The major Sunday news shows failed to cover a scandal regarding the ongoing misinformation campaign about the COVID-19 pandemic after the official Twitter account of the House Judiciary Committee Republicans tweeted and then deleted a claim that the vaccine booster shots don’t work.
To be clear, the data thus far has shown that while the vaccines confer less protection against infection from the omicron variant as compared to the previous ones, they still lower the severity of cases that do occur, especially helping prevent hospitalizations. And the booster shots raise the protection against contracting even a mild illness.
However, none of the Sunday shows — even the ones that hosted prominent public health experts — mentioned this official backing of vaccine misinformation by a major political party’s elected officials. (Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on both CNN’s State of the Union and ABC’s This Week, while former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation.)
State of the Union came the closest to addressing misinformation about the pandemic by Republican leaders, when co-anchor Dana Bash asked Fauci about a tweet from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), which claimed that the “real crisis is the irrational hysteria” surrounding the omicron variant.
And while Fauci gave a cogent reply to Rubio’s claims, CNN wasted an opportunity to ask the president’s chief medical adviser about a far more harmful claim emanating from Republican offices.
And in a farcical display, Fox News Sunday rotating anchor Trace Gallagher asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) about “what role has pandemic politics played” in vaccine resistance — though the two of them never mentioned Fox’s own prolific and continuing record of attacking the vaccines, including by Gallagher himself.