Letter: Shocked by Xpress vaccine cover

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I was in town for work (former East Asheville resident for four years) and noticed the cover of your latest edition [“No Thanks: Why Some Local Health Workers Don’t Want the COVID-19 Vaccine,” March 3, Xpress].

As someone who spends my entire life creating music events and desperately needs people to be vaccinated so we can put millions of music/service-industry people back to work, I was shocked to see the image on the cover.

Giving an anti-science, conspiracy-based fringe movement that much legitimacy is the exact opposite of what we should be doing right now. Great job. I’m sure you got all the “clicks” you were desperately looking for.

— Brian Swenk
Glen Allen, Va.

Editor’s note: We appreciate the feedback on our March 3 cover and story but hope the writers of this letter and Xpress Cover Sends Terrible Message,” along with regular Xpress readers, will recall the many stories we have reported over the past year detailing local and state governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving public health guidance.

Mountain Xpress’ mission is to promote community dialogue, which includes listening with respect and empathy to a variety of perspectives, especially in these polarized times.

Our March 3 cover image was not intended to convince viewers to adopt a specific position. Rather, its goal was to depict the views of a sizable number of local health care workers who were the subject of the week’s Wellness article. Like letter writer David Voyles, we believe the story is a legitimate topic for journalistic investigation.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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11 thoughts on “Letter: Shocked by Xpress vaccine cover

  1. Shultz!

    Yet another tone-deaf reaction to reader criticism from MtnX. The writer(s) hit the nail on the head – it’s become status quo for this paper to put sensationalism over responsible journalism & this cover ‘story’ is just more of the same. Tabloid now, I guess. Go for the money, honey, and to hell with doing the right thing.

    • North Asheville

      I think the editors should reply to all these shocked comments, and any others, with the statement attributed to H.L Menken in writing to readers who disagreed with him: ““Dear Sir or Madam: You may be right.”

  2. C-Law

    Brian Swenk–


    “Coronavirus researchers are looking at fighting fire with fire. A new study published Tuesday in Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests that the human rhinovirus, otherwise known as the “common cold,” helps block SARS-Cov19.”

    We knew this last March and April 2020.

    A “new study” eh?

    Early last year I found a study where researchers looking for cross-reaction with survivors of SARS found a huge percentage, roughly 30-50% of the population in several areas they looked, had no SARS exposure but were cross-reactive against Covid-19.

    In other words their immune system already knew what it was and how to attack it. At worst those people would get a mild infection, if they could get infected at all.

    I’ve raised hell about this immediately because it meant all the screaming about there being no resistance was a lie. Yet exactly nobody paid any attention to that scientific work. The lie of complete susceptibility by everyone in the population was complete crap.

    We didn’t know what virus was responsible for the cross-reactivity…. but now, a year later, it appears it’s not even in the coronavirus family.

    Why did the case rate drop this winter? No vaccines had gone in arms yet but indeed it did. Answer: 30-50% of the population in a given area had the virus and another 30% or so were already resistant. As I pointed out the math is simply that it ran out of people to infect.

    Ready to tell the government to Go To Hell yet folks?

    Why are you putting up with any of their bull**** at this point?

    All the mandates, the mask orders, the lockdowns and even the vaccines did nothing.

    I’ve told you so for a year now.

    But it turns out (and dear Brian here is yet more proof) that a huge chunk of people will eagerly inject anything and accept any “mandate” from any jerk in a white lab coat so long as it absolves them from thinking for themselves.

    It’s truly the end of the American Empire. Aggressive abroad, despotic at home…

    • Shultz!

      A lot of ‘they’ and ‘them’ in your response – who are ‘they’, how do you become a member, and what is their purpose?

    • North Asheville

      “We knew this last March and April 2020. . . A “new study” eh?”
      The problem is that the study referenced in your comment was published in March 2021, not March 2020:
      “Professor Pablo Murcia, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, explains: “Our research shows that human rhinovirus triggers an innate immune response in human respiratory epithelial cells which blocks the replication of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2. This means that the immune response caused by mild, common cold virus infections, could provide some level of transient protection against SARS-CoV-2, potentially blocking transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and reducing the severity of COVID-19.

      “The next stage will be to study what is happening at the molecular level during these virus-virus interactions, to understand more about their impact on disease transmission. We can then use this knowledge to our advantage, hopefully developing strategies and control measures for COVID-19 infections.

      “In the meantime, vaccination is our best method of protection against COVID-19.”

      Note the final sentence.

      • C-Law

        @North Asheville—

        Yes the link is to 2021. With the comment regarding “new study” I was referencing commonly understood facts known as early as last spring.

        Diamond Princess proved that the claim, which continues to be made today, that (1) this virus is extremely deadly and (2) there is zero cross or innate immunity were both false. It is not possible for a very transmissible respiratory virus to infect one person in a quarantined cabin of two people, while the other does not get sick at all unless either (1) the second person is already immune or (2) the second person gets it but has no symptoms at all and recovers before being tested, and thus tests negative. I remind you that this was proved, conclusively, before the end of February 2020.

        I also referenced cross immunity on the comments here from June 2020:

        Also I speak to innate immunity here as well July 2020:


        And December 2020 here:


      • bsummers

        “In the meantime, vaccination is our best method of protection against COVID-19.”

        Wait – here comes C-Law to tell us why this actually means the exact opposite of what we think it means.

        3… 2… 1…

        • C-Law


          I’m pro-choice Barry.

          Your body, your choice. My body, my choice.

          I am an ethically principled, non-conformist, libertarian, Torah-observant Jew who knows a little history among other things.

          I’ve read many of your posts here the last 12 years or so. Your words paint you as nothing more than a doctrinaire, petty totalitarian.

          You can rest assured that NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING would please me more…I would be absolutely elated to hear that you’ve taken any of the “vaccines” especially the Pfizer or Moderna gene editing versions. For “the greater good” of course.

          Abi gezunt dos leben ken men zikh ale mol nemen.


  3. Bright

    Great job Express, both articles against the existing hobby of injecting whatever the govt suggests give readers another side to the other way of looking at “helping” us all. Great job!

  4. G Man

    What I find to be sad is the fact that we have come to a time when so many people think the press is supposed to “send messages” as opposed to acting as a questioning layer between us citizens and our government.

    I would like to see more journalists get back into the business of journalism and stop being cheerleaders. The vast majority of our national media has become a propaganda machine and a moral support authority for our dear leader. How about some reporters asking real questions that provide some transparency instead of every question requiring pre-approval from “the state” to be sure “the wrong message doesn’t get out”?

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