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'Spreading fear on purpose for ratings': Fox News host slams Tucker Carlson's anti-vaccine reporting
Fox News host Howard Kurtz on Sunday hosted a panel that conflated CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta with Fox News host Tucker Carlson when it comes to reporting on the efficacy of vaccines.
On his Sunday Media Buzz program, Kurtz pointed to what he called a "media frenzy" regarding the CDC's decision to temporarily pause Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine due to concerns over extremely rare blood clots.
"Here's what some of the pundits had to say," Kurtz said announcing clips narrated by Gupta and Carlson.
"This will increase vaccine hesitancy," Gupta noted in the first clip.
"It seems possible there may be more going on here," Carlson worried in the second clip. "It is possible in fact that this vaccine is more dangerous than they're indicating it is. And federal authorities today appeared to acknowledge that."
But Kurtz ignored Carlson's recent false suggestion that vaccines might not work at all.
"So maybe it doesn't work, and they're simply not telling you that. Well, you'd hate to think that, especially if you've gotten two shots. But what's the other potential explanation? We can't think of one," Carlson said last week.
Fox & Friends host Will Cain pushed back on the idea that the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution is a "big deal."
"I also understand basic math," Cain told Kurtz. "What are we looking at? A 1 in 1 million problem that might exist. Do you know the risks we take throughout our day that take a greater risk than 1 in 1 million. I mean, this is the equivalent of reporting on shark attacks stories as though they are a major problem."
"And it's worse than that, Howie," he continued. "It's worse than the shark attack, you know, hyperinflation import of that story because now people are going to be afraid to take a vaccine -- in fact, they can't because it's been taken off the market -- with such minuscule risks. I don't know what we're doing. We're not being led by science."
Fox News contributor Mo Elleithee, a former Democratic strategist, argued that the public health system is working.
"I suspect based on everything we're hearing that J&J will be back out there as soon as possible," Elleithee explained.
"Are the media in covering this overplaying it," Kurtz asked Cain, "perhaps spreading fear because after all these government actions have been taken and right now you can't get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine?"
"The system is not working and the media is spreading fear on purpose," Cain insisted, prompting laughter from Elleithee.
"Wait, why on purpose?" Kurtz wondered.
"Because it's good for ratings," Cain stated. "They've been doing it for a year. I think I'm speaking an absolute objective truth. They've been overhyping, overinflating the fear of walking outside."
"All of this is anti-science," he added. "All of it is something beyond being driven by the data. You tell me? What's it driven by? A thirst to hang on to power, fear porn, virtue signaling. It's not by data and science."
Watch the video below from Fox News.
Fourteen months ago, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, wrote a letter warning that climate change was on the verge of "fundamentally reshaping" the financial sector. The crux of his message was that the finance sector would have an effect on preventing climate change, if only it changed who and what it invested in.
This article first appeared in Salon.
His words proved somewhat prophetic. Last month, Wells Fargo rounded out the list of Wall Street giants that have since committed to align their business model with the Paris Agreement, an international environmental accord.
This should please everyone concerned about climate change. Yet there is a danger that the financial sector now gets credit for acting on climate, when, in fact, it hasn't even begun to do what is necessary.
Yes, nearly all of the country's biggest banks have now committed to achieve "net-zero" climate emissions by 2050. But, at the same time, those same banks are continuing to loan trillions to the companies most responsible for causing climate change. As a major new report shows, since the Paris Agreement was signed in late 2015, JPMorgan Chase alone has loaned more than $317 billion to fossil fuel corporations. Even by the standards of oil companies, that is a lot of money; indeed, it's more than the market capitalization of Chevron and BP combined.
Reducing humanity's greenhouse gas emissions is a race against time, and no bank should be taken seriously if its 2050 climate promises are not accompanied by actions that immediately exclude financing for the coal mines and tar sands pipelines that we know are incompatible with reigning in catastrophic climate change. Even the few fossil fuel-exclusion policies that banks have passed amount to little more than empty gestures. In February 2020, JPMorgan Chase passed a policy to curtail its funding of Arctic drilling projects. Chase's policy prevents the provision of loans that are specifically designated to go toward a particular Arctic drilling project. That's all well and good. But it does nothing to prevent the provision of general purpose loans to companies that are engaged in the business of Arctic drilling.
It's a loophole the size of Arctic Wildlife Refuge, and, even after the adoption of its new policy, Chase loaned $825 million to companies engaged in Arctic drilling last year, more than any other bank.
This pales in comparison to the empty climate gestures made by some banks last month.
Enbridge Energy is currently trying to ram the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota. If built, Line 3's greenhouse gas footprint would be more than twice that of the entire state of Washington.
To put it plainly, Enbridge is building an oil pipeline that is incompatible with preserving life on Earth as we know it ― a pipeline that is also vehemently opposed by the Indigenous people whose lands it cuts through. "Cultural genocide," is how tribal attorney Tara Houska described the effect of the pipeline.
This is what makes it so egregious that last month, after climate campaigners launched a concerted effort to convince banks not to fund the Line 3 boondoggle, a coalition of major banks decided to cancel a $2.2 billion loan to Enbridge Energy ― and replace it with an $800 million "sustainability-linked" loan.
The Canadian tar sands produce what is likely the most carbon-intensive oil on Earth, and its extraction results in colossal levels of deforestation and water and air pollution. Giving Enbridge ― a company trying to build a pipeline that could expand tar sands extraction by up to 10% ― a so-called "sustainability" loan is about as Orwellian as it gets.
Even voices from within Wall Street have begun decrying the industry's empty posturing. "Wall Street is greenwashing the economic system and, in the process, creating a deadly distraction," wrote Tariq Fancy, the former head of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock, earlier this month.
Unfortunately, it appears that for all the noise Wall Street has made on climate in recent months, the only division within the finance world that has been "fundamentally reshaped" by the climate crisis is its PR departments.
-- Alec Cannon
Alec Connon is co-coordinator of Stop the Money Pipeline, a coalition of over 150 organizations united to end the flow of global capital into fossil fuels.
Capitol rioter who stole cop's body armor and pillaged Pelosi's office released before trial: report
According to a report from the Daily Beast, one of the alleged Capitol rioters accused of trashing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and stealing police body armor on Jan 6th. has been released from jail pending his trial.
William Robert Norwood III of South Carolina has been charged with obstruction of an official proceeding and theft of government property -- both felonies -- after boasting to his family about his participation in the deadly attack on the Capitol.
According to the Beast, "Norwood, who goes by Robbie, boasted to family members about assaulting a law enforcement officer, according to court documents. 'It worked,' he wrote to family members. 'I got away with things that others were shot or arrested for.' He went on to brag of his bounty. 'I got a nice helmet and body armor off a cop for God's sake and i (sic) disarmed him,' he wrote in messages to friends and family. 'Tell me how that works.'"
The report notes that Norwood, who lied to the FBI and insisted he was a member of Antifa, asked for home detention and his request was granted with the court noting he had no previous criminal record.
The Beast adds that Norwood was taken into custody after texting his brother about his exploits and a friend of the brother, who was told about the texts, contacted the FBI.
You can read more here.
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