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Glenn Beck is pictured in a 2007 file photo.
Glenn Beck, pictured in this 2007 file photo, talks with the Deseret News. He recently revealed that he is battling COVID-19 for the second time.
Jenn Ackerman, Deseret News

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Perspective: Glenn Beck is battling COVID-19 again, and it’s bringing out the worst in his critics

It’s never acceptable to mock people for getting sick, regardless of their vaccination status

Talk-show host Glenn Beck said Wednesday that he is battling COVID-19 for the second time and, most concerningly, revealed that the virus is “getting into” his lungs. He is treating the illness with a combination of drugs, including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and said on The Mark Levin Show, “My doctors are hitting it really hard.”

In making the announcement, Beck became the latest target of people who believe it’s OK to make fun of unvaccinated people who become seriously ill or die. Beck has said he didn’t get the vaccine because he had COVID-19 in 2020 and believed it gave him natural immunity.

On social media, some people were quick to make sarcastic remarks about Beck’s illness.

“I simply can’t feel bad for any of these dreadful people. Get vaccinated,” one person wrote. Others offered “thoughts and prayers” sarcastically, and one person tweeted “RIP.”

While many people expressed genuine concern for Beck and wished him a swift recovery, there’s an undercurrent of malice that swirls around unvaccinated people who get sick that was recently defended by a columnist in the Los Angeles Times.

In a piece entitled “Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary,” Michael Hiltzik considered if unvaccinated people who get COVID-19 are getting “their just desserts.” He seemed to set himself apart from the cruel mockery that takes places on Reddit and the website Sorryantivaxxer.com, saying that some deaths are “truly lamentable” — if, for example, they had medical reasons for not getting vaccinated, or if they were “deceived by the misinformation and disinformation spread by the anti-vaccine crowd.”

But he concluded, “mockery is not necessarily the wrong reaction” nor is withholding “sympathy and solicitude.”

“There may be no other way to make sure that the lessons of these teachable moments are heard.”

In fact, mockery is absolutely the wrong reaction, and those who engage in it degrade themselves, not the target of their ridicule. Calling unvaccinated people “Covidiots” and celebrating their deaths only hardens the division between people who believe the pandemic has been exaggerated and people who believe we’re not taking it seriously enough.

For Beck, a second round of illness couldn’t come at a worse time, as this week he released a new book, “The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First Century Fascism.” The book examines what Beck believes is an orchestrated attempt by elites to remake the world’s economy, using the pandemic and climate change as excuses.

Beck may have gone on Levin’s show to discuss the book, but his revelation about his worsening COVID-19 seemed to take Levin by surprise, and it was Beck’s health that made headlines today. Occasionally coughing, he said he’s been sick with COVID-19 for about a week, but that he is feeling better although it’s a “little disturbing” that it’s moving into his lungs.

“I’m not concerned about it. I’m really not. I’m so done with this whole COVID thing,” he said. He said he is overweight and has other health issues, and said everyone seems to be getting sick right now. But he said, “We have got to move on with our lives.”

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