming more committed to safer behavior. And that alone could save thousands of lives.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.