Conservative media offers mixed messages on COVID-19 vaccine
NEW YORK (AP) — When Dr. Alexa Mieses Malchuk talks to patients about the COVID-19 vaccine, she tries to feel out where they get their information from.
“Sometimes I feel like the education I have to provide depends on what news channel that they watch,” the doctor in Durham, North Carolina, said.
The mixed messaging can come from the same media outlet — and even the same source. On Fox News Channel on Monday, host Sean Hannity looked straight into the camera to deliver a clear message: “It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccinations.”
Yet Hannity followed up his statement by interviewing a woman protesting her college’s requirement that students be vaccinated, a segment appealing to people skeptical of the immunization push. His prime-time colleagues, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, opened their own programs by questioning vaccination efforts.
Skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccination is a common theme in media appealing to conservatives, despite assurances from doctors and scientists that the vaccine is safe and effective. Some medical experts worry that conflicting takes and outright distrust of the vaccine shown by influential media personalities contribute to a failure to meet inoculation goals aimed at arresting the pandemic.
Two recent exchanges in recent days on Fox News Channel’s popular morning show, “Fox & Friends,” illustrated the mixed messaging.
During a discussion of Los Angeles County’s decision to reinstate mandates to wear masks indoors, even if people are vaccinated, guest host Lawrence Jones said, “People are saying, ‘Why get the vaccine if you’re not going to return to normal? What’s the use of doing it? Why?’”
“Well, you won’t die,” colleague Steve Doocy...