Phil Valentine is a conservative radio talk show host from Tennessee whose fate is currently being watched with great interest by parts of the American public. He belongs to the considerable group of conservative personalities in the media who have portrayed the coronavirus pandemic as harmless and consider vaccinations unnecessary, dangerous or measures by an encroaching state. Valentine has Covid and is fighting for his life.
The 61-year-old man is only a local figure, albeit with considerable traction in Tennessee and neighboring states. A significantly larger number in the group of vaccination skeptics is Tucker Carlsen, ratings star from Fox News, who systematically sows doubts about vaccination policy in his evening broadcasts and offers opponents of vaccination campaigns and other government measures to combat the virus a platform. His colleague Laura Ingraham also relentlessly spreads dubious information, such as that the virus is completely harmless to children.
Anti-vaccination opponents from the Kennedy family
Less visible to the general public are people like Ty and Charlene Bollinger with millions of followers on social media. The Trump admirers earn millions from advertising, selling newsletter subscriptions and books against vaccination, the AP news agency has found. According to the research, you are coordinating with the lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr., who may even be one of the most influential propagandists against vaccinations.
The offspring of the well-known family firmly believes that vaccinations provoked autism and shares theses in which the pandemic is linked to the super-fast 5G Internet or other conspiracies. Kennedy is a member of the “Dozen of Disinformation” along with the Bollingers. With this dubious title, the “Center for Countering Digital Hate” honors the twelve personalities who, according to their analysis, are responsible for 65 percent of the false reports about the virus and how to fight it on social media. They obviously have an effect. Until a few weeks ago, America’s vaccination policy could only be described as an impressive success story.
The Warp Speed program initiated under President Donald Trump accelerated the development of vaccines considerably, with the unexpectedly positive result that several vaccines are now available to combat the pandemic. President Joe Biden made rapid vaccine distribution a priority in the first few weeks after he took office, with the result that fifty percent of Americans are fully vaccinated; 57 percent received at least one dose.
But sand has been in the machine for a few weeks now, and there are many indications that conservative opinion-makers have played a part in the stagnation. Although vaccine is abundant across the country, fewer and fewer people are getting vaccinated. On record days, more than 3.5 million people were cared for in the United States, now the average is 600,000 per day. This number would be even lower if teenagers aged twelve and over were not allowed to be vaccinated for a few weeks.
Biden: Vaccination goal just missed
Biden himself had to admit that, despite the best efforts, his government narrowly missed the target of having seventy percent of all adults vaccinated at least once by the national holiday on July 4th. Politics is a factor. The twenty states with the highest vaccination rates voted for Biden in the presidential elections. In the districts (counties) that voted for Trump, the vaccination rate was significantly lower than in Biden districts, as an evaluation by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows. Several opinion polls confirm that conservatives are significantly more reluctant to get vaccinated than left-wing liberals.