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O'Reilly: Populists must join mainstream conversation

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Every week we seem to read another story about a right-wing populist talk show host dying of COVID-19. If it’s not a radio personality, it’s some hot-talking minister or flame-throwing social media figure succumbing to the illness after railing against masks and vaccines for months.

In many cases, there’s a deathbed conversion, with the victim belatedly imploring followers to get masked and get vaccinated before it’s too late. For him, of course, it already is.

The reaction from populist influencers to COVID science has been a head-scratcher from the beginning. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say wear a mask, then masks are anathema. If experts advise nucleic acid vaccines, designed at a cost of billions by some of the best minds on the planet, internet yahoos fire back with livestock deworming injections — or worse. (Remember bleach?)

The pushback against science from this sector has come to feel willful — almost automatic,........

© Newsday

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