Jay Hmielowski Comments on How America’s Culture War Has Extended To Medicine
Jay Hmielowski, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) Public Relations associate professor, was quoted in “America’s Culture Wars Extend Into Medicine” published in The Economist on Jan. 8.
The article focuses on the decline in confidence in the medical establishment since 2021. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has tapped into this sentiment and recently requested a grand jury investigation into possible “crimes and wrongdoing committed against Floridians related to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
According to Hmielowski, DeSantis is signaling to his base that: “Trump supported lockdowns, I opened the state. Trump supported vaccines, I questioned aspects of vaccines.”
Hmielowski expects DeSantis to soften his position in the later stages of any presidential run but adds that in, this phase, it makes political sense to signal a harder line.
“One feature of Mr. DeSantis’s approach is that, as part of his attack on mainstream scientists, he presents himself as a guardian of true science. His vaccine announcement [about seeking accountability for COVID-19 mRNA shots] was made at a 90-minute nerdy roundtable with selected scientists discussing several studies. It was hard to imagine Donald Trump sitting through it,” said Hmielowski. “But Mr. DeSantis listened attentively, telling his audience: ‘I think people want the truth and I think people want accountability, so you need to have a thorough investigation into what’s happened with these shots.’”