How Fox News' Tucker Carlson masks conspiracies in populism

How Fox News' Tucker Carlson masks conspiracies in populism
Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson, Screengrab

MSNBC host Chris Hayes called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson Tuesday for "coronavirus trutherism," denouncing the "faux-populist ire being mounted by the conservative politics legacy case from La Jolla" as part of a "concerted effort" to "peddle dangerous misinformation."

"There's a concerted effort on the part of influential people at the cable network that we all call Trump TV right now to peddle dangerous misinformation about the coronavirus. Call it 'coronavirus trutherism,'" Hayes said, in reference to the misinformation about the pandemic trafficked by Fox News' primetime lineup.

"The question at issue is one whose answer should be obvious to everyone: Is this disease really as deadly as the vast majority of experts tell us it is? As we've all seen with our own eyes?" Hayes asked. "Last night, one host told his viewers that experts are wrong. We should lift the lockdowns, because it's not as deadly as we thought."

The night before, Carlson downplayed the coronavirus death toll by likening a pandemic which has killed more than 57,000 people in America to the flu.

"We are happy to say that curve has been flattened," Carlson told his 4.5 million nightly viewers on Monday. "But it's likely not because of the lockdown. The virus just isn't nearly as deadly as we thought it was — all of us, including on this show. Everybody thought it was, but it turned out not to be."

That's when Hayes exposed the source of those false and debunked claims being peddled by Carlson.

"Now, if you were thinking, 'Wait, how can he say the curve flattened not because of the lockdowns? Not because of the wholly unprecedented nationwide lockdowns?'" Hayes asked. "Well, you are right to ask that question."

"But Tucker Carlson based his claim, in part, from two doctors who own an urgent care center in Bakersfield, Calif," he continued. "And they say their research found the coronavirus is basically no worse than the flu."

"Now, of course, most public health experts have dismissed these doctors' findings," Hayes added. "According to the University of Washington biologist Dr. Carl Bergstrom, who specializes in infectious disease modeling, 'They have used methods that are ludicrous to get results that are completely implausible.'"

The MSNBC host also cited a joint statement from the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, which condemned the Bakersfield pair for releasing "biased, non-peer reviewed" data in an apparent effort to "advance their personal financial interests without regard for the public's health."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.