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.
April 19, 2021

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."

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