For years, far right sites like Breitbart News have sowed distrust in journalists, in Democrats, even in experts. They’ve taught their readers that these people aren’t only wrong but evil. Then a once-in-a-century pandemic happened. And when journalists, Democrats, and experts told them to take it seriously, to mask up, to get a vaccine, they did what they were bound to do: They did the opposite. The overwhelming majority of COVID cases and deaths right now involve the unvaccinated. So one Breitbart writer sprung into action: He blamed the deaths of the unvaccinated…on those begging people to get vaccinated.
In two new pieces, longtime Breitbart writer John Nolte — who is vaccinated and who is trying to reason with people who booed Trump himself for recommending the vaccines — made a surreal, bananas argument: that “leftists” like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, CNN, and Howard Stern — who recently had some choice words for anti-vaxxers — are “deliberately looking to manipulate Trump supporters into not getting vaccinated.”
He added, “Nothing else makes sense to me.”
Nolte’s argument, such as it was, was that the unvaccinated would never want to be “bullied or ridiculed or mocked or pushed into doing anything.” Fair enough. But then he went a bunch of steps further:
If I wanted to use reverse psychology to convince people not to get a life-saving vaccination, I would do exactly what Stern and the left are doing… I would bully and taunt and mock and ridicule you for not getting vaccinated, knowing the human response would be, Hey, f*ck you, I’m never getting vaccinated!
The article was widely mocked over the weekend. (More on that soon.) So on Monday, Nolte pulled a popular Republican trick: He doubled down.
The organized left is deliberately putting unvaccinated Trump supporters in an impossible position where they can either NOT get a life-saving vaccine or CAN feel like cucks caving to the ugliest, smuggest bullies in the world.
In other words, I sincerely believe the organized left is doing everything in its power to convince Trump supporters NOT to get the life-saving Trump vaccine.
To his credit, Nolte did call what he referred to as the “Trump vaccine” a “miracle and a lifesaver” (while calling mask mandates “fascist” and calling COVID “the China Virus,” of course). That’s a pretty low bar, though. Besides, he failed to clear another: He didn’t outright tell his readers, many of whom are likely anti-vaxxers, to get vaxxed. “That’s your choice,” he wrote. “But I am telling you to find a better argument.”
When people who aren’t Breitbart readers learned that a Breitbart writer was blaming people who’ve been singing the praises of COVID vaccines for months for the deaths of those who would never listen to them — well, Breitbart became a social media laughingstock.
Breitbart is claiming that the months of begging/pleading w/people to get vaccinated is really a grand conspiracy to make Trump supporters NOT get vaccinated.
In other words, Breitbart thinks Trump followers aren't self-aware enough to see through reverse-psychology 101. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/E0UNRFdwzC
— Fr. Robert R. Ballecer, SJ (@padresj) September 20, 2021
wow. Breitbart now says Dems are guilty of genocide by tricking Trumpers into believing that they can own the libs by not getting vaccinated. https://t.co/s1mT3gHfNM
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 20, 2021
Democrats: Get vaccinated.
Republicans: Let's make this a wedge issue.
*republican voters start dying*
Breitbart: Democrats don't want you to get vaccinated. https://t.co/BER0lUbgXO
— Beau of The Fifth Column (@BeauTFC) September 20, 2021
Breitbart is running a piece that says – I am not kidding – that the left is mocking the unvaxed so they'll dig in and never get vaxed and die and shift political power to the left.
This is so weird on so many levels that I am tempted to dive in on it, Inception style. https://t.co/DiFZ6ZAbnT
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) September 19, 2021
"When people urge you to take the vaccine, they are trying to trick you into not taking it, in order to kill you" is quite a creative argument, even for Breitbart.
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) September 20, 2021
Breitbart’s writers are drinking on the job again. pic.twitter.com/blqq4vPjZO
— Spectre (@jude_spectre) September 20, 2021
Either liberals are stupid or they're so smart they can manipulate Trump Supporters into thinking a vaccine is unnecessary to kill themselves?
Which is it Breitbart😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/2T6jSEIqT9
— 💀DeathMetalViking💀 (@DeathMetalV) September 20, 2021
So Breitbart is essentially arguing that “the left” is trying to convince Trump supporters *not* to get the vaccine by… telling them to get the vaccine? And that Trump supporters are refusing to get the vaccine to own the libs? Am I reading this insanity correctly? https://t.co/dO09GoqgxF
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 19, 2021
Some called Nolte’s argument mere spin.
new right wing spin just dropped (re: breitbart) pic.twitter.com/xqhaxzcG9O
— nude antifa kobold (@nilbold) September 20, 2021
Others called it gaslighting.
Breitbart has published the biggest piece of gaslighting in the history of human civilization.
So far… pic.twitter.com/t2BeDAZnRo
— The USA Singers (@TheUSASingers) September 20, 2021
Others pointed out Nolte was basically admitting a large faction of right wing media has been wrong about vaccines.
This appears to be Breitbart’s way of saying they were completely wrong about the Covid vaccine. pic.twitter.com/qbqlizBjA5
— Brick Wahl (@brickwahl1) September 20, 2021
Some used the opportunity to once again beg people to get vaccinated.
Breitbart News is claiming that Democrats are using reverse psychology when they tell Republicans to get vaccinated so they will refuse and die of COVID-19.
The only response I have to that is this:
Republicans, get vaccinated.
— Middle Age Riot (@middleageriot) September 21, 2021
That Breitbart article about how liberals are trying to trick conservatives into not getting vaccinated is doing the Lord's work, people
I mean, uhhh it's very offensive, I am SO OFFENDED I AM CRYING, whatever they need to hear
— Cliff 🦖 Jerrison (@pervocracy) September 20, 2021
Some a tack that was almost as far-fetched as Nolte’s argument: That telling people to get vaccinated to own the libs might just work.
That Breitbart column arguing the left is using reverse psychology to keep Trumpists from getting vaccinated for political gain is pretty close to my theory of a maximally effective message to get them to take the shots from a couple months ago. https://t.co/chOvA26G7i pic.twitter.com/oCqYaJ9T2D
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 19, 2021
This is genuinely the most persuasive pro-vaccine propaganda I’ve seen yet. It’s genius. https://t.co/9icwZC48wx
— Neoliberal 🌐 (@ne0liberal) September 19, 2021
As absurd as the Breitbart story is – the underlying message is that the far right is so programmable they will reject anything liberals do. And so help me god, they aren't lying about that https://t.co/gA7smzCVlJ
— Laura Walker ⚖🍸🇺🇸 🏴 (@LauraWalkerKC) September 20, 2021
But, some pointed out, it still makes no sense.
Let us consider for a moment what one of Breitbart's Big Thinkers is admitting
1. Vaccines work
2. Vax resistance is almost entirely partisan
3. Unvaxed people are dying in large numbers
He then gets from this to: THIS IS THE LEFT'S ENTIRE PLAN!
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) September 19, 2021
All in all, it’s a depressing reminder of what the culture war has done to some people’s brains.
This Breitbart article is the best illustration of how absolutely fucked partisan politics is in America; that there is a sizable chunk of the population that is like "if they're for it then I'm against it," even if it makes no goddamn sense. https://t.co/UfMTwJkgiB
— Matty! (@MattytheMouse) September 20, 2021
Bottom line: Get vaccinated if you haven’t. But don’t take it from us: Take it from the guy who also thinks Black Panther is pro-Trump.