When news broke on Monday that Colin Powell, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who also served as secretary of state during the presidency of George W. Bush, had passed away, the main takeaway—if you just watched Fox News—was that Powell died from COVID-19, despite being vaccinated. And it didn’t take long for anti-vaxxers, fearmongers, and propagandizers to use his death to yet again question the efficacy of the approved COVID vaccines.
As usual, Fox News was one of the loudest voices singing out in this anti-vaxx chorus, with Will Cain choreographing a whole song and dance about how Powell’s “family has made a point on their post on Facebook this morning that Colin Powell was fully vaccinated,” but not once mentioning Powell’s age (84) or health status (a prostate cancer survivor with Parkinson’s disease who was undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer). John Roberts, meanwhile, immediately took to Twitter to question the efficacy of our vaccines—then deleted the tweet, then explained why he deleted the tweet but swore there was nothing anti-vaxx-y in his original tweet. This is the original tweet:
What made the whole situation even more awkward, as The Wrap noted, is when Roberts and his America Reports co-host Sandra Smith welcomed Fox News medical expert Dr. Nicole Saphier to the show later in the day (just a few hours after Roberts had deleted his original tweet). While she did not address Roberts’ tweet directly, Dr. Saphier made it clear that using Powell’s death as a way to further any anti-vaxxing agenda was just plain ol’ ignorant.
“While you can see people all over social media trying to use this anecdotal report of Secretary Powell dying from a COVID breakthrough, why don’t we just stick with what we do know and we’ll leave it at that,” Dr. Saphier said. “So we have an 84-year-old man who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, had been previously treated for prostate cancer, and was also undergoing treatments for multiple myeloma,” she said.
Dr. Saphier went on to explain the obvious: That Powell’s age and health issues would give him both “a decreased ability to fight off infections, as well as a decreased ability to mount an immune response after a vaccine.”
After speaking for more than five minutes about COVID hospitalizations and how the vaccines work, Saphier dropped one final thought/shot before signing off, which—whether intentional or not—seemed squarely pointed in Roberts’ direction:
“It’s very upsetting to see that people [are] taking Colin Powell’s death a using it as ‘the vaccine didn’t work.’ This is a very specific situation, and to use someone’s death to try and make a point that really doesn’t carry a lot of weight to it is very frustrating.”
You can watch the full interview on Mediaite.
(Via The Wrap)