Thursday, July 08, 2021


CNN reports:
A new data analysis identifies clusters of unvaccinated people, most of them in the southern United States, that are vulnerable to surges in Covid-19 cases and could become breeding grounds for even more deadly Covid-19 variants.

The analysis by researchers at Georgetown University identified 30 clusters of counties with low vaccination rates and significant population sizes. The five most significant of those clusters are sprawled across large swaths of the southeastern United States and a smaller portion in the Midwest.

The five clusters are largely in parts of eight states, starting in the east in Georgia and stretching west to Texas and north to southern Missouri. The clusters also include parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and are made up of mostly smaller counties but also cities such as Montgomery, Alabama; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Amarillo, Texas.

Most of these states are currently seeing increases in Covid-19 cases.
This is GOP country. The response of Fox News, as usual is to discourage vaccination and other public health measures.
Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson, who has led a propaganda campaign in concert with anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists and with Fox’s full corporate support, fearmongered ... during his program on Tuesday night.

... Carlson warned anyone who might come knocking to promote the vaccine to “stay the hell out of my house, for real.” Carlson then claimed that a door-to-door vaccine promotion campaign was a “much bigger” scandal than even the Iraq War.
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): ... I honestly think it's the greatest scandal in my lifetime by far. I thought the Iraq War was, it seems much bigger than that.

The idea that you would force people to take medicine they don't want or need, is there a precedent for that in our lifetimes?

BRIT HUME (FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST): Well, look to be fair, it seems to me that what they're doing is — what their argument would be, Tucker, that what they're trying to do is make it as easy as possible for people to get the vaccine and, for people who are hesitant, to perhaps encourage them that they have nothing to fear. However, you know, vaccines do have side effects.
And today, Fox's Tomi Lahren denounced flight attendants who enforce mask mandates on airplanes, calling those attendants "Nazis of the air."

What's happening here? Does Fox, for some reason, want its audience members to die of COVID?

I don't think it's that simple. I think Fox is counting on its audience members to shrug off every COVID death, hospitalization, or long-term illness -- hey, it's not happening to me! Maybe they'll all be blamed on China. More likely, they'll be blamed on actuarial bad luck -- Carlson's main argument in that Tuesday segment was, essentially, Who cares about the pandemic dead? Most of them had already exceeded their life expectancy.
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): So, we looked into coronavirus deaths -- who's dying, and at what age? And we discovered something amazing. The data shows that the median age of death for COVID is often older than life expectancy. For real.

If you want to get a sense of just how completely they have hyped this virus -- turning into something that it -- the numbers show it is not -- take a look, for example, at Ohio.

The median age of people who've died from COVID in the state of Ohio is 80. What's the median life expectancy in Ohio? It's 73. So, people who died from COVID were, on average, seven years older than the average age of people in Ohio at which they died.
So the Fox audience isn't supposed to care when people who would have been alive now are dead from COVID -- many of them were overdue to drop dead anyway.

Fox knows that the COVID death toll in America, while extraordinarily high, is still only about 0.2% of the population. Fox knows that if its audience members are told that the people they regard as the good guys in society prefer to have the populace facing increased risk of death, then they should just regard death as an act of God that no one should be upset about. We saw that in the George W. Bush years, when Fox viewers remained steadfastly pro-war even as the body count rose. (Carlson, in the segment quoted above, is now anti-war, but that was not a welcome position on Fox News throughout the 2000s.)

It's not clear whether right-wingers are even capable of empathy anymore. They're capable of rage in response to the suffering of others, when that suffering can be blamed on a favorite enemy. They get upset about the dead in Benghazi, or people killed by undocumented immigrants or MS-13. But that's not empathy.

I think many of these people are capable of human feelings. However, when they watch Fox, they're encouraged to suspend their common decency and feel nothing but anger at enemies. So they'll be indifferent to COVID even if variants and low regional vaccination rates lead to mass deaths in the coming months -- just where Fox wants them.

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