The miracle of developing vaccines on such a short timetable will not lead to any miraculous results unless a large percentage of Americans, and people around the world, gets vaccinated.
The science denial, vaccine skepticism and falsehoods that are spewed on Fox News pose a clear and present danger to the health of many Americans. This dangerous rhetoric should be framed as such and make headlines in our major newspapers and television news. Sure, there are exceptions — CNN’s Brian Stelter, who regularly calls out Fox in his newsletter, has written a book that details the network’s many distortions. But he is the exception rather than the rule.
So why is it that we don’t see enough coverage about the dangers of the rhetoric coming from Fox News hosts? I believe it’s a combination of two things: journalists, acting in their own interests, may be protecting the rights of the First Amendment for news organizations and operating under the outdated belief that Fox is still a news organization. As far as I can tell — it’s not. It does not appear as if Fox gathers the news in the interest of the general public. Instead, it seems to create an alternative news ecosystem that pushes a reality that is appealing to a large segment of America.
Does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s like any other entertainment company that uses fiction and fantasy to profit from a huge audience. Worse, it is an entertainment company that creates a grave threat to our democracy and to the lives of all Americans. Fox News does not appear to be interested in science, facts or meaningfully engaging with opposing views — it seems they are only interested in creating a mirage that will keep people watching.
You could say that Fox News is as powerful as most, if not all, Republican members of Congress. With the help of Donald Trump, the network sets the conservative agenda and like lemmings, most Republicans joyfully follow them off the cliff.
The real news media needs to start covering Fox News for what it is — a propaganda arm of the far right that creates rather than covers the news. Whatever inhibitions remain about attacking colleagues in the journalism fraternity need to be abandoned because Fox News hosts have shown little interest in practicing the tenets of news and journalism. They seem to care more about entertaining.
Fox News hosts are too powerful and too influential over conservatives in America for other news organizations not to publicly highlight the dangers of the network’s propaganda.
If there was some defect in the vaccine, the media would be all over the story. If the government screwed up the distribution of the vaccine, they would be vilified daily for their mistakes. But if the vaccine fails because Fox News convinces half the country not to take it, it will be seen as a media sidebar. That has to change, and it has to change fast.