Hocus Pocus, Propaganda Won’t Stop Coronavirus, Science Will

Too many American don’t believe in science

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was ordered by the New York attorney general to stop selling his fake coronavirus cure. (Sean P. Anderson)

FOX News responded to their huge error by relying on a commonly used right-wing tactic — gaslighting. Commentator Sean Hannity tried to act like he never called the virus a hoax, even though there’s video of him saying this. Media Matters stated, “On the March 11 edition of his radio show, Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity argued that he isn’t concerned about coronavirus because ‘we’re all dying.’’

The entire right-wing noise machine is based on the principle of denying the truth and creating its own reality. So for weeks FOX News, the nation’s leading right-wing propaganda outfit, kept saying the coronavirus was a hoax cooked up by the liberal media and the Democratic establishment. FOX Business news commentator Trish Regan also delivered a now-infamous speech blithely dismissing the coronavirus scare.

  • Fellow conman Jim Bakker, a former televangelist, was hawking a “Silver Solution” concoction that he claimed could stop the coronavirus too, until he received a cease and desist letter from the state of Missouri.
  • The behavior of other clergy has been just as bad. Some pastors, such as Trump supporter Rodney Howard-Browne, have urged their followers to still keep coming to church, even as governors and medical experts have told the public to stay at home and practice social distancing. Kenneth Copeland, a prosperity gospel preacher, who managed to persuade his followers to buy him a new private jet, even said that people should keep tithing, even when they are facing layoffs and reduced hours. Copeland also claimed he healed people of the coronavirus — through the television.
  • Politicians have also fallen into the trap of science denialism. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recently posted a picture of him and his family at a restaurant proudly defying the warnings. (Stitt later deleted the tweet.) Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis stubbornly refused to follow pleas by the medical community to shut down the beaches and let thousands of Spring Break revelers keep partying. Now five University of Tampa students have tested positive. (DeSantis eventually closed the beaches.) And Sen. Rand Paul tested positive for the disease after going to the Senate gym on Sunday. (I stopped going to the gym a week ago!)

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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