Last week, the Guardian published yet another article about an anti-vaxxer dying from Covid. Whilst the article itself feigned a straight face, the comment section below was an unfunny smorgasbord of smug liberal glee.

There appears to be a pervasive view among the vaxxed that it’s ironic when an anti-vaxxer dies from Covid. This is apparent from comments like ‘that’s irony for you’, but also in the juxtaposition of the headline, which read: ‘Rightwing radio host and anti-vaxxer dies of Covid’.

Ironically, this is actually ironic, as these deaths aren’t ironic at all. To those who don’t know, (and by this, I mean the editorial boards at the Guardian and Independent) irony is a situation that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects, and is therefore often amusing. As such, someone dying from a virus because they are not vaccinated against it is not ironic in the slightest, but tragically mundane.

These articles — which abound in liberal media every time a prominent anti-vaxxer dies — are the grottiest form of clickbait. Dick Farrel, the right-wing radio host, anti-vaxxer, and human being (by the way) who died last week, was described by the Guardian as a ‘vociferous critic of Dr Anthony Fauci’; calling the latter a ‘power-tripping, lying freak’.

Whilst ‘freak’ is a little ad hominem, I have to admit that I agree with Farrel on this. In his role as Chief Medical Advisor to the President, Fauci has deliberately lied to Americans on the efficacy of masks, basked in the fawning praise of liberal media, and funded gain-of-function research. Research — I might add — that may well have led to the pandemic.

All of this was on show last month during his shifty performance in front of Congress. Pushed by Senator Rand Paul on whether he had funded gain-of-function research, Fauci resorted to semantics in an effort to evade an incriminatory affirmative. He gave the media the soundbites that they wanted, and they gobbled it up obligingly. Outlets like the Guardian penned cringing articles with titles like ‘Fauci turns tables on inquisitor’. They did not think to investigate the accusations.

Americans are right to mistrust the institutions of power in their country, including the mainstream media that values celebrity over truth. They are also right to hate the pharmaceutical companies that have invested billions in bribing US politicians to vote down not-for-profit healthcare.

These people need to be persuaded, not condemned, for their vaccine hesitancy. Science has shrunk the pandemic into an inconvenience for the vaccinated. Yet our capacity for empathy is what will determine whether the pandemic is beaten or just becomes a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Those laughing at the death of an anti-vaxxer would do well to reacquaint themselves with the term ‘herd immunity’. They might also want to google ‘irony’, whilst they’re at it.

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