Throughout his tenure on Fox News, Tucker Carlson has distinguished himself as the network’s preeminent white nationalist and most prolific disseminator of ultra-rightist propaganda. He recently devoted episodes of his program to ranting incoherently that coronavirus vaccines don’t work, he advanced the Nazi-inspired “white replacement theory,” and he expressed his support for Trump’s Capitol insurrectionists, insisting they were just peaceful protesters.
Not content to rest on his loathsome laurels, Carlson is now advising his dimwitted viewers to take hostile actions against anyone they see on the street wearing a mask in order to prevent exposure to COVID-19. His primetime tirade was tantamount to a directive to harass innocent citizens who are behaving responsibly and voluntarily in the exercise of their rights to stay alive and protect others. Carlson’s harangue began with this utterly false assertion (video below if you can stomach it):
“Masks are purely a sign of political obedience. Like Kim Il Sung pins in Pyongyang. We wear them because we have to. The only people who wear masks voluntarily outside are zealots and neurotics.”
Actually, people who wear masks are following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and virtually every public health expert in the country. [Note: New CDC guidance has relaxed mask wearing outside, but only for those who are fully vaccinated]. No one is forced to wear masks outside. But Carlson wants to force everyone to obey his warped perspective of life during a deadly pandemic. He is the wannabe totalitarian demanding obedience. He continued…
“They are the aggressors. It’s our job to brush them back and restore the society we were born in. So the next time you see somebody in a mask, on the sidewalk on a bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely but firmly, ‘Would you please take off your mask? Science shows there is no reason for you to be wearing it. Your mask is making me uncomfortable.’ We should do that, and we should keep doing it until wearing a mask outside is roughly as socially accepted as lighting a Marlboro inside an elevator. It’s repulsive.”
Carlson’s command to his minions is, to say the least, bizarre. How does someone wearing a mask make someone else uncomfortable? Obviously it doesn’t. It’s just Carlson’s way of justifying his demands for compliance with his directives. And anyone confronted by one of Carlson’s criers should let them know precisely where they can get off. But Carlson still wasn’t finished. In fact, he was getting worse…
“As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal. Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact Child Protective Services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse. It’s child abuse and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”
Seriously? Carlson is equating the wearing of a soft cloth face covering with physical assault. And he’s intruding on the lawful and responsible parenting duties of strangers. But his advice is not only offensive, it’s illegal. He is instructing his viewers to commit felonies. It is against the law to file a false police report. And that’s the only way to describe what Carlson is suggesting. No law enforcement officer, or district attorney, would regard a child wearing a mask as the victim of abuse.
This is a not a matter of free speech. Just as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater where there is no fire is not constitutionally protected, neither is provoking hostilities and suborning unlawful acts. Carlson’s rhetoric in this diatribe is unambiguously dangerous both to people who want to avoid virus transmission, and to parents and children who are victimized by Carlson’s cult followers.
Fox News has successfully argued in court that no reasonable viewer would take Carlson seriously. The problem, though, is that Carlson’s viewers are not reasonable. This latest outburst has the clear potential to incite violence. And if it does, Carlson – and Fox News – must be held accountable.
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Tucker Carlson is now telling his audience to harass people who wear face masks outside.
If they see children wearing masks, Tucker says the response should be no different than when you see a kid being abused — "call the police immediately, contact child protective services" pic.twitter.com/4svVH0JY3s
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 27, 2021
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.