On Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah showed what things would look like if TV news reported about the COVID-19 vaccines with emphasis on its widespread success and safety. And the result was… pretty fun actually.
The joke came while Noah was talking about the frustrating news earlier in the day that some health officials caution we might not ever reach herd immunity and that COVID-19 might be something we end up mitigating rather than eradicating. Now the reason, of course, isn’t that COVID-19 is insurmountable, it’s mainly because a frustrating number of people are refusing to get vaccinated, which is slowing things down.
There are a lot of reasons for this — for instance, the country’s biggest cable news network is constantly telling its conservative viewers lies and misinformation about the vaccine and COVID-19. But Noah noted something else he says is contributing to vaccine hesitancy — sensationalist reporting that emphasizes extremely rare, or outright nonexistent adverse effects instead of the fact that the vaccines are extremely effective and safe.
“What isn’t helping is the media,” Noah argued. “Cause I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the media loves running stories about the few people who are having adverse reactions to the vaccine.”
“Because even though those cases are a tiny minority, those are the stories that people want to hear the most. Local news isn’t running stories about how all the people with no side effects are having a fine time. Because let’s be honest, that news just wouldn’t sell,” Noah continued. And that’s when he showed what that would look like.
So the scene switched to a sketch in which Noah was dressed as a TV reporter standing outside of someone’s home. “Thank you Pam, breaking news,” Noah said, imitating a typical on-the-scene TV news report. “I am outside the house of a man who received the vaccine earlier this week and is completely fine. Right now, he is in that room, eating dinner with his family.”
The sketch ends with Noah pretending to have been seen, forcing him to scamper off as if he were a tabloid reporter. And of course he has a point about how it’s unlikely such a report would be aired with any success. But to be honest, after a year and change of this pandemic, I honestly would absolutely love to see reporting like that. “Functional vaccine is effective and safe” is a way more fun headline than pretty much anything else related to the pandemic.
Anyway, watch the clip above — Noah’s media criticism, which ends with the fake news bit, begins about 1 minute and 50 seconds into the bit.