Fox News is the undisputed leader in disseminating disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. Their top primetime hosts persistently downplay the severity of the crisis that they belittle as as nothing more than the flu. Simultaneously they disparage efforts to mitigate its proliferation by taking such common sense measures as getting vaccinated and wearing face masks.
Fox’s status as America’s top pro-COVID “news” network is affirmed by research finding that Fox News viewers significantly trail viewers of other media in getting vaccinated. This is unsurprising considering that their highest rated program host, Tucker Carlson, has articulated the false and paranoid view that vaccines don’t work and “they” aren’t telling you. And Sean Hannity is singing the same hymn as he assures his audience that “I never told anyone to get a vaccine. I’ve been very clear. I am simply not qualified. I’m not a medical doctor.”
On Thursday night their colleague Laura Ingraham joined the choir with an interview of Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. Ingraham was committed to providing Patrick with a platform to make implausible and brazenly racist excuses for why Texas is currently among the worst states in the nation suffering from a surge in COVOD cases and fatalities. And Patrick took full advantage of it:
Ingraham: They’re coming after your state cause the increased COVID numbers, hospitalizations, deaths, are up in Texas. And there’s a direct assault on your governor’s policies and your state’s policies. A very brief response.
Patrick: The COVID is spreading particularly, most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated. And the Democrats like to blame Republicans on that. Well, the biggest group in most states are African-Americans who have not been vaccinated. And the last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in the major cities and major counties.
So it’s up to the Democrats to get, just as it is up to Republicans, to try to get as many people vaccinated. But we respect the fact that if people don’t want the vaccination, we’re not going to force it on them. That’s their individual right. But in terms of criticizing the Republicans for this? We’re encouraging people who want to take it to take it, but they’re doing nothing for the African American community that has a significant high number of unvaccinated people.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blames unvaccinated Black people for Covid spread in his state pic.twitter.com/CfwajqECLM
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 20, 2021
Ingraham’s question began by invoking sympathy for Patrick as a “victim” of unnamed nefarious actors “coming after” Texas and it’s policies that have made it a COVID hot zone. Notice that Patrick acknowledged that the unvaccinated are the problem, which sharply contrasts with his opposition to taking steps to mandate vaccinations or masks for those who refuse. However, he then immediately diverted his response to place the blame entirely on African-Americans, not just in Texas, but throughout the country.
Of course the blame that Patrick is casting on unvaccinated Blacks is shared by the Democrats for whom they vote. Patrick is shamelessly politicizing the issue by creating a wholly contrived distinction between Republicans and Blacks. He views the Republicans who don’t get vaccinated as freedom-loving patriots with free will. Blacks, on the other hand, he sees as trouble makers whose ignorance is responsible for exacerbating a deadly plague.
More to the point, Patrick’s core problem is that he is dead wrong about the biggest group of unvaccinated Texans. It isn’t even close. The Washington Post reports on “U.S. Census Bureau data collected in July and August that suggests unvaccinated White Texans outnumber unvaccinated Black Texans roughly three to one.”
Patrick is purposely conflating vaccination rates with the actual numbers of persons who haven’t been vaccinated. Anyone paying even glancing attention would know that the majority white population would harbor a much larger number of the unvaccinated. It’s true that some Blacks have been resistant to vaccines due to past experiences with a medical establishment that has exhibited patterns of systemic racism. But much of the conservative Republican cult is outright hostile to vaccines. And while Blacks can be persuaded with information from trusted sources, the white-wingers have hardened views that are cast in stone.
This attempt by Patrick, via Fox News, to cast blame for the pandemic surge on Blacks is just the latest example of their overt racism. They will always seek out ways to find people of color at fault for any and every problem. And this episode proves that even when the facts completely contradict their narrative, they will twist them until they find a way to them fit.
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