“We are not supposed to insult these people for their decision to not get vaccinated. We are supposed to understand their position,” columnist Mike McFeely writes. “But should we be empathetic toward those with no good reason for not getting vaxxed?”
“Most are supporters of Donald Trump and to call their decision-making deplorable is worse than insulting their grandmother,” he continued in a recent column, choosing to see the vaccination debate through a partisan political lens.
Is this fair?
There’s evidence to suggest that vaccine hesitancy is far less political than commentators like McFreely would like to believe.
“For example, as of this weekend, 41 percent of New York City residents were not vaccinated. Trump won 22 percent of the vote in NYC,” National Review columnist Jim Geraghty notes.
“In Chicago, 43 percent of residents are not vaccinated. Trump carried 24 percent of the vote in Cook County,” he continues. “In Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Ore., just under 63 percent have at least one dose, meaning that 37 percent are unvaccinated. Trump won under 18 percent in that county in 2020. Detroit has vaccinated just under 40 percent of its residents; Trump carried 5 percent of the vote in that city.”
Even if every single Trump voter opted against the vaccine, which certainly isn’t the case, we’d still be left with a lot of people who voted for Joe Biden and are, so far, refusing to get the vaccine.
Many in the news media have worked very hard to shoehorn the vaccine issue into a political narrative.
The New York Times, as one example, published a statistical analysis in April which seems to show that vaccine hesitancy is generally higher in Trump-voting areas, and that the rate of vaccination is generally lower there.
Yet per the Times’ own data, Hawaii was, at the time, well below a 40 percent vaccination rate. Pennsylvania, Oregon, Nevada, and Michigan all had relatively low vaccination rates as well at that time.
All of those states went to Joe Biden in 2020.
Perhaps a political narrative isn’t appropriate for the vaccination debate?
Perhaps the efforts to frame the issue as another front in partisan politics does more harm than good?
If the answer to that last question is “yes” it’s a particularly egregious sin for members of the news media who claim to value vaccination.
After all, if we want people to get vaccinated, is writing them off as deplorables the best way to go about it?
Jay Thomas, host of the Jay Thomas Show on WDAY AM970, joins this episode of Plain Talk Live to discuss.
The audio of every episode of Plain Talk Live is available on the Plain Talk podcast, which you can find through your favorite podcasting service.