Colbert imagines if Facebook had existed during the polio vaccine rollout

During an appearance on CNN Saturday, the White House’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed frustration with the misinformation campaigns that are keeping Americans from getting vaccinated against COVID-19 — which, as a result, has cases rising once again due to the highly contagious Delta variant. 

“We probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now,” Fauci said. 

This statement inspired Stephen Colbert and the “Late Show” writers, who put together a sketch imagining what it would be like if Facebook had been around in the 1950s when the polio vaccine came out. 

The sketch took the form of an old-timey newsreel on “The Facebook Variety Hour” with an announcer spouting bizarre conspiracy theories about the polio vaccine. “What do we really know about it?” the announcer said. Scientists say it’s safe and effective, but “look how thin those vaccine needles are. Could they be made from the whiskers of Stalin’s mustache? And I hear every time I say it that the vaccine contains miniature radio transmitters so now the Cubans can track your children and use their hula hoops as missile targets.” And maybe the vaccine will make you sterile and magnetized. 

“Let this be a warning, America,” the announcer continued. “Don’t let Dr. Salk mind-control you. Pick up a ‘Don’t Salk My South Dakota’ button today.” 

And then came the kicker: “This message brought to you by the National Association of Iron Lung Manufacturers.” There are companies with vested interests in keeping people sick and ignorant.  

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