Tucker Carlson Undermines Vaccine, Says Rollout 'Feels False'

In a long and darkly insidious opening monologue, Fox News’  Tucker Carlson  strongly suggested something was seriously off about the rol...

In a long and darkly insidious opening monologue, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson strongly suggested something was seriously off about the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines, mocking their “glitzy entrance” and saying the euphoric response to them “feels false” and is “too slick.” The press and the public’s ominously upbeat tone, he intimated, was part of a widespread “social control” campaign to censor anyone who dares to ask questions about them (even if those questions are little more than baseless conspiracy theories).

The Fox host began his show on Thursday by casting a decided skeptical eye on the coronavirus vaccine effort, just hours after the FDA advisory committee voted to approve the Moderna version for emergency use authorization.

But what others hailed as more good news, Carlson looked askance at, mocking what he said was a “glitzy entrance” that is “accompanied by the kind of corporate image campaign you typically associate with higher end products, like the new iPhone.”

Carlson continued to pile on the sarcasm about the drugs — whose efficacy in phase 3 trials was roughly 95% — that could end a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 300,000 Americans so far and more than a million worldwide.

“Suddenly the Covid vaccine is on the morning shows, touted on celebrity Twitter accounts, and the news about it is uniformly glowing. This stuff is just great. A lot of famous people say so,” Carlson said, his arch tone unmistakable. “Just the other day, the guy who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series got the vaccine. As on any media tour, the paparazzi were there for the dramatic moment when they stuck the needle in his arm. ‘This is a very special day,’ the Gandalf actor told Reuters. ‘I feel euphoric. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. I feel very lucky to have had the vaccination.’ In other words, tastes great, less filling.”

Right after comparing praise for a life-saving vaccine to an old tagline for Miller Lite beer, Carlson brought up a single adverse reaction to the vaccine, from a recipient in Alaska. The graphic on the screen ominously — and not-so-subtly read: “Bad Vaccine Reactions.”

“All we know is she is a highly satisfied customer,” Carlson said of the affected recipient, before tucking a brief endorsement of vaccines in general inside an onslaught of mockery and thinly-veiled suspicion of the coronavirus vaccines specifically.

“So, how are the rest of us supposed to respond to a marketing campaign like this? Well, nervously,” he explained. “Even if you are 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. The Gandalf guy was euphoric because he got a shot? It wasn’t heroin, it was the corona vaccine. The lady who couldn’t breathe is enthusiastic as she was rushed to the emergency room? Come on. This is patronizing. Stop with the slogans.”

He called on the “authorities” to treat Americans like adults and “be honest about the risks,” but that declaration was followed by pivoting to a long rant about how the press and social media companies like Twitter and Facebook aren’t letting Americans say whatever they want about vaccines — even if some Americans are not being factually “honest about the risks.”

As evidence, he slammed Twitter for flagging any post about the Covid vaccine that claims “it might be used to control populations.”

“So whatever you do, don’t say this is social control,” Carlson warned. “Because if you do, the richest and most powerful people in the world will act in perfect coordination to shut it down immediately.”

But the Fox host notably ignored the real import of the “control populations” line he was defending as an innocent question. It is, in fact, a years-old, viciously false anti-vax smear against billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, one that absurdly claims that the foundation that he and his wife, Melinda, run is using vaccines to depopulate the Earth.

Coincidentally, Carlson just moments later called out an appearance by Melinda Gates on CNN, where she had encouraged social media companies not to let their global platforms turn into vectors for vaccine misinformation. Of note: the Gates’ foundation is a longtime donor to public health and vaccine initiatives and just last month donated $70 million to distributing Covid vaccines in low and middle-income countries.

“Now wait a second. That was Melinda Gates. Seems like a nice enough person. But why is she weighing in on an international health emergency?” Carlson disingenuously asked. “Melinda Gates is not a doctor. She is not a research scientist. In fact, her last full-time job was years ago as a marketing department got a software company. So why do I see her on CNN? And why is CNN asking her how this country should handle Covid? While simple. Melinda Gates is married to a billionaire.”

Not once did Carlson acknowledge the key context of Gates’ role as world leaders in funding vaccines — or the fact that they are also the target of long-running extremist conspiracies, like the one he defended sharing. Instead, the Fox host just painted her as a billionaire’s wife who is “happy to take control.”

“She is demanding the tech companies censor anyone who contradicts the official story line on the Covid vaccine, and she is getting her wish. None of this inspires confidence,” Carlson added, taking more barely veiled shots at the vaccine’s efficacy and safety. “Censorship will not convince a single person to take the coronavirus vaccine. In fact, it will have the opposite effect. Let’s say you sincerely wanted to roll out a national vaccination campaign. The first thing you would need after the vaccine itself is social trust. People have to believe that the authorities know what they are doing. Otherwise, they won’t participate. Censorship is the enemy of social trust.”

“Once the population understands people are holding back critical information, trust evaporates, and people become suspicious,” Carlson claimed, never once specifying what “critical information” is begin withheld from the public.

“They start wondering, if the vaccine is as safe and effective as you claim it is, why do you have to lie about it?” Carlson added, casting doubt on the honesty of everyone from the drug companies developing the vaccines to the FDA to President Donald Trump himself.

“Why are you threatening us if we don’t take it?” Carlson went on, again, not making clear what threats he was referring to.

“So, censorship doesn’t work,” he concluded. “If you want people to take your vaccine, they must trust your vaccine. And if you want them to trust it, you have to let them speak freely about it.”

Even if speaking freely means spreading lies and conspiracy theories that undermine trust in said vaccine? Disinformation can be just as harmful as a physical virus — and social media companies and news organizations are under no obligation to be complicit enablers in spreading the former about the latter.

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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Newsrust: Tucker Carlson Undermines Vaccine, Says Rollout 'Feels False'
Tucker Carlson Undermines Vaccine, Says Rollout 'Feels False'
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