Keith Olbermann found his Twitter account besieged by angry Texans on Wednesday after he implied that Covid-19 vaccinations should not be “wasted” on their state.
“Why are we wasting vaccinations on Texas if Texas has decided to join the side of the virus?” the political commentator tweeted Tuesday night.
Olbermann was reacting to a controversial executive order from Texas’ Republican governor, Greg Abbott, which lifted the state’s mask mandate and permitted all Texas businesses to reopen “100 percent,” despite the ongoing pandemic. Olbermann linked to the order in his tweet.
By Wednesday morning, the tweet had received over 7,000 replies, many of them negative.
“Gee I don’t know Keith,” one Twitter user wrote, directly answering Olbermann’s question. “Probably because human lives are worth protecting unless you’re a f***ing psychopath.”
“I understand your frustration, but this is a garbage take,” another commented. “That’s my family you’re talking about. My friends. Everyone I grew up with. Human beings with human rights. They should not be denied a life-saving vaccine because their governor is an idiot.”
“Ah yes, millions should be left to suffer and die because their Governor (who they are already trying to oust) is a festering pile of feces,” read one reply. “Or… or hear me out… we could support the communities he plans to sacrifice.”
Another wrote simply, “You are quite possibly the dumbest man to ever live.”
Angry as they were at Olbermann, few of the commenters disagreed that Governor Abbott’s order was a mistake. Many chimed in that Texas, which still reports an average of 232 COVID deaths per day, faces enormous risk if it reopens prematurely. But many felt that Olbermann had blurred the distinction between Texas’ governor and its people.
“Not Texas, just Abbott,” one wrote. “There’s a lot of people in Texas who disagree with him.”
“DELETE THIS S***,” another demanded. “Texas’ GOVERNOR made a decision today, not every Texan.”
“You’re totally right,” another wrote sarcastically. “Let’s just write off MILLIONS of people because of s****y politicians who owe a great deal of their influence to voter suppression. Thank you for your valuable contribution to the discourse. It’s hard to see what went wrong with your career.”
Olbermann began as a sportscaster in the 1980s and 90s, and transitioned to political commentary in the 2000s. He was an early star on MSNBC, which embraced his left-of-center views, but left the network abruptly in 2011. Since then he has taken his politics to GQ, where he hosted an anti-Trump video series, and to Twitter.
As of Wednesday morning, the “wasting vaccinations” tweet remained on his feed, even as an increasing number of Twitter users called on him to delete it.
“This tweet was a bad idea, Keith,” one said. “I hope you’ll reconsider and remove it and apologize.”