Fox News’ Pete Hegseth is a special kind of stupid. He has been appearing on Fox & Friends for a while now and is known for bringing the world deep thoughts such as this musing on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, saying he “probably doesn’t love being the guy that has to murder his people all day long. He probably wants some normalization—let’s give it to him.” Hegseth, like the rest of the Fox News crew, has been doing a lot of work to argue that the novel coronavirus isn’t so bad— while tens of thousands of Americans have already died from the virus, we need to get back to work!
On Fox News today, Hegseth spoke from the safety of his crazy jingoistic office setup at home—replete with all of the things to remind everyone that he is a military veteran—to tell Americans they need to have courage and go get sick and maybe die! For America’s consumerism-based economy!
PETE HEGSETH: I do think you’re going to need that kind of ethos and that kind of spirit to put freedom before fear. Listen, there’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of misinformation. The “experts” have been telling us hundreds of thousands of people are going to die.
Yes. He put air quotes around “experts.” This is the man who bragged about not washing his hands for 10 years in order to develop strength against germs. The conservative misinformation machine is using its long-standing playbook of casting doubt. The fact is there’s still a lot we do not know about the 2019 novel coronavirus. But it is this gap in our knowledge that right-wingers play on. Of course, like all good propaganda ministries, they are also denying the things that we already do know about the pandemic.
Let me replay what Hegseth is calling into question here: “The ‘experts’ have been telling us hundreds of thousands of people are going to die.” As of this story’s publishing at the end of the first week of May, the United States is surpassing 75,000 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths while the world has confirmed almost 250,000 deaths due to COVID-19. So far, the “experts” have really nailed it. It’s a bummer that they have been correct, and I’m sure that 99% of them wish our leadership and other world leadership would have heeded their warnings earlier, but sadly that’s where we are.
HEGSETH: But now that we are learning more, herd immunity is our friend. Healthy people getting out there—they’re going to have to have some courage!
Oh boy. You look like your hair is healthy, Mr. Hegseth. Why don’t you go outside and do whatever it is you believe counts as “courage?” The concept of promoting a vaccine-free “herd immunity” plan like the one that the United Kingdom played with before Prime Minister Boris Johnson was confined to an ICU with COVID-19 is insane. Epidemiologist have called this idea “satire.” (Albeit, very dark satire.) People like Hegseth have always been dangerous, but it’s during real crises like the current pandemic and looming economic disaster that we can so clearly experience their profound inadequacies and the lethality of their narcissism.