Tucker Carlson has an audience of around 3 million viewers, which is more than any other news program and most other programs generally. It is still only 3 million people out of a nation of 330 million people. In the grand scheme of things, Tucker Carlson is influential in the way many others are -- he has a core fan base that listens to him, generally trusts him, talks to other people and posts on the internet.
Nielsen ratings showed Rush Limbaugh had tens of millions of listeners, but the TV networks rarely focused on him. They focused on Carlson and Bill O'Reilly before him, etc. TV news has a way of influencing how people cover the news because the news is covered by people who are on television -- and those who want to be on television.
To blame Carlson or Fox News for vaccine hesitancy is for them to be given more influence and clout than they already have by people who are convinced that they themselves, by virtue of being on television, have influence and clout.
Yes, Carlson and Fox News and even someone like me can influence others, but that influence only extends so far. It does not extend to the orders of magnitude more people beyond Fox News's audience who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.
But what does extend beyond that is a sustained cacophony of government and media hubris over two years that sent mixed messages without the humility to decently explain changes. That cacophony now morphs into hubris and blaming Trump voters for a failure of the Biden administration to reach a vaccination goal.
We are living in the world of the boy who cried wolf.
First, we were told to not buy masks so first responders could buy them and that masks would not protect the general public from the virus. Then, we were told to get masks. Then, we were all lectured about following the science. Then, the science showed kids really weren't a vector, but we shut schools down anyway.
Next, we were told being outside in sunshine was the best disinfectant, but the media shamed people at the beach while not shaming people at protests -- unless the protests were to reopen businesses. Then local governments insisted that, while following the science, masks needed to be worn outside even if you were alone.
Then, the British variant was going to kill us. Then, the South African variant was going to kill us. Then, the Brazilian variant was going to kill us. Then, the Indian variant was going to kill us. Then, it was racist to call the variants by their nation of origin, so the delta variant was going to kill us.
Then, COVID-19 may have come from a lab -- after the very same people reporting that told us we were all racist for thinking it might have come from that lab.
The countries with high vaccination rates saw vaccinated people get the virus and the media hyped all of this while downplaying that those people were all asymptomatic. Then, mainstream media outlets, via their social media feeds, hyped people dying after getting the vaccine, despite those people dying from other causes.
Then, mainstream media outlets started shaming people for pointing out deaths post-vaccine, which they themselves had done.
Between media monomania and government irresponsibility and hubris, a lot of people don't know what to think; many think they'll wait because the media has also overhyped shortages of the vaccine, without later going back to give adequate coverage to the vaccine being in stock everywhere.
So now, let's blame Trump voters and correlate it to red-state and blue-state dynamics when the data also correlates to areas of high concentrations of minority voters and areas where employers do or do not give time off.
We live in the land of the boy who cried wolf, and when the wolf comes, there's going to be a big body count that those who cried wolf will blame on everyone but themselves.
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