As part of an analysis over whether the deaths of several popular anti-vaccination radio hosts from COVID-19 will influence their followers to listen to doctors, one former conservative claimed their deaths won't even impact their compatriots who spout the same conspiracy theories on their own shows.
In a column for NBC, Allan Smith noted the recent deaths of several conservative radio and podcast hosts who have succumbed to COVID-19 after spending months spreading conspiracy theories and railing against the government.
"First it was Dick Farrel. Then Phil Valentine. Most recently, Marc Bernier. Just within the past month, those three conservative radio hosts — all unvaccinated critics of inoculation efforts — died after contracting COVID," Smith wrote before posing the question: "Will their deaths help sway any minds of unvaccinated listeners or the broader segment of conservatives resistant to the shots?"
According to conservative host John Fredericks, who admitted that he has been vaccinated, he thinks it might be a wake-up call.
"There's no question when somebody like Phil Valentine, when you read that he has it and then three weeks later he's dead, it will get your attention," he suggested with conservative radio personality Jim Bohannon adding, "I think, certainly in the case of Phil Valentine and Farrel, who both had recanted their anti-COVID vaccine views before their deaths, it could have as much impact as anybody could possibly have."
However, Smith found one "former conservative media creator who has left the movement" who had a much more jaundiced view of what will happen next.
Literally nothing, Matthew Sheffield predicted.
Explaining, "....that's just not how things work there in that media world." Sheffield claimed conservatives outlets and their hosts are driven by the bottom line: money.
"There's too much money to be had. And blind people," Sheffield told Smith. "So it's not going to change. The only thing that people in right-wing media are going to respond to are legal threats. The death of their colleagues means nothing, but the loss of their personal fortunes is meaningful to them. And that says a lot."
Bohannon added that he sees the vaccine debate going both ways after the deaths.
"A lot of people, of course, are going to do what they think will improve their ratings and will appeal to their core audience," he explained. "I know these people are whores in the worst sense of the term. ... Others, I think, may be more open and may, in fact, go ahead and alter their view."
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