A conservative radio host in Denver, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this year, is now saturating the airwaves with misinformation about coronavirus vaccines.
During a Friday afternoon segment of his eponymous KNUS radio show, Steffan Tubbs stood idly by and appeared to even offer approval to a caller who floated a conspiracy theory that government officials and health experts are concealing how many people have died from the vaccines.
“We’ve had hundreds, maybe thousands of people die, and they won’t even report it,” the caller said without evidence. “And the instances and the things it’s done to people’s bodies, they’ve refused to talk about these things.”
But rather than interrupt the caller or challenge the false information, Tubbs spurred him on, according to an audio clip of the show reported by The Colorado Times Recorder: “Yep,” he said. “Spot on.”
The caller responded with further indignation about a plot that thrived on manipulating the public: “It’s all fear-based. You know, they’re lying at some level. They are manipulating at some level.”
Again, Tubbs demurred from challenging the vaccine skeptic. “Amen. Good call,” he said instead.
When confronted by the Times Recorder about why he had not corrected the caller, Tubbs allegedly responded: “Please kindly F—K OFF and never text me again.” He later referred to his interaction with the reporter as a run-in with “one of our trolls.”
But what makes Tubbs’ effort to affirm the caller particularly baffling is the fact that he was awakened firsthand to the dangers of contracting COVID-19 when he got infected in May and was rushed to the hospital.
During an interview with local Denver station KCNC-TV after he had mostly recovered in July, Tubbs said that he was not vaccinated when he endured a lengthy bout with the illness that forced him to take nearly two months off work and sent him to the hospital for a week.
“I was not vaccinated,” he said, adding that he had suffered a swath of symptoms including hallucination and an enduring brain fog, and he had “never been sicker.”
“Everything we had all heard was absolutely true,” he said at the time.
Tubbs even shared that for a couple days, he wondered whether or not he might be dying from a virus that so many conservative radio hosts have turned into a talking point to grow their audiences.
When asked whether he thought at some point that he might not survive, Tubbs paused before saying, “There were a couple days I thought ‘Am I dying?’ To those who think COVID is a hoax, you’re crazy.”
But not even six months later, he was accusing President Joe Biden of heaping “shame and guilt” on Americans who had chosen not to get vaccinated during an Oct. 19 episode of his show.
“It is all about freedom, that is all it’s about,” he said, before insisting that government officials—including “liar, liar Fauci”—had not been truthful with Americans about the origins of the pandemic.
“You have been lied to, we have been lied to,” he said, adding “none of us know the real story.”
As some states are benefiting from declining coronavirus cases, Colorado ranks among the states struggling with some of the nation’s highest rates of new COVID infections. Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order declaring the Centennial State high-risk for COVID while making boosters available to many residents in a state that has vaccinated roughly 73 percent of its eligible population.
“This is really a critical moment in the pandemic,” Polis said on Friday. “It has never been more dangerous for the unvaccinated than it is right now.”
Using Polis’ clip in another segment of his show on Friday, Tubbs further cast doubt about health guidance surrounding the pandemic, questioning dire reports about dwindling ICU beds for COVID patients, and suggesting that repeated claims about a worsening pandemic resembled a kind a fable for kids.
“Well how bad is it?” he said questioning the accuracy of COVID-19 data reports.
“It’s that old fairytale—the little boy who cried wolf,” he said. “And I just wonder if that is going to, in the end, regardless of how many other people sadly, get infected, get sick, maybe die, I wonder if it’s partly because of the messaging.”