Wednesday, July 29, 2020


David Leonhardt of The New York Times is right, obviously:
Why is the U.S. enduring a far more severe virus outbreak than any other rich country?

There are multiple causes, but one of them is the size and strength of right-wing media organizations that frequently broadcast falsehoods. The result is confusion among many Americans about scientific facts that are widely accepted, across the political spectrum, in other countries.

Canada, Japan and much of Europe have no equivalent to Sinclair — whose local newscasts reach about 40 percent of Americans — or Fox News. Germany and France have widely read blogs that promote conspiracy theories. “But none of them have the reach and the funding of Fox or Sinclair,” Monika Pronczuk, a Times reporter based in Europe, told me.
As Leonhardt notes,
Sinclair Broadcast Group recently published an online interview with a conspiracy theorist who claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci created the coronavirus using monkey cells. Sinclair — which operates almost 200 television stations — has also run segments downplaying the severity of the virus.

Fox News has repeatedly run segments promoting ideas that scientists consider false or that question the seriousness of the virus.
Yes, and remember when many Very Serious People were praising Tucker Carlson for taking the pandemic seriously and persuading the president that it wasn't a hoax? Well, now Carlson is using the Fox airwaves to defend a group of right-wing doctors that included President Trump's "demon sperm" doctor.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson ... defend[ed] a viral video of fringe doctors peddling COVID-19 falsehoods and claiming the group was only attacked because they criticized the “sainted” Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Hours after President Donald Trump doubled down on his support for the doctors—including eccentric pediatrician Dr. Stella Immanuel, who has previously said “demon sperm” causes gynecological ailments—Carlson kicked off his primetime program by railing against social media platforms for cracking down on the video’s disinformation.

... Besides claiming controversial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could prevent and even “cure” coronavirus, “America’s Frontline Doctors” also said masks and social distancing were unnecessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

... the Fox News star tied the removal of the video to the 2020 presidential election, claiming it was only taken down because Trump retweeted it and that “enraged Democrats.”

“Any scientific advancement that reduces the suffering of Americans in the election year is a threat to Joe Biden’s campaign so they decided to pull the video off the internet,” Carlson huffed.
So there's Trust Fund Tucker and the billionaire Murdoch family promoting a coronavirus disinformation video. And who's behind the video?
The event was hosted and funded by the Tea Party Patriots, a right-wing political nonprofit group led by Jenny Beth Martin, the group's co-founder, who spoke at the news conference.

The group, which collects funds through two nonprofit groups and a political action committee, has raised over $24 million since 2014 to support Republican causes and candidates.

... America's Frontline Doctors is led by a group of 10 doctors of varying specialties, according to its website, which was registered two weeks ago. The group's leader, Dr. Simone Gold, is a "concierge immediate-needs physician," who offers private medical consultations, according to an archive of her recently deleted professional website.

... In recent months, Gold has been a fixture on conservative media and at protests and rallies calling on reopening, and was on the panel that recommended that the Orange County Board of Education reopen schools without masks or distancing.
Remember that disturbing news from Orange County? This wingnut welfare recipient was partly responsible for that terrible decision.

The Associated Press reported in May that CNP Action discussed recruiting doctors who were willing to push narratives about reopening the economy before safety benchmarks were met in a May 11 phone call.

CNP Action is part of an alliance of conservative think tanks called the Save Our Country Coalition, which previously hosted viral "Liberate" Facebook events in April, urging protesters to rally in states that had adopted social distancing restrictions.
As that May AP story noted,
CNP Action is part of the Save Our Country Coalition, an alliance of conservative think tanks and political committees formed in late April to end state lockdowns implemented in response to the pandemic. Other members of the coalition include the FreedomWorks Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Tea Party Patriots.
A pandemic disaster, brought to you by deeply politicized right-wing billionaires.

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