Peter Doocy isn’t just a Fox News disinformation peddler. He’s a hereditary Fox News disinformation peddler and, perhaps, the most pathetic failson being publicly promoted by the network. Tucker Carlson is dangerous. Junior Doocy can only try to be so dangerous, but he’s so bad at his job that mostly he just makes White House press secretary Jen Psaki look really, really good.
And so it went on Tuesday when Doocy tried to press Psaki on COVID-19 vaccine mandates for police—his argument being that so many police would resign that it would compromise public safety. This led to a series of body blows and one indelible moment when Psaki asked Doocy, “What was the number-one cause of death among police officers last year, do you know?”
Then she waited.
Silence from Doocy.
That was something of an understatement, actually. COVID-19 wasn’t just the leading cause of death for police officers on duty last year, it is also the leading cause of death for police officers on duty this year, and in both cases it is more than four times as common as the No. 2 cause of death.
Psaki also offered up a litany of statistics showing the effectiveness of vaccine mandates, and the degree to which the claim that large numbers of officers will quit has been overstated. “If you look at Seattle as an example, which I know has been in some of the reporting, 92% of the police force is vaccinated, as are 93% of firefighters. Ninety-nine percent of Seattle’s 11,000 employees have submitted vaccine verification or an exemption request.”
Doocy bravely/foolishly plowed on. “Public safety, though. All these other problems: Terror, murder, robberies, kidnappings. Is there any concern that if police forces shrink or if the size of the ready military force shrinks, that the United States or localities may not be equipped properly to deal with that?“
“Peter, more than 700,000 people have died of COVID. Again, it was the number-one cause of death among police departments and police officers. It’s something that we should take seriously. Departments are trying to save people in their departments, people who work for them, we support that effort, and there’s been success across the country in that regard.”
Terror? The U.S. is currently experiencing about a 9/11’s worth of COVID-19 deaths every two days. Murder? A year’s worth of homicide deaths from COVID-19 about every 12 days, at the current rate. Kidnapping? Abduction by strangers is extremely rare—you’d have to go to the state level to express the frequency of COVID-19 deaths relative to that.
Doocy and Fox News aren’t worried about public safety. Their opposition to public health measures around the coronavirus pandemic show that. They’re not worried about the reduction of police forces or they’d be worried about the hundreds of officers the virus has killed. Doocy and Fox News are concerned about the appearance of supporting police, using it here as a tool to attack efforts to end the pandemic. His angling for a “White House doesn’t care if police quit en masse” headline is clownishly obvious here, and it relies on Fox News viewers to fail to notice that evidence does not at present exist of large numbers of police resignations, and that evidence does exist of COVID-19’s deadly impact on police departments. Lucky for him, Fox viewers can be relied on to fail to notice those things, but this exchange is deeply unlikely to expand the audience for the Fox message on vaccinations.