While Powell was fully vaccinated, he was also battling multiple myeloma, a cancer that suppresses the immune system, making it more susceptible to the virus and less likely to develop an immune response after being vaccinated. He was also in a higher risk group, aged 84.
Powell’s cancer, however, was not a part of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s monologue.
Carlson, the top-rated star on the right-wing talk network, instead used Powell’s death on Monday night to suggest that Americans are “being given a lie” about vaccines.
Throughout his monologue, Carlson, who declined to say if he was vaccinated, questioned the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Will Cain, who hosted the hour before him, also used Powell’s death to question the effectiveness of vaccines while raving about warrants.
And Fox News daytime anchor John Roberts deleted a tweet earlier today that said Powell’s death “raises new questions” about vaccine effectiveness.
None of the Fox News hosts mentioned the fact that 90% of Fox Corporation employees are vaccinated or the fact that unvaccinated Fox employees have to undergo daily Covid-19 tests.
Outside of the Fox News bubble, other conservatives on the radio and the web have also used Powell’s death to challenge the Covid-19 vaccines.
Anti-vaccine rhetoric has been a constant in right-wing media since early 2021.
An important tactic of those who oppose vaccines is highlighting unrepresentative anecdotes.
But studies have shown that the three Covid-19 vaccines used in the United States are both safe and very effective. The vast majority of deaths in the United States are now among those who are not vaccinated.
Public health officials have encouraged the general public not only to get vaccinated to protect themselves, but also to others – like those, like Powell, who are immunocompromised – against the virus.