An exhaustive analysis of COVID-19 data by David Leonhardt of the New York Times has found that the efforts of right-wing media like Fox News to deceive their audience about the coronavirus have been remarkably effective. The result confirms previous studies that show that those who rely on Fox News for information are significantly more at risk for contracting COVID than those who do not.
The article in the Times is validation that trusting Fox News is dangerous to your health, as well as that of your family, your community, and your nation. Leonhardt goes into detail in the article, but he summarized some of his findings in a handy Twitter thread beginning here (with some key points following):
The partisan gap in Covid deaths has grown even larger.
October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in heavily Trump counties and heavily Biden counties widened.
— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) November 8, 2021
“The true explanation is straightforward: The vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe COVID, and almost 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults, per @KHNews polls.”
“As a result, COVID deaths have been concentrated in counties outside of major metropolitan areas. Many of these are in red states, while others are in red parts of blue or purple states.”
“This situation is a tragedy, in which irrational fears about vaccine side effects have overwhelmed rational fears about a deadly virus.”
“It stems from disinformation — promoted by right-wing media, like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, the Sinclair Broadcast Group and online sources.”
“[C]onservative Americans will probably continue to suffer an outsized amount of unnecessary illness and death.”
This is indeed a tragic situation. And the problem is not limited to conservatives and Fox News viewers. Their stubborn refusal to accept the science has the potential of allowing the virus to mutant into new variants that are vaccine resistant. So they are putting everyone else at risk to satisfy their partisan blindness and selfishness. What’s more, they are preventing businesses and schools from fully opening up so that we can return to some semblance of normalcy.
In the meantime, Donald Trump has not even mentioned this matter, even though it is affecting his supporters more than anyone else. But he did have the time to tweet (via his Twitter ban defying spokes-shill) that energy generating windmill turbines are “Destroying our oceans, landscapes, and birds!” He forgot to mention his ludicrous belief that they also cause cancer.
Trump’s tweet linked to a three week old article in the New York Times about the Biden administration’s plans “to build 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind in the United States by 2030.” The article said nothing about birds. That was another of Trump’s tropes that has no basis in reality, but which he frequently repeats to keep his cult disciples in a perpetual state of fear. For the record, according to the Sierra Club…
“Estimates of up to a million or more birds a year are killed by turbines in the US, but that is far exceeded by collisions with communications towers (6.5 million); power lines, (25 million); windows (up to 1 billion); and cats (1.3 to 4.0 billion); and those lost due to habitat loss, pollution and climate change (American Bird Conservancy, Nature). Even if there were twenty times more wind turbines, enough to supply the US with electricity, the number of birds killed, assuming no improvement in wind turbine design, would be about 10 million–still far less than most other causes of bird deaths.”
So apparently Trump is more worried about his false notion that windmills are killing an excessive amount of birds, than he is about COVID actually killing people – particularly Republicans, the people who he purports to represent and who worship him. It’s a grotesque mangling of priorities that rests on a foundation of lies.
And if that weren’t bad enough, Trump and his GOP confederates are so utterly incapable of responding to the recent good news for Democrats and America (infrastructure bill, jobs report, climate conference, COVID decline), that they are resorting to attacking (the fictional) Big Bird of Sesame Street for having the audacity to educate children about vaccines. There goes his pretense about caring for birds.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.