Conservative media has a vast reach of mostly the old and dumb, and it has been attacking minds for years with its constant full-throated support of not restricting access to high-powered weaponry, it's the open disdain of minorities, it's a dedication to claiming climate change is a hoax, and so on. With the pandemic, they've really stepped up their game to cause as much havoc as they possibly can just shy of coughing into a retirement community's air ducts.
According to several separate studies, conservative media outlets have done incredible damage to the U.S.'s ability to fight the virus, via the spread of misinformation, the amplification of conspiracy theories, and the encouragement of rebellion against common-sense solutions. The most clear-cut result of one of the studies heaps the blame primarily on the shoulders of Fox News' Sean Hannity. It found that infection and mortality rates were significantly higher in places with the most Hannity viewers. The study's authors noted that, all-told, "consuming far-right media and social media content was strongly associated with low concern about the virus at the onset of the pandemic."
Another study out of the University of Illinois found that people who got their pandemic news from more neutral print and TV outlets like The Washington Post or CNN tended to actually know what was happening in the world and had a firm grasp on the severity of COVID-19's spread. Meanwhile, people who got their info from conservative outlets tended to believe right-wing hucksters wholeheartedly. Yet another study found a strong correlation between hearing conservative propaganda and it's direct physical application. They found a 10% increase in a refusal to stay home in zip codes with high Fox News viewership numbers.
Another study found that Fox News viewers were less likely to comply with basic, common-sense public health guidelines like wearing masks in public, despite a separate study finding that countries, where a majority of people wore masks, saw death rates 100 times lower than initially projected.
If you ever find yourself wondering who to blame here, the people flagrantly disregarding public health guidance are your first stop on the tour. But look just a little further beyond them and you'll find the real culprits pulling their strings: Conservative media's childish rebelliousness is inspiring people to not even do the bare minimum required to stem the tide of a virus that's preventing a return to relative normalcy. A bunch of dumb old republicans who think a cartoonish concept of American individualism is more worthy of preservation than human lives.
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Catch him on the "In Broad Daylight" podcast with Cracked alums Adam Tod Brown and Ian Fortey! Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. Listen to the first episode on Youtube!
Top Image: Fox News