The New York Times is suffering a pandemic of partisan vaccination politics. The latest shot came in Wednesday’s paper, with Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg reporting “G.O.P. Sees Virus Surge on Its Turf but Lets Vaccine Skepticism Spread.” The text box affixed blame: “Republicans lag in inoculations but put the blame on others.”
But nowhere in the paper’s constant criticism of conservative vaccine rhetoric is mentioned how left-wing anti-vaccination conspiracies were given aid and comfort by the news networks less than a decade ago.
As the coronavirus surges in their states and districts, fanned by a more contagious variant exploiting paltry vaccination rates, many congressional Republicans have declined to push back against vaccine skeptics in their party who are sowing mistrust about the shots’ safety and effectiveness.
Amid a widening partisan divide over coronavirus vaccination, most Republicans have either stoked or ignored the flood of misinformation reaching their constituents and instead focused their message about the vaccine on disparaging President Biden….
The political disparity in vaccine hesitancy is stark. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported at the end of June that 86 percent of Democrats had at least one shot, compared with 52 percent of Republicans. An analysis by The New York Times in April found that the least vaccinated counties in the country had one thing in common: They voted for Mr. Trump.
Again, vaccine hesitation among the black community (who tended not to vote for Trump) is ignored.
They noted “Conservative swaths of the country are being hit particularly hard.” Meanwhile, a Democratic super-spreader event wasn’t identified as such:
At the Capitol on Tuesday, where a vaccinated aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for the coronavirus, the in-house physician warned lawmakers and staff members that the Delta variant is now present. He begged unvaccinated lawmakers to get their shots, and warned that a mask mandate may have to be reimposed.
Pelosi’s aide (and a White House staffer) both tested positive after meeting with rogue Democratic Texas legislators, who took a charter flight to D.C. unmasked and without social distancing on July 12.
Weisman and Stolberg tried to make a legitimate Republican concern about Dr. Fauci’s trustworthiness into an evasion.
Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a doctor, is trying to change the subject. At Tuesday’s health committee hearing, he escalated his long-running attacks on Dr. Fauci over whether the National Institutes of Health funded “gain of function” research -- experiments devised to identify genetic mutations that could make a virus more powerful -- at a laboratory in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began.
Mr. Paul accused Dr. Fauci of lying to Congress when he testified in May that the N.I.H. did not fund such work. Dr. Fauci shot back that he was not lying, and accused the senator of spreading falsehoods by implying American scientists were to blame for the pandemic.
The front page of Wednesday’s Business section aimed the blame at another familiar target: “New Pleas To Vaccinate On Fox News.”
Fox News has faced heavy criticism in recent days over its vaccine coverage, including a denunciation on the Senate floor and accusations of hypocrisy after a memo revealed that its own employees would be allowed to go maskless in the office if vaccinated. And with views on vaccines increasingly split along partisan lines, some leading Republicans have grown alarmed at the deadly toll of the virus in conservative states and districts.
But the Media Research Center in 2014 documented how left-wing and Hollywood-based anti-vaccine hysteria was encouraged by the major news networks for years:
Despite the rise in deaths from preventable childhood diseases, the networks spent the last 15 years fueling speculation that vaccines cause autism….But for years the broadcast networks continued to report on the alleged connection between vaccines and autism. In 171 stories during 15 years of morning and evening news shows, ABC, CBS and NBC reported heavily on the ongoing debate, giving time to prominent anti-vaccine celebrities and families who blamed autism on vaccines.