Last updated on March 19, 2021
It's been two months since Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States. In that time of national celebration and relief, Donald Trump has retreated to his Mar-a-Lago bunker, emerging only briefly for a speech at the Conservative Political Action Cult (CPAC), and a phone-in to Senior Fox News Trump-fluffer, Maria Bartiromo.
Trump is either suffering a severe depression at having been rejected by millions of voters, or he's he's hiding from legal process servers and state prosecutors. And while he's cowering in near obscurity, unable to tweet his pent up outrages, his grip on the political world is slipping away. This shift to irrelevancy is evident in how the media covers his recent remarks about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Trump spent months promoting the vaccine development and bragging about accomplishments that exist only in his mind. After which he clammed up and refused to encourage his cult followers to get vaccinated. This week that changed after prodding from politicians, the press, and even Dr. Fauci. “I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it,” Trump told Bartiromo. “And a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.” For some reason Trump seems to be proud that his voters are uniquely ignorant about the wisdom of being immunized.
Despite Trump's sudden interest in endorsing the vaccine, his former confederates in the media are not falling in line. Tucker Carlson is doing extended segments casting doubts on the safety, efficacy, and necessity of vaccinations. Sean Hannity immediately began having doubts about the vaccine after Biden was inaugurated. Laura Ingraham, in a reference to public health experts, told her audience that “it's time to retire or just ignore the control freaks.”
This was all summed up nicely in a clip from The Daily Show that revealed how “Fox News isn’t explicitly telling its viewers not to get vaccinated, it’s just questioning whether they should over and over again”:
Trump's waning influence was clearly displayed in how Fox News reported his vaccine recommendation. Media Matters reports that…
“Trump’s remarks will have an impact only if his supporters hear them. And while his comments originally aired on Fox, that network — by far the most popular and influential among Trump voters — has largely ignored them since.
In the 36 hours following Trump’s vaccine endorsement, Fox devoted only about six and a half minutes to the remarks. Only a handful of programs covered the remarks; flagship 'straight news' broadcast Special Report and popular opinion shows The Five, Tucker Carlson Tonight, and The Ingraham Angle are among those that have not referenced the comments.”
By contrast, in the 36 hours after Biden's commentary about “Neanderthal” Republicans who prematurely lifted mask mandates, Fox News ran about 1 hour and 20 minutes of coverage about the phony “scandal.” That's twelve times as much coverage as allotted to Trump’s weak vaccine plug.
So apparently Fox isn't jumping on Trump's bandwagon on this life-or-death subject. And his formerly reliable suck-ups aren't sucking quite as vigorously. Does this mean anything with regard to Trump's forward prospects as a politician or a public figure. Who knows? But it surely doesn't bode well for a former president and future felon who was never particularly well liked or respected in the first place.
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