(By Ed Ryan) The about-face Conservative talker Phil Valentine has made on the COVID-19 vaccine has a lot of our readers questioning the role talk radio has been playing – some say preventing – in rolling the vaccine out.
Valentine had been a vaccine skeptic until July 11th when he tested positive for the virus. He eventually got COVID related pneumonia and became seriously ill. Valentine, through his family, has said he wished he was more of a proponent of the vaccine and he’ll be talking about his situation more when he returns to the airwaves.
Back in June, the NAB launched a national campaign to help stations get the word out about getting vaccinated. NAB CEO Gordon Smith said, “Broadcasters will be on the front lines to promote vaccine awareness and encourage Americans to take this lifesaving step that will protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.” However, not all broadcasters are on board. Some talk show hosts do not believe the vaccine is safe, calling it an experimental drug and encouraging people to do their own research before getting the vaccine.
Now, with cases and hospitalizations rising, mostly among the unvaccinated, talkers like Phil Valentine are being singled out. Radio Ink reader Rob Timm writes, “Valentine & many other talkers have engaged in *flagrantly* irresponsible broadcasting. When people’s “considered thoughts and beliefs” are shaped by misinformation spread by ratings-seekers for personal gain, the behavior of talk hosts borders on the outright criminal.”
Radio Ink reader Dave Aamodt writes: Those who deny science should in the future bypass medical doctors when they are ill or feel sick. It would be hypocritical to seek care by a medical professional practicing scientist. There’s a reason you don’t hear about small pox and polio in America. Those vaccinations were for the greater good. There’s way too much individualism in America, and that does not serve the greater good. Those who refuse or don’t want the vaccine should stay home period. It’s the least they could do to tamp down the virus.”
IDCA President and former Boston Radio Executive Bob McKay adds, “Valentine’s “passive” questioning of the need for vaccines, discouraged an unknown amount of people to not get the vaccine, no doubt leading to an unknown amount of illnesses and deaths. The problem is that many people like Valentine are in effect politicizing the vaccine. This dangerously undermines the medical scientific community’s urging to get the vaccine. These scientists have clearly stated that vaccinations are the only way out of this global pandemic. That is a fact. And any efforts that question or undermine that medical fact and the vaccines, are reckless and irresponsible, and are leading to needless deaths.”
Is talk radio killing people? What’s your opinion? And of course all of us here at Radio Ink wish Phil Valentine a speedy recovery.
Ed Ryan is the editor of Radio Ink Magazine and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]