For most of the last eleven months, Fox News has been pretending that the coronavirus was nothing to be worried about. They opposed responsible limitations on social and business activities and mocked safety protocols like wearing masks. Those are positions they share with Donald Trump whose gross negligence, incompetence, and deliberate malfeasance has resulted in the preventable deaths of more than 270,000 Americans.
Consequently, studies have proven that watching Fox News actually increases coronavirus fatalities. The same finding was shown in a study specifically focused on Sean Hannity. But never let it be said that Tucker Carlson wasn’t up to a challenge to determine which Fox News host is the worst blight on society.
On Wednesday evening, Carlson aired a segment prompted by a new report that places the introduction of the coronavirus to the U.S. a few weeks earlier than previously thought. The report published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that “SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized.”
This news triggered Carlson’s hyperactive outrage sensors that lit up with alarms pointing at renowned epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci. And in an effort to malign the good Doctor’s reputation, Carlson played a video from January 22:
Dr. Fauci: From what I can see right now they are really being much, much more transparent than what happened with SARS where they really kept back information for a while. It was embarrassing to them. They’re really transparent now. They put the sequence of the virus up on the public database right away. So in that respect they’ve been transparent.
Carlson: “They’re really transparent now,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci. Now, in a well-functioning country, a line like that would make certain that you’d never work in public policy again.
Tucker Carlson attacks Dr Fauci and says he should never work in public policy again pic.twitter.com/iwDBAENc71
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) December 3, 2020
First of all, Dr. Fauci was explicit in noting that his comments represented “what I can see right now,” and addressed specific database information with which China had been transparent. What’s more, little was known about the origins and the spread of the virus in those early days, and even now the knowledge of it continues to be fluid and expanding. But Carlson is dishonestly holding Dr. Fauci to a narrowly tailored statement made eleven months ago.
If Carlson truly believes that having made the remarks that Dr. Fauci made in January disqualify him from public service, then he must have the same opinion about Trump. Beginning in January, Trump was far more obsequious toward China and its president Xi Jinping. And without any of the qualifications that Dr. Fauci used. Trump simply expressed his unreserved praise and admiration for Xi, and did so on multiple occasions:
China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
….he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
As late as February 29, Trump was still impressed that “China seems to be making tremendous progress. Their numbers are way down.” And in his own remarks, Trump relentlessly downplayed the known dangers of the virus:
- “We have it very much under control in this country.”
- “It’s going to be just fine.”
- “It’s one person coming in from China.”
- “We’re doing a great job with it.”
- “It’s going to have a very good ending for us.”
- “We’re in great shape.”
- “We have 12 cases – 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.”
- “Just stay calm. It will go away.”
- “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
- “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
Most of those remarks were made when Trump already knew they were lies. He revealed in tape recorded comments to Bob Woodward – for his book RAGE! – that he knew just how dangerous the virus was, saying that…
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus. This is deadly stuff. […] I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.”
So while Carlson is surely to arrogant, oblivious, and steeped in Trump-worship to notice, his analysis clearly paints Trump as a reckless source of disinformation who has surrendered his right to engage in any public service role, including (especially) as president. That’s something that most Americans already knew, and contributed to Trump’s reelection defeat. But for Carlson and his viewers it’s a rather new concept. Too bad most of them are too far gone to comprehend it.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.