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America is swimming in purposeful pandemic distortions:
•The Covid-19 vaccine doesn’t work.
•It’s dangerous and the government is lying about the pandemic.
• Public schools should be defunded if they offer virtual teaching.
• The CDC is run by “tyrants” and health experts are “exaggerating” the pandemic.
• Superintendents could have their pay withheld if they try to initiate a protective mask policies.
• Low vaccination rates are encouraged and cheered.
These aren’t the disturbed ravings of fringe Facebook groups, or Fox News trolls in search of outrage clicks. It’s the rhetoric coming from prominent members of the Republican Party, which has shown itself to be the eager fifth column in the U.S.’s battle against the pandemic — plotting against America from the inside.
Waging war on the country’s well-being and embracing the chaotic goals of its enemies, the GOP, fueled by the right-wing media, has set its sights on anarchy. They’re doing it in the name of partisan warfare, and they’re doing it after Trump lied nonstop about the pandemic all last year.
With GOP-run states like Florida and Texas consumed with tens of thousands of new Covid cases each day, and facing a “public health catastrophe” while their Republican governors double down on wrongheaded policies, America grapples with a very real crisis: What if one of our two major political parties wants America to fail? What if the GOP is willing to drag down the entire country by launching an internal, guerilla war? In other words, what if Republicans want the pandemic to continue without pause, no matter how high the death toll climbs?
“If we work together, unify as a country, vaccinate everyone who is interested and unvaccinated, and put our masks on to prevent disease, we could really control this in a matter of weeks,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN last week. And yes, that’s the common sense view, urging a collective, positive response when a country faces a crisis.
But that’s not possible today because the Republican Party, either directly or indirectly, is sabotaging the Covid recovery by fearmongering about a miraculously safe vaccine and equating mask-wearing with tyranny. Anti-science Republicans seem determined to spread the virus among their own voters, which seems inconceivable.
“It creeps people out when government is almost forcing something down somebody’s throat,” claimed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who recently urged his Twitter community to follow a prominent Covid denier. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) compared Biden’s vaccine push to Nazi-era 'brown shirts' and suggested vaccine ambassadors going door-to-door ought to be shot.
“Responsible Republicans should be all over right-wing media denouncing MAGA personalities spreading vaccine skepticism,” the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin recently stressed. But of course, they are not. They’re too afraid of Fox News’ anti-vaccine mob, so their acquiescence doubles as an endorsement.
Nearly half of House Republicans still won’t even say whether they are vaccinated against Covid-19, which sends a damaging message to the public. When Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) was recently asked the simple question of whether he was vaccinated, the conservative awkwardly ended the TV interview by saying “I don’t like to get into taking sides.” (I can virtually guarantee that Grothman, who’s 66, is fully vaccinated.) In the Senate, Republican Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, when asked if he was concerned about so many people not getting vaccinated, insisted, “Nah, I don’t. You know me, I haven’t been worried about this since the beginning.”
When a handful of Republican members of the House held a press conference to ostensibly urge people to get vaccinated, the strange event quickly devolved into a partisan rally, as Republicans attacked Democrats for supposedly hiding the origin of the Covid-19 virus. Rather than confronting nonstop right-wing lies about the vaccine at the press conference, Rep. Steven Scalise (R-La.) claimed he hadn’t heard “any conservatives raising doubts,” about the shot.
The question is, why? Virtually none of these elected officials were stridently anti-vaccine before this year. They didn’t use their platforms to warn against the evils of inoculating oneself against the flu or the measles. “In fact, during the presidency of George W. Bush, Republicans were more likely to believe in the safety of certain vaccines, such as for smallpox, than Democrats were,” The Atlantic noted.
Today’s hysterical, and effective, anti-vaccine crusade is specific to the extraordinary and trustworthy Covid shot and the vaccination rollout overseen by a Democratic president, which quickly became the envy of the world this spring. This nihilist movement, driven by a coronavirus “infodemic,” is being embraced by the Republican Party.
GOP governors, who tout themselves as “pro-life,” are now doing what Trump did last year — giving the stand down order for a virus invasion and not caring how many people die. Politically, it might work in the short term, as the Beltway press tends to blame the Biden administration for so many (right-wing) Americans refusing to get vaccinated.
Long term, are Republicans and Fox News committed to being the entrenched opposition to America’s war on Covid?
🇭🇺 GOOD STUFF:
From Poynter’s, “Blame More Than Just Tucker Carlson For His Bizarre Trip to Hungary”:
While, yes, it’s troubling to see Carlson’s trip to Hungary, let’s not forget this: Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch is signing off on this. Fox Corp. CEO and executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch is signing off on this. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott is signing off on this.
Don’t blame just Carlson. His bosses are perfectly OK with letting Carlson say and do whatever he wants, including going all the way to Hungary to hand a microphone to a deplorable world leader.
🎧 FUN STUFF — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A BREAK
Leon Bridges, “Steam”
The pride of Fort Worth, Bridges keeps expanding his R&B sound in all kinds of alluring and sophisticated ways. “Steam,” from his new album, offers a shimmering, electro-funk taste of his emerging retro soul sound.
Shouldn't complain, but this function's dry
Don't wanna small-talk or socialize
What are you doin' tonight?
Are you alone by yourself?
What are you doin' tonight?
Come on over
🎙 Click here to listen to the music that’s been featured on PRESS RUN, via a Spotify playlist.
Click here to listen via Apple Music.