“Fox News host Tucker Carlson will speak at a far-right conference in Budapest later this week after meeting with Hungary’s authoritarian leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban,” the HuffPost reports.
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James Surowiecki: “When the CDC changed its guidance on masking earlier this week — recommending, among other things, that even vaccinated people start wearing masks in indoor public spaces in areas of substantial to high Covid transmission — it cited ‘unpublished data’ as a reason for its decision.”
“The next day, the internal CDC document that seems to have prompted the shift was published — by the Washington Post. And when major news media got a look at, the message they sent vaccinated people was pretty simple: ‘Panic!’”
“This reaction was not justified by the actual data in the CDC document.”
CNN: “The administration is worried that the media’s focus on these instances of breakthrough infections might lead to people being more hesitant to get a vaccine.”
Said one official: “The media’s coverage doesn’t match the moment. It has been hyperbolic and frankly irresponsible in a way that hardens vaccine hesitancy.”
Conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine remains hospitalized in his battle with COVID-19 and was placed on a ventilator earlier this week “out of an abundance of caution,” WTVF reports.
Valentine previously advised listeners to get vaccinated only if they thought they would likely die from COVID-19.
His brother, Mark Valentine, said the radio host regrets not being an advocate for vaccination.
Mark Valentine wrote on Facebook this afternoon that his brother now needs an ECMO machine, similar to a heart-lung by-pass device used in open-heart surgery.
David Hopkins: “The main conduits through which Trump exerts control over other Republicans are the conservative media outlets with which he has maintained a close alliance ever since his 2016 nomination. Trump is much more effective at imposing his preferences on the party when the Republican electorate is made aware of those preferences by the informational sources they trust the most.”
“When Trump was president, and before he was banned from social media, we often heard about how he had uniquely harnessed the power of Twitter. But it wasn’t his tweets themselves that were especially powerful (only a small slice of the American public would have seen any of them directly), it was his tweets as amplified by other media platforms with much larger popular audiences. Republican members of Congress enjoyed much more political leeway to reject or ignore President Trump’s policy proposals than they did to explicitly disapprove of his personal behavior, because substantive differences with Trump did not usually receive much attention from the media—including the conservative media—while personal differences could turn into headline news.”
“The chief executive of MyPillow Inc., one of Fox News’s big advertisers, said he is pulling his ads from the network after a disagreement over a proposed commercial,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Mike Lindell said he made the decision after Fox News declined to run a commercial linked to his efforts to promote his claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Security and election officials have said there is no proof of widespread election fraud.”
The Atlantic: The MyPillow guy really could destroy democracy.
Vox: “Newsmax’s viewership is down more than 50 percent from January (from an average of about 300,000 viewers then to about 114,000 on July 18), and following a significant slump in December and January, Fox News has reestablished itself as not just the most-watched right-wing cable news network but the most-watched cable news network, period.”
A really cool video shows every front page of the New York Times since 1852.
John Culhane: “Although the network has recently sounded a more responsible note, that turnabout has by no means been across the entire network and it comes too late for an untold number of people who have been newly sickened or died from the disease, and who might have been saved through immunization.”
“There may actually be some legal remedy, though, for the damage wrought by the network. COVID victims who were taken in by Carlson’s vaccination misinformation, or their estates, may be able to sue Fox News under the ancient common law theory of fraud. They would have a reasonably good chance of success, too.”
Videos on the websites of several national news outlets — including The Washington Post and New York magazine — suddenly began showing readers porn Thursday, Vice News reports.
President Biden jabbed at Fox News saying the network had “an altar call” over stepping up messaging on getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Axios reports.
Said Biden: “They’ve had an altar call, some of those guys. All of a sudden they’re out there saying, let’s get vaccinated. Let’s get vaccinated. The very people before this were saying… I shouldn’t make fun of it. That’s good.”
“Despite Hannity’s thumbs up, that remained the default position of the network on Monday night. Those who watched from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. would have been left with little question about the message they were meant to take away: Maybe the vaccines do some good, but you should question how effective they are and you should think that government experts are lying to you about them. An endorsement drowned under a deluge of howevers is not an endorsement at all.”
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy praised President Biden in an editorial for how he has handled the coronavirus pandemic and urging Americans to get vaccinated against the virus.
Wrote Ruddy: “I heard that in the early days of the administration, Biden himself was on a call discussing the rollout of the vaccine with some at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others, wanting delays in the rollout. Biden himself would have none of it. He took charge in the call and said there would be no delay.”
He added: “For the moment, we as Americans can applaud President Biden’s success with the vaccine rollout. It is saving countless lives—and that is a good thing.”
A new Annenberg Public Policy Center study finds that people who rely on conservative media have much less confidence in key public health institutions and experts, and are much more likely to believe misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine.
Fox News host Sean Hannity suddenly urged his viewers last night to “please take Covid seriously.”
He added: “I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death. Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor… I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”
“Fox Corporation, the right-wing talk channel’s parent company, has quietly implemented the concept of a vaccine passport as workers slowly return back to the company’s offices,” CNN reports.
“The system allows for employees to self-report to Fox the dates their shots were administered and which vaccines were used. Employees who report their status are allowed to bypass the otherwise required daily health screening.”