One day after Sean Hannity postured as a vaccine supporter on TV, he gave his seal of approval to a caller refusing the COVID vaccine against his doctor’s advice.
Media Matters caught Hannity dispensing unqualified, potentially dangerous medical advice without anything that might look like a medical credential. Heck, he didn’t even finish college.
CALLER “REX”: I'm a cancer survivor. As a result of my cancer history, I have a compromised immune system, because I lost my thyroid as a result of my cancer diagnosis.
Per my discussions with my doctors regarding vaccines, I was told to get immunized against COVID due to my compromised immune system. However, I decided to wait to see which vaccines have the least side effects before making that decision. I held up on getting immunized for several reasons that include the fact that the drug is not approved by the FDA, the fact that my doctor has not prescribed to me the vaccine based on my health history, plus the fact that my doctor is not administering the vaccine to me, which I think is important. Those are three factors that I haven't heard anybody discuss.
But I will get a vaccine when the FDA approves the vaccine, my doctor prescribes the vaccine to me, and my doctor administers it to me.
Rex told Hannity he has had four types of cancer. After a bit of discussion about that, Hannity rendered his opinion.
HANNITY: Here's what I like about what you're telling me. You -- you understand your unique medical condition, you understand that your immune system, in consultation with your doctor, is compromised. You believe in science, you believe in the science of vaccinations, but for the time being, it's not the right time for you to get the vaccine. I respect your decision.
You're -- you know why I respect it? Because you're giving me a lot of intelligent and informed reasons, and a lot of thought and research and a lot of discussion went into everything you just told this audience. And that’s what I’m asking people to do – to take it seriously.
Hannity could have simply said something to the effect of, “Look, I believe in the vaccines and I encourage people to follow their doctor’s advice about whether to get a vaccine and I encourage them to get the vaccine if it’s recommended." Or even, "I'm a vaccine believer but I respect your right to make your own medical decisions."
This is far from the only time Hannity has played doctor on the air, without a license. You may recall he wrongly “diagnosed” Hillary Clinton as having had a “cerebral venal thrombosis;” pronounced it time to re-open parts of the country last April (with the proviso that there would need to be “some changes moving forward, especially to avoid a rebound), declared Joe Biden not up to the job of president; and, upended the deaths-with-peace-and-dignity of 55 hospice patients in order to conduct a dishonest media circus designed to prevent the husband of braindead Terri Schiavo, another hospice patient at the facility, from removing her feeding tube.
Last night, Hannity decided that ophthalmologist (i.e. eye doctor) and U.S. senator, Rand Paul who is no longer board certified, partly because he had a hissy fit over the recertification requirements – and who recklessly exposed his colleagues to coronavirus for a week while he was waiting for his test results to come back – knows more about COVID-19 than infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci.
And speaking of Rand Paul, “Dr.” Hannity praised him for not getting the vaccine also on yesterday’s radio show:
HANNITY: Rand Paul’s smart. Rand Paul’s a medical doctor. Rand Paul was right when he said "Well no I'm not getting a vaccine, I have natural immunity, even if my antibody level goes down, I still have T-cell antibodies that would recognize any contact that I might have with the virus or even one of these variants that have people scared to death” and he says “I'm not doing it."
Follow the science, the Cleveland Clinic came out about two, three weeks ago, yeah, if you have natural immunity and you had COVID you probably don't need any vaccine. Said studies show you don't need it. Again, I'm following the science.
After praising Rex, Hannity laughably complained about people pressuring him for medical advice:
HANNITY: [A]ll this pressure that has been brought to bear on me to tell people what to do. I’m not your doctor.”
I don’t know a thing about everybody’s medical condition that calls this show. I’m not going to do it. But I am gonna tell people what I think: take it seriously, research the hell out of it, learn as much as you can and talk to your doctor, your doctors, and in consultation with them and maybe the other medical professionals you trust, make the decision that is right for you. But you’d better take it seriously ‘cause this thing has killed an awful lot of people.
I'll give Hannity the benefit of the doubt that he has said that but that's certainly not what he did in these two instances on yesterday's show. I suspect they were not the only two times, either.
So while it’s a plus that Hannity told Fox viewers, “It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated,” on Monday night, nobody should forget how he may have endangered the life of his caller and maybe more listeners.
Oh, and memo to Hannity: If you don’t want people pressuring you for medical advice, maybe you should stop dispensing it. You could do a lot of good and ease the pressure on yourself right there.
You can listen to Hannity praise Sen. Paul and a caller for refusing the vaccine below, both from the June 20, 2021 The Sean Hannity Show, via Media Matters.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
I’m not an epidemiologist so I’ll listen to those who have that training and experience. It would be practically suicidal to give much weight to the opinions of a radiologist (e.g. Dr. Atlas) or an ophthalmologist (like self-certified Rand Paul). Were I to have a heart attack, I would want to be treated by a cardiologist, full stop. And especially not by someone who appears on a self-defined “infotainment” channel.
Unqualified pundits earn their living by telling people what they WANT to hear, science be damned. Drives me crazy.