A right-wing radio host, who almost died of Covid, has adamantly refused to advise his audience to get a Covid vaccination because, he says, “people can make their own decisions.”
But that respect for individual autonomy didn’t stop KNUS radio host Steffan Tubbs from making an impassioned plea last month that his listeners look both ways before driving through an intersection. Like his Covid brush with death, Tubbs claims to have “almost met [his] maker” when a speeding truck nearly hit him at Hampden and University Ave.
Tubbs didn’t return a call seeking to know why he’d make one potentially life-saving recommendation (about driving through an intersection) but not another (about getting a vaccination), especially because conservatives like those who tune in to his show are known to be vaccination skeptics.
“When you’re at a busy intersection — or hell, you’re at a not-so-busy intersection — when that light turns green, would you look left and right,” Tubbs implored listeners during a self-described “public service announcement” on his Dec. 16 show (here at 27 minutes).
Tubbs was hospitalized with Covid in 2021 and thought he might be dying. He was so sick he was forced to stop working for nearly two months. He admitted he was not vaccinated at the time and has said he’s “not an anti-vaxxer.”
Despite this, Tubbs regularly mocks public health officials and political leaders who urge people to get the vaccine to protect themselves against Covid, which is killing around 16,000 Americans monthly and is the country’s third leading cause of death. Vaccinations are the best protection against getting seriously ill from the virus, say experts.
Here’s what Tubbs had to say on air Dec. 16:
Tubbs: I must give a public service announcement because I almost met my maker last night, hand to God. And this is a reason why always, but especially around this time of year, when you’re at a busy intersection or hell, you’re at a not-so-busy intersection, when that light turns green, would you look left and right. Brother?
Guest Cain: I’m a former police officer, and I’m telling you right now, that will save your life.
Tubbs: I am on Hamden headed eastbound at that red light at University. Two other cars are to my left, so I’m on the far right lane. I think it’s three lanes right there, and the light turns green. And I hear this thunderous roar. And it is a semi fuel truck. Hand to God. My estimate — you’d know more Cain because you’re a former police officer — my estimate is going at minimum 70 ran that red light going southbound on University. Had any one of those cars, I mean, it would have been — thank God. I think because of the speed, the impact, the size of that vehicle, we would have been killed instantly. But I’m just telling you, I know this is totally out of context with what we’re talking about, but I had to remember and so I’m sorry to take your time came.
Guest Cain: A simple second.
Tubbs: It was a second.
Guest Cain: Never enter an intersection without looking both ways.
Tubbs: Even when you got the green.
Guest Cain: The green. Look both ways.
Tubbs: I’m telling you, I have not I have not had the hair on my head stand up. I know. I screamed out. ‘holy ****,’ in my car.
Guest Cain: Yep.
Tubbs: And you know, no, I didn’t take, you know, I didn’t make a right turn and tried to follow this guy, but it would have been pointless. But I’m just saying, that was like this. Anyway.
Guest Cain: And we know from past experiences right out here coming down the hill last year. Brakes go out on these trucks, man.
Tubbs: Don’t we know it? And you know how many people?
Guest Cain: Look both ways.
Tubbs: Oh, I tell ya.
Guest Cain: Red or green.
Tubbs: It was crazy.
Guest Cain: Look, both ways.
Guest Cain: A split second will save your life.
Tubbs: And I think it did for at least three of us in vehicles last night.
In September of 2021, Tubbs told me he won’t advise his conservative listeners because “people can make their own decisions:
Colorado Times Recorder: I’m wondering why you don’t say people should get vaccinated.
Tubbs: Because people can make their own decisions. Look, what do you want me to say? I’m sure this is all going to be in an article. You can quote me on that. What do you want me to say? You want me to come on the air and tell every single person, ‘Go get vaccinated.’ If they want to go get vaccinated, I’m not an anti-vaxer. If they want to go get vaccinated, talk to your doctor. Go get vaccinated. I’m not going to. Come on. That’s not my job. I’m not a doctor.
Colorado Times Recorder: You’re in the opinion business, all you’re doing is offering your opinion. You offer lots of opinions, and a lot of people don’t accept what you say.
Tubbs: Here’s my opinion. Let’s make it very clear for you and the Colorado Recorder or whatever you’re with.
Colorado Times Recorder: Thank you.
Tubbs: Let me make it very clear.
Colorado Times Recorder: I appreciate it.
Tubbs: Okay, ready?
Colorado Times Recorder: Yep.
Tubbs: Bye, bye Jason. Here it is. You ready? People should have the choice whether or not they get vaccinated. I will also say for our friend Jason, something that I’ve actually said many, many times on this program if you are on the fence and you don’t know after 20-plus months whether you should get vaccinated or not and you tune into a talk show on a five-thousand-watt directional radio station, and you come to me hoping that you will get the final answer after 20 months, if you are looking to me to tell you to get vaccinated or not get jabbed, you need psychiatric help. Can I be any more clear?
Talk radio shows like Tubbs repeat the same opinions over and over again. If you tune to Tubbs’ show today, you’ll almost certainly hear repeated statements that Denver is in “decay.” So it’s objectively hypocritical of him to refrain from offering an opinion on something like Covid vaccinations that have been repeatedly recommended internationally for over two years.
Oh, and Tubbs also advises listeners on air to turn their lights on while driving, as the sun sets during his afternoon drive-time show.