Tucker Carlson, the right-wing Fox News host, sowed doubt about the coronavirus vaccine on his highly rated prime time program Thursday, spotlighting a small handful of people who have had allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and telling his audience they should be skittish about the campaign from public health experts to encourage people to get vaccinated.
Carlson, who has regularly mocked public health experts and questioned the consensus of the scientific and health communities on measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, highlighted an Alaska health care worker who had an adverse reaction to the vaccine on Tuesday but who responded quickly to standard treatment.
Medical experts have stressed that the news media should not overplay isolated incidents of allergic reactions, given that they are expected to happen as hundreds of thousands of front line workers receive the vaccine. Hyping such incidents, medical experts have said, could give the public the wrong impression about the health risks of getting vaccinated.
But Carlson did just the opposite, opening his show with the story of the Alaska worker as an on-screen graphic read, “BAD VACCINE REACTIONS.” The text in Carlson’s banner that appeared in the lower-half of the screen snarked, “THERE WILL BE NO QUESTIONING THE CORONA VACCINE.”
Carlson warned his viewers that they should be skeptical of what he described as a “glitzy” effort to get people vaccinated.
“So, how are the rest of us supposed to respond to a marketing campaign like this? Well, nervously,” Carlson said. “Even if you’re strongly supportive of vaccines, and we are, even if you recognize how many millions of lives have been saved over the past 50 years by vaccines, and we do, it all seems a bit much. It feels false, because it is. It’s too slick.”
Carlson then mocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, calling him “LORD FAUCI” and ridiculing his suggestion that families avoid seeing each other this Christmas.
Carlson’s monologue came as more than 3,000 people die in the United States of coronavirus in an unprecedented surge that shows no signs of slowing down. The United States, which has recorded more than 310,000 deaths since the pandemic began, now regularly posts more than 200,000 new infections each day.
A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment when asked whether chief executive Suzanne Scott or network president Jay Wallace had a comment. A spokesperson for Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, who control Fox Corporation, did not respond to a request for comment.