Brian Stelter, host of the badly misnamed “Reliable Sources” on CNN, took the opportunity of the death of a popular talk radio host to do the only thing he does reliably: bash Fox News.
Phil Valentine, host of the Nashville-based nationally syndicated “The Phil Valentine Show,” which reached roughly 100 stations, died Saturday of COVID-19 at 61.
And while conservatives celebrated how he helped spur their movement, some leftists cheered his demise because he had once questioned the need for a virus vaccine, but then had a change of heart after he got sicker from the disease and urged people to get a jab.
On his program, Stelter did his best to dredge up some personal empathy for Valentine. And then the “Reliable Sources” host did the only thing he knows how to do reliably: bash Fox News and conservative media generally.
“It is awful to have to examine the right-wing content, the crap that masquerades for news that’s full of anti-vaccine rhetoric,” Stelter said.
“You think about the real-world consequences for people like Phil Valentine,” said Stelter, before playing clips of Fox News hosts questioning vaccine mandates and whether people would be locked up in their homes if they cannot get the shot.
Stelter then believed he exposed some kind of hypocrisy because Fox’s corporate managers mandated employees to disclose their vaccine status.
“There are real-life consequences for this misinformation and this nonsense. So, when is Fox ever going to be held accountable?”
Setting aside reasons why people are not getting vaccines, another question might be when will CNN take an interest in reporting on other demographic groups that are not getting vaccinated?
For example, according to a Bloomberg News vaccine tracker as of Aug. 13, just 33.1 percent of black people in Tennessee, where Phil Valentine passed away, have been vaccinated. That’s the lowest ratio among the races.
The story is the same in blue state or city after blue state or city: Illinois, 36.7 percent; New York, 38.7 percent; New York City 35.9 percent; Hawaii, 30 percent; in the District of Columbia, 35.4 percent; Nevada, 35.2 percent; Rhode Island, 47.8 percent; Virginia, 44.2 percent; Connecticut, 45.1 percent; Wisconsin, 34.2 percent; Michigan, 29.1 percent.
But it’s a story not necessarily about race.
While some blue states – like Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont – are vaccine strongholds, with more than 50 percent of all racial groups injected, in others, not even whites are at 50 percent vaccinated yet.
In D.C., for instance, only 47.1 percent of whites are vaccinated.
What holds them back? What holds back blacks and Hispanics in these places?
Are we to believe, as Stelter wants us to, that these are all victims of a Tucker Carlson mind meld? That they’re channeling Rush Limbaugh from the grave?
No, maybe, in part, that they’ve watched CNN, MSNBC, and the broadcast networks and have seen Drs. Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky, and our other public health experts take every side of every issue on COVID.
Maybe they watched CNN and MSNBC on the days when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris said they wouldn’t trust a vaccine developed by former President Donald Trump’s administration.
Stelter’s got it wrong.
What’s really awful is having to watch him and other liberal cable talk-show hosts sell the left-wing partisan swill that this is only a red state issue, that their networks have played no role in people resisting vaccines by promoting doubts of all manners of treatment, or that people don’t have calculated beliefs for not taking a vaccine after COVID killed nearly 6,800 people who had received a shot.
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