The lady doth protest too much, methinks: Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent a portion of his show on Monday night reassuring his audience of gullible anti-vaxxers that he is “not pretending at all” to agree with them.
On the Monday edition of his show, the Daily Beast reported, Carlson urged viewers to take him at his word that he hasn’t been spreading lies, hoaxes, and wildly incorrect interpretations of epidemiological data on vaccines for “prestige or ratings.” Carlson added that he is “real” in his opposition to the employer vaccine mandates rolled out by Joe Biden’s administration.
Carlson took aim at Biden’s recent misstatement that Fox News requires all employees to get vaccinated for the novel coronavirus, which is only half-true.
“As a factual matter, what Joe Biden just said is completely untrue. It is a lie, period,” Carlson said during his show. “We can say that with authority since we work here.”
The truth isn’t much more flattering for the network, which regularly airs anti-vax propaganda. Fox is actually rolling out a stricter version of the Biden administration’s employer mandate—staff must be vaccinated or take daily coronavirus tests, whereas the feds are only requiring testing on a weekly basis for those who choose that route—and it already had a vaccine passport system in place. But sure, whatever.
Carlson added that the network was “alone among big media outlets” in defending “this country’s most basic civil liberties,” presumably referring to the right to maximize one’s chances of infecting others with a deadly disease.
“To cynical authoritarians like Joe Biden and the ghouls around him, like Susan Rice, that just can’t be genuine,” Carlson added, referring to one of Biden’s domestic policy advisors. “They assume the people you see on Fox News must be pretending, pretending for money or prestige or ratings or something else… But they are wrong. We are not pretending at all. It’s real.”
There is, of course, ample evidence to doubt Carlson’s authenticity.
For example, Carlson regularly spins up wild narratives about vaccinations based on flimsy evidence, including stuff he no doubt knows is wildly inaccurate, such as his claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System shows coronavirus vaccines are extremely dangerous (It shows the opposite—the thousands of deaths he keeps citing are probably mostly older people who died by sheer coincidence after getting vaccinated.) He won’t even clarify whether he’s received the vaccine himself.
Carlson has openly admitted he lies on TV. Politifact’s fact checkers have found that 87% of contested statements by him they reviewed were “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire,” for all that matters. While trash-talking the rest of the media serves as his daily meat and gristle, he’s well-known as one of the biggest gossips to media reporters.
The question of whether Carlson is really as ignorant as he pretends to be on TV is somewhat irrelevant, as vaccines are safe and effective, and the vast majority of people being hospitalized or dying of the novel coronavirus these days have not received one.