Not Closed for Business

By Kyle Jarrett

They’ve been saying it since day one. Every time there’s a new Covid story, the tweets are out before the variant ever reaches your local water cooler conversation, or dinner table: “Keep our schools open!” Tweets GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on 12/20/21. “Covid panic is a cult…” Tweets conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, also 12/20/21, before going on to rant about the injustice of mask mandates and “vaxx passports.” Or Fox’s own Tomi Lahren, (who is herself vaccinated) Tweeting (12/20) about how she’s proud to be unvaccinated. And then there’s good ol’ Don Jr. His daily covid rant for 12/20 was about the terrible “discrimination” faced by unvaccinated Americans. 

And that’s just a tiny sample of what they’re putting out there, every day, day after day. Because, as The New York Times notes in this (rather obvious) article, the GOP playbook regarding Covid is simple: Fight covid mandates, then blame Biden as cases rise

Here’s Tomi Lahren again, paid Fox News contributor, actually managing to ride both horses in a single (12/21) Tweet: “The Democrat dumpster fire continues as Sleepy Joe remains more concerned with demeaning and threatening the unvaccinated than getting tests and treatments out to those who need them. We will discuss next on @OutnumberedFNC noonET FoxNews.”

Notice how she defends vaccine hesitancy while in the same sentence blaming the Covid ”dumpster fire” squarely on President Biden. 

And here’s Fox’s own Jesse Watters promoting violence against Dr. Anthony Fauci at the (ridiculously named) conservative conference: AmericaFest. “Now you go in with the kill shot – deadly. Because, with an ambush, he doesn’t see it coming.” And here’s good ol’ Don Jr. again, obfuscating about it. 

Fight covid mandates, rail against masks and vaccines, pretend as if their viewers and constituents are under constant threat of having their city or little town locked down by the big bad boogeyman: The Evil Democrats. 

Because the little lies beget the Big Lie, right? Or is it the other way around? Here’s Tucker Carlson ranting to his millions of viewers about the “failure of Biden’s Covid policies,” policies he himself has worked to undermine, again and again, and again. Trump claimed it back in September’s debate: “He wants to shut down the country and I want to keep it open,” and Laura Ingraham led a November episode of her Fox News primetime show, The Angle, by ranting about Biden’s “Forever Lockdown.” Because it’s easy to sell their siloed viewers on the claim that President Biden’s policies will lead to further lockdowns, despite that the White House has made clear that it’s not planning any further government mandated lockdowns

So what angle is the Right-Wing media going for? Outright lies to stoke fear amongst its base? To keep viewership high? It couldn’t be so cynical, right? 

Boost viewership to sell more ad-time? (To companies like Liberty Mutual Insurance, Applebees, USAA, Indeed, Nutrisystem, and Progressive Insurance, who collectively spent 11.6 million dollars on advertising during Fox News broadcasts through Q2 of 2021).And if those viewers boo their King-elect for admitting he got his booster shot? Turn their attention to Biden’s dog.

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