Tucker Carlson demands viewers harass people wearing masks outside: 'It's repulsive!'
On Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson demanded that Americans stop wearing masks outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic, calling the practice "repulsive" and even urging his viewers to harass mask-wearers and to call the police on parents whose children are wearing masks.
Carlson claimed that "science shows there's no reason" to wear masks outdoors. It is true that the vast majority of COVID-19 infections occur indoors, and people are much safer from the virus outdoors. However, infections outdoors have been known to occur, and Carlson doesn't consider that there are plenty of sensible reasons people might wear masks outdoors — they may end up in close contact with others, for instance, or they may be wearing a mask in between time spent indoors and may not want to take it off. He also didn't consider that people wear items of clothing without a clear function all the time — Carlson himself, after all, was wearing a necktie throughout the monologue.
Carlson is also hardly an authority on public health or science-based decisions. As recently as October 2020, he was arguing that there's no evidence that masks protect against COVID-19 infection. This was blatantly wrong at the time — the evidence that masks reduce the spread of the virus has been piling up for the past year.
The host became worked up Monday night as he continued discussing the subject, urging his viewers to confront people wearing masks outdoors.
"It's our job to brush them back and restore the society we were born in," he said. "So next time you see someone in a mask on a sidewalk or 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 acceptable as lighting a Marlboro in an elevator. It's repulsive! Don't do it around other people."
Then his argument became even more extreme, saying it should be "illegal" for a child to wear a mask outdoors: "Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid at 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."
It is not, in fact, child abuse to have a child wear a mask outdoors — and Carlson offered no argument to make the analogy even remotely plausible. The confrontations Carlson himself is trying to engineer are almost certain to be worse for the child than wearing a mask, which is harmless. In fact, the whole point of the monologue seemed to be to encourage aggressive confrontations between people over the use of masks in public.
Attorney Gabriel Malor pointed out that misusing 9-1-1 to make a false crime report is itself a crime:
- Some House Republicans refused to wear masks during the Capitol ... ›
- Right-wing news outlet misinterprets CDC report: Expert 'disturbed ... ›
- Watch: Joe Biden mocks Fox News reporter to his face during ... ›