Tucker Carlson has told his viewers that he is not ‘a conspiracy nut’ for questioning the science behind the coronavirus vaccine, doubling down on skepticism that saw him roundly criticized the night before.
On Thursday night Carlson said he had significant doubts about the safety of the vaccine, and on Friday he defended himself from the subsequent onslaught of condemnation.
His Fox News viewers, he said, ‘should be nervous.’
‘It’s not superstition,’ he continued. ‘There are rational reasons to be skeptical and ask questions.’
Tucker Carlson used his show on Friday night to express more concern about the vaccine
Carlson said he was not ‘a conspiracy nut’ for asking questions about its safety
Carlson spoke on the day that Mike Pence, the vice president, and Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, were vaccinated live on television in a bid to calm concerns among the public.
After they received their injections, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top public health expert, used the live broadcast to try and reassure Americans that the vaccine was safe. The speed of the vaccine was due to advances in technology, he said, and no corners had been cut.
Carlson remained unconvinced.
‘There has never been a successful vaccine for any variety of the coronavirus,’ he said on Friday.
Mike Pence, the vice president, was given the vaccine live on television on Friday
Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, was also inoculated on live television on Friday
‘The last one that scientists developed for SARS proved too dangerous to bring to market. Nor has any vaccine ever been developed as quickly as this one. The only attempt that came close was the mumps vaccine, in 1967, and that took four years.
‘The authorities assure us that the new vaccine is completely safe. We want to believe that badly. On the other hand, it’s not crazy to wonder.’
Carlson referenced Tiffany Pontes Dover, a 30-year-old mother-of-two and nurse manager at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who fainted after getting the vaccine live on television on Thursday.
Dover, who frequently faints after injections, was speaking to local news outlet News Channel 9 when she suddenly started feeling unwell.
‘It’s really… I’m sorry I’m feeling really dizzy. I’m sorry…,’ she said before dropping to the ground while two colleagues rushed to catch her.
Tiffany Dover fainted after getting vaccinated – which she said is a frequent occurrence
She then recovered and said she often faints when she feels pain so it came as no surprise.
‘It just hit me all of a sudden… I feel fine now! It’s common for me,’ she said.
Carlson used Dover as a reason for skepticism about the effects of the vaccine.
‘You are not a conspiracy nut for wanting answers,’ Carlson said.
‘Rushed development and a clumsy roll out do not fully explain’ the handful of incidents of adverse reactions, such as the three nurses in Alaska who have suffered allergic responses.
He went on to say people should be concerned about ‘the people in charge of the vaccine,’ saying they have a ‘basic moral rottenness’ and that ‘the worst in our already unimpressive professional class are now in charge of the coronavirus vaccine, and that should make you nervous.’
‘Americans understand that most of their leaders really do not care about them,’ said Carlson.
Carlson’s views angered some, with multiple people pointing out that his comments on Thursday were made while Rupert Murdoch, Fox News owner, was given the vaccine.
‘Rupert Murdoch got the Covid vaccine the day after Tucker Carlson spent his entire show sowing doubt about the Covid vaccine,’ noted Molly Jong-Fast, editor at large of The Daily Beast.
‘Tucker Carlson is going to get people killed,’ said Dr Miranda Yaver, a health policy political scientist at the University of California in LA.
And Steven Greenhouse, a former New York Times reporter, joked: ‘If only the vaccine could tell its audience of 328 million people in the United States not to trust Tucker Carlson.’