Even as stronger, deadlier variants of the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans continue to emerge, right-wing media outlets have repeatedly undermined the Biden Administration's efforts to ramp up vaccinations.
Hosts on the conservative Fox News network have alleged that the vaccines don't actually work, or that the effort to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible is a federal overreach. On the far-right disinformation outlet Newsmax, one host said the vaccines even went "against nature."
That's why people were surprised when Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy published an op-ed praising President Joe Biden's initiative to rollout the vaccines, all the while crediting former President and GOP figurehead, Donald Trump, for its creation.
"Six months into his administration, President Joe Biden should be applauded for making a huge dent in the COVID pandemic.
He inherited an effective vaccine from President Donald Trump, took it into his arms, and ran with it.
The success of this approach has been obvious. Serious deaths and hospitalizations (the most important COVID data) have collapsed"
Then, Ruddy began doing damage control for his own network:
"At Newsmax, we have strongly advocated for the public to be vaccinated.
The many medical experts who have appeared on our network have been near unanimous in support of the vaccine."
This is, of course, demonstrably false.
Ruddy's comments come just one day after far-right Fox News host Sean Hannity —with other Fox News hosts—also urged his viewers to get vaccinated, despite his own network's months-long campaign of disinformation regarding the pandemic.
People were confused by the sudden about-face, and some offered speculation as to what motivated it.
But regardless of the intentions, the urgency of increasing vaccinations to outpace future variants is crucial enough that people were relieved to see the statement from an unexpected messenger.
At the op-ed's conclusion, Ruddy says the vaccine "is saving countless lives – and that is a good thing."