Brit Hume gave Fox News’ stamp of approval on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s call for seniors to die of coronavirus in the belief that the [Trump] economy can recover faster.
As you probably know by now, Patrick announced on Monday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight show that his “heart is lifted” by Trump’s plan to lift public health restrictions regardless of the public health consequences, because “I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me” who would rather die than see the economy continue to suffer. The hideous suggestion, which has become a recurring Fox theme, is that others should be willing to die, too.
Yesterday, “straight news” anchor Bill Hemmer ghoulishly gaslit Trump’s desire to “open up” the country by Easter, against the recommendations of public health experts, by slobbering, “That would be a great American resurrection.”
But Fox’s Brit Hume outdid Hemmer and even Patrick by explicitly validating the “so what if people die and hospitals are overrun?” rhetoric on behalf of Fox.
Not to be overlooked is host Tucker Carlson’s assist. In his introduction to the discussion with Hume, he euphemistically called Patrick’s ghastly remarks “for some, a challenging perspective on what our priorities ought to be.” After playing a clip, Carlson announced that a lot of people loved Patrick’s remarks and a lot hated it. “So, we thought we’d talk about it a little more with one of the wisest people we know,” Carlson added. That “wisest” person was Hume, of course.
Let’s just point out that a host with any decency would have brought on an expert to provide thoughts on how to save lives and the economy, rather than present it as an either/or proposition. But not Carlson or, implicitly, Fox News writ large! A decent news person would also note that Trump’s latest economy-over-American-lives rhetoric coincides with the closing of many of his most profitable businesses because of restrictions. Also, that Trump believes a strong economy is crucial to his re-election. Instead, we got this:
HUME: Well, I think [Patrick's] essentially saying something that's not terribly different from what the president and Governor Cuomo have been saying. Which is that this, what we're living in now, this circumstance as we try to beat this virus, is not sustainable. That the utter collapse of the country's economy, which many think will happen if this goes on much longer, is an intolerable result. And that, he is saying, for his own part, that he'd be willing to take a risk of getting the disease if that's what it took to allow the economy to move forward. And he said that because he's late in life, you know, that he would be perhaps more willing than he might've been and a younger age. Which seems to me to be an entirely reasonable viewpoint.
Now, I guess a lot of people think that, you know, as your previous guest just suggested, that, you know, any kind of risk with anybody's life is intolerable. And I think, you know, we live with the risk of, you know, seasonal influenza every year and thousands upon thousands die from it. But we do not, as has been pointed out, shut down the economy to combat it. Now look, the mortality rate from this is higher enough that it makes it alarming. So it's obviously a much more, a special kind of case. But there we are. You know, we don't shut down the economy to save every single life that's threatened by a wide-spread disease. We just don't.
Let me pause here to point out that the reason for shutting everything down is not “just” to save thousands of lives. It’s to prevent vital services such as our health care system, police, fire, etc., from becoming overwhelmed. It’s impossible to believe there would not be ripple effects into the broader economy. Who’s going to take a cruise in the middle of the pandemic?
As New York Magazine notes, “American consumer demand remains the engine of global economic growth. … Consumer demand for restaurants, concerts, and other services that require congregating in crowded public spaces will not return to normal levels while a lethal virus is still spreading exponentially, no matter what message the president preaches from the bully pulpit. People aren’t going to want to go out when their friends are routinely dying as a result of having gone out.”
Yet, neither Carlson nor his “wisest person” seemed to think about that. Or maybe their death wishes rendered them incapable of caring. “What you’re saying is factually true,” Carlson said. He added disingenuously, “I’m not even taking a position of where we ought to go next” right before helping to promote the pro-death agenda again, this time by prompting Hume to suggest that opposition to it is irrational partisanship. “Just stating that out loud, why do you think that enrages so many people?” Carlson just “wondered.”
HUME: Well, I can’t know that. I can’t read the minds of people I don’t know but there’s one thing I do suspect in all of this in terms of the reactions to it. We are living in a country which, in which people’s reactions to nearly everything have something to do, when you drill down, with to how they feel about Donald Trump. And to the extent to what the lieutenant governor said on your air last night is similar to, in overall message, to what Donald Trump has been saying. I think some of the reaction to it may flow from that.
CARLSON: It’s such a shame because this moment isn’t about Donald Trump, it’s about us. It’s about the rest of the country. Maybe we should focus on that.
Tell you what, Brit. You seem to be right in the age group of Patrick’s “entirely reasonable” suggestion. Why don’t you go volunteer your services at a prison or homeless shelter or somewhere where there is a serious risk of COVID-19 outbreak and give up any personal protective equipment to the professionals? That way, you could die for the economy and help stop the pandemic.