Tucker C. Exploits Damar Hamlin and DeSantis Steals Florida’s Money (Again) While His Surgeon General Gets Scolded
Black Contractor Removes Confederate Statues, Movies Sued Over Trailers, and More
Health: Social Vampires Bleed Their Followers
Tucker Carlson, social media and Damar Hamlin’s horror injury combine to create a vaccine misinformation field day (Fortune)
SUMMARY: “Unfounded claims about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines proliferated in the hours and days after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed during Monday’s game, revealing how pervasive vaccine misinformation remains three years after the pandemic began.
“Even before Hamlin was carried off the field in Cincinnati, posts amassing thousands of shares and millions of views began circulating online claiming without evidence that complications from COVID-19 vaccines caused his health emergency.
“While cardiac specialists say it’s too soon to know what caused Hamlin’s heart to stop, they’ve offered a rare type of trauma called commotio cordis as among the possible culprits. Physicians interviewed by The Associated Press say there’s no indication Hamlin’s vaccine status played a role, and said there’s no evidence to support claims that a number of young athletes have died as a result of COVID vaccinations.”
MY TAKE: A sad and dangerous trend has set in the last few years in which conservative commentators wishing to grab headlines that translate into followers and viewers (which translates into money) will make outrageous and unsubstantiated claims that fuel medical mistrust. Even though such mistrust can result in people not getting vaccines and therefore becoming seriously ill or dying or infecting others who get sick or die, they don’t care. To them, the people who actually listen to them are just faceless marks to be exploited—in fact, they think these people deserve to be exploited for believing their nonsense.
What is disturbing is the use of what they would bill as a “scientific expert” to make their case, but then the dismissal of the overwhelming number of legitimate scientists and medical experts who reject their lone and discredited source.
For example, Tucker Carlson featured on his show a Dallas cardiologist who has spoken out against COVID-19 vaccines. The doctor suggested, without examining Hamlin, that he might have “vaccine-induced myocarditis.” Carlson cited research that showed “more than 1,500 total cardiac arrests” have occurred among European athletes “since the vax campaign began.” However, Carlson was “citing a letter in which the authors’ evidence was a dubious blog that lists news reports of people all over the world, of all ages, dying or experiencing medical emergencies. The blog proves no relationship between the incidents and COVID-19 vaccines; it also includes in its count reported deaths from cancer and emergencies of unknown causes.”
Dr. Matthew Martinez, director of sports cardiology at Atlantic Health System in Morristown Medical Center, dismissed this: “It’s not real research, but he quotes it as if it’s real research. Anybody can write a letter to the editor and then quote an article that has no academic rigor.”
Videos have been posted on social media claiming to show athletes collapsing—but several have been proven to be from other causes. In fact, cardiologists have indicated that there has been no upturn in athletes collapsing on the field since the implementation of COVID-19 vaccines. The reason some people think there are more now is because they are looking for them in order to confirm their bias.
Charlie Kirk, whose absurd logic I’ve pointed out before, is an influential conservative in charge of Turning Point USA. Kirk tweeted to his 1.9 followers that athletes dropping suddenly had become an “all too familiar sight.” Seventeen hours later he reported: “For committing the crime of noticing that athletes are tragically collapsing on the playing field, I have been labeled ‘human garbage’... Paying attention yet?”
Again, the logic here is so middle school that I’m surprised he’s not too embarrassed to make it public. First, how many athletes were collapsing before COVID-19 vaccines? Second, what are all the potential causes for them collapsing. You know, SCIENCE. Also, he isn’t really asking a question—that’s a grifter trick to pretend you’re being objective—because his intent is to imply a conclusion that leaps over all logic and science: vaccine bad. The “human garbage” label is not for his bold journalistic investigation, but for his smarmy, unsupported implication to pander to his followers’ prejudices. At a time when the country is facing an epidemic of flu, COVID-19, and respiratory illness filling our hospitals, especially children’s hospitals, what should you call someone who encourages vaccine hesitancy with no legitimate medical support? How many hospitalizations and deaths might he be responsible for?
For the Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Kirk and Carlson, exploiting human misery for personal gain is just good business.