Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan was dragged on social media for using the death of “beloved” staffer Miguel Rodriguez as an opportunity to slam Joe Rogan and free speech.
Sullivan, formerly The Buffalo News chief editor, released her column Sunday which lamented the death of Rodriguez, a “well-respected” reporter for The Buffalo News, who was unvaccinated and passed away last week after battling COVID-19.
Even though Rodriguez had underlying health conditions, like asthma and obesity, that put him at more of a risk, and even though the columnist admitted that she was unaware if Rodriguez even tuned into Rogan’s podcast, she still blamed his death on outside influence on his decision to remain unvaccinated.
“I don’t know for sure whether getting vaccination and booster shots would have saved Miggy’s life. And I have no idea whether he had ever listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast, or what his precise reasons were for not being vaccinated,” she said. “What I’ve gleaned is that friends had been pushing him to get vaccinated for months but that he and his family hadn’t been convinced that it was wise or necessary.”
Sullivan suggested that of the nearly 900,000 COVID deaths in the U.S., many could have been prevented without the presence of “rampant misinformation that has discouraged so many from getting vaccines and taking other steps to protect themselves.”
“Imagine if Rogan were to use his incredibly powerful voice — he has some 11 million listeners per episode — to talk productively about all of this, to counter some of the destructive bilge instead of adding to it,” she wrote.
Critics ripped Sullivan’s column, including “The Megyn Kelly Show” executive producer Steve Krakauer, who called it “morally bankrupt” in a tweet.
“What a morally bankrupt column… co-opting the death of a “beloved” colleague to spread pro-censorship misinformation – because if he HAD listened to Joe Rogan, he’s have(sic) been urged to get vaccinated, as Rogan has said many times for someone who is “overweight and asthmatic,” he tweeted.
Nationally syndicated radio host Dana Loesch considered the move “convenient exploitation” as opposed to grief.
Reason associate editor Liz Wolfe ripped Sullivan for the “incredibly disrespectful” decision to “trot out” Rodriquez’s death.
“But that grossness aside…at what point do we say: People have made their choices,” Wolfe wrote. “They’re not mindlessly manipulated by Rogan, they have access to ALL kinds of information out there.”
U.S. politics and economics commentator Yossi Gestetner argued since people with lower BMIs are less likely to have comorbidities, an emphasis on healthy living could have saved lives throughout the pandemic as well. Meanwhile, Javier E. David, a Yahoo Finance editor, called the column “shameful.”