“Rotting bag of oatmeal … tyrant.”
It is difficult to overstate the degree to which right-wing commentators are slinging venom at Biden, the White House, and public health officials following the speech. I pay close attention to these corners of the media ecosystem and it is as bad as I have ever seen it.
“BIDEN IS AN AUTHORITARIAN,” a banner on Fox declared. “BIDEN DECLARES WAR ON MILLIONS OF AMERICANS,” yet another Fox banner read. “FULL TOTALITARIAN,” Breitbart’s homepage splash screamed. The far-right, but mass consumed, Gateway Pundit ripped the “Biden regime” for its “tyrannical mandates.” The Federalist described it as a “fascist move.” On and on it went…
This can’t be ignored
I know there is a temptation to just ignore these talkers. To tune them out. To pretend they don’t exist. But their language — which essentially characterizes Biden and public health officials as evil tyrants — is key to understanding why so many Americans are not protecting themselves with a vaccine.
Huge communities of Americans are being lied to and misinformed by bad-faith media personalities and politicians who seek profit and power. And when you understand the nastiness of the rhetoric being spewed to these communities, you also understand that nothing Biden or Dr. Anthony Fauci or any public health official can say will win them over. Nothing.
The bad faith
But that has proven not to be a viable option when Republican politicians and the media sources trusted by conservatives poison the waters. It is as if politicians and pundits like Crenshaw are living in an alternate world in which the top-rated cable hosts are not peddling anti-vaccine rhetoric.
>> Speaking of bad faith: I was struck at how shameless Sean Hannity was on his show Thursday night, saying about the Biden admin, “They created Covid hesitancy. They did this!” Uh, really Sean?
Feelings, not facts
“Even Fox News”
During his speech, Biden called out Fox News for its vaccine hypocrisy — but I thought what he said was slightly misleading. Biden said that many companies are requiring employees to get vaccinated or submit to weekly tests. He held up Fox as an example of this, leading some people to incorrectly say that Fox has a vaccine mandate.