Tucker Carlson contradicted his Fox colleagues, telling viewers to ignore ‘medical advice on television’ after hosts promoted COVID-19 vaccines

Tucker Carlson
Fox News host on the July 19 edition of his show continued to encourage viewers to question the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines

  • Tucker Carlson on Monday continued to urge viewers to question COVID-19 vaccines.
  • It came amid an abrupt shift by other hosts, who urged viewers to get the shot.
  • Fox News has been accused of eroding trust in the vaccine in parts of the US.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday continued to encourage viewers to question the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, even as other hosts on the network urged viewers to get the shot.

Carlson, who for months has seeking to erode trust in the vaccine on his top-rated show, on Monday mocked a former Fox News reporter who criticized Fox’s output on vaccines.

The reporter, Carl Cameron, criticized Fox coverage in an interview with CNN, alleging that it sought to spread doubt about the claims of public health officials.

It was a stark contrast with the message other network hosts were pushing Monday. In the most emphatic endorsement of vaccines on the network to date, hosts including Sean Hannity, Steve Doocey and John Roberts on Monday all urging viewers to get vaccinated.

“I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination,” Hannity told viewers.

But Carlson, after playing the clip of Cameron’s comments, continued to stir doubts: “There are a lot of those people giving you medical advice on television, and you should ignore them.

“The advice they’re giving you isn’t designed to help, it’s designed to make you comply. And you shouldn’t comply mindlessly. You’re an American adult. You’re allowed to ask simple questions and then demand clear answers.”

Carlson misrepresented the position of public health authorities, suggesting that there was a plot to coerce people into taking the shot.

He even showed a clip of UK public health official Sir Patrick Vallance who in a slip of the tongue Monday said that 60% of hospital admissions in the country were among the vaccinated, and later corrected the claim. Carlson suggested it was evidence that vaccines are not effective.

Carlson has refused to reveal if he has been vaccinated, telling one reporter who posed the question that it was as rude as asking if he had AIDS, or trying to find out his favorite sex position.

Fox News has come under intense criticism for its coverage of Biden administration’s vaccination strategy.

Former network executive Joseph Azam last week said there is direct causality – a “straight line” – linking Fox anti-vaxx information and the millions of Americans who are unwilling to get vaccinated.

“I think Fox has been almost single-handedly responsible for the politicization of public health in the US and the creation of vaccine hesitancy in a significant portion of the population,” Azam told The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Biden administration missed its target of getting 70% of the US population vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week that the disease was becoming a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

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Utah’s Republican governor said anti-vaccine rhetoric from some on the right is ‘literally killing their supporters’

Spencer Cox in a black suit and blue tie speaking at a microphone.
Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox speaks during a briefing at the Utah State Capitol on Jan. 8, 2021, in Salt Lake City.

  • Some outlets and lawmakers are casting doubt on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • GOP Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah denounced the rhetoric and said it is “killing people.”
  • The US is struggling to get more Americans vaccinated as misinformation about vaccines spreads.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Utah’s Republican governor said Friday that anti-vaccine messaging is “killing people” and pleaded with his state’s residents to get vaccinated.

During a news conference Friday, a reporter asked Governor Spencer Cox how harmful anti-vaccine rhetoric, particularly from right-wing sources, has been to the state’s vaccination effort.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Cox said after praising former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. “I don’t think we can take credit for the vaccine and then tell people that there’s something wrong with the vaccine.”

“We have these – these talking heads who have gotten the vaccine and are telling other people not to get the vaccine. That kind of stuff is just, it’s ridiculous. It’s dangerous, it’s damaging, and it’s killing people,” Cox said. “I mean, it’s literally killing their supporters. And that makes no sense to me.”

Read more: Governors of all 50 states are vaccinated against COVID-19

Conservative media outlets and some Republican lawmakers have sought to cast doubt on the vaccines, despite overwhelming evidence of their safety and effectiveness at preventing severe cases of COVID-19.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson lambasted President Joe Biden’s vaccine outreach efforts, saying he wanted to “force people to take medicine they don’t want or need.” In another segment, he highlighted people who died after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, implying, without evidence, that the vaccine itself was “killing” them.

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson has repeatedly emphasized rare side effects of the vaccine and spread false claims about the safety and effectiveness of the shot.

GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has also disparaged the safety of the vaccine, urging people in a tweet last week to “just say no!” Her spokesperson told Savannah Morning News in March that Greene did not “see a reason” to get vaccinated. When asked by reporters in June if she had been vaccinated, Greene declined to say.

About 45% of Utahns are fully vaccinated, close to the national rate of 48%, according to the CDC. But COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising, a trend also occurring in other states as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads.

Cox said that the only way to address the rising cases is for more people to get vaccinated.

“The disease is far worse than the vaccine,” Cox said. “We desperately need you to get vaccinated.”

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Facebook hit back at Biden, saying the White House is looking for ‘scapegoats for missing their vaccine goals’

Joe Biden Mark Zuckerberg 2x1
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and President Joe Biden.

  • President Biden said platforms like Facebook are “killing people” with vaccine misinformation.
  • Facebook defended itself and said the White House was looking for “scapegoats.”
  • The White House failed to reach its goal of inoculating 70% of adults by July 4.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook pushed back at comments President Joe Biden made Friday, accusing the White House of looking for “scapegoats” after missing its vaccination targets.

When asked what his message was to platforms like Facebook, where misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine spreads, Biden said “they’re killing people.”

“The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people,” he said.

Read more: These 7 powerful people are behind Biden’s bid to break up Big Tech

In a statement provided to Insider, Facebook defended itself.

“The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

In an additional statement provided to NBC’s Dylan Byers, a Facebook official said: “In private exchanges the Surgeon General has praised our work, including our efforts to inform people about COVID-19. The White House is looking for scapegoats for missing their vaccine goals.”

The White House fell short of its goal to have 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4, which some have blamed on vaccine hesitancy.

As of Friday, nearly 60% of American adults were fully vaccinated.

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Tennessee’s top vaccine official said she was fired to appease Republicans opposed to plans to vaccinate more teens

Michelle Fiskin
Michelle Fiskin is shown here speaking to the WMCA network in a report on her firing as Tennessee’s top vaccine official.

  • A Tennessee health official was fired after trying to get teens vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Michelle Fiscus was criticized by GOP lawmakers who wanted to restrict teens from getting the shots.
  • The Delta variant of the coronavirus is currently rapidly spreading through the state.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Michelle Fiscus says she was fired as Tennessee’s top vaccine official to appease Republicans who opposed her bid to allow teenagers to choose whether to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fiscus, in a searing op-ed published in The Tennessean newspaper, attacked lawmakers in her state whom she blamed for her ouster.

She said no clear explanation was given when she was fired as medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health.

She provided a copy of her termination letter to the publication, which stated no reason for the firing.

Fiscus said she believed political controversy around the vaccine whipped up by state Republican lawmakers was the reason for her losing her job.

“It was my job to provide evidence-based education and vaccine access so that Tennesseans could protect themselves against COVID-19,” Fiscus said in the op-ed. “I have now been terminated for doing exactly that.”

“I have been terminated for doing my job because some of our politicians have bought into the anti-vaccine misinformation campaign rather than taking the time to speak with the medical experts.

“They believe what they choose to believe rather than what is factual and evidence-based. And it is the people of Tennessee who will suffer the consequences of the actions of the very people they put into power.”

Insider has reached out to the Tennessee Republican Party for comment.

The move comes with the Delta variant spreading rapidly in Tennessee, and the state lagging behind much of the rest of the US in its vaccination rates.

A particular concern of teachers is that the variant could spread in schools, prompting a push by health officials to get teenagers protected against the illness.

Fiscus led the state’s efforts to vaccinate teenagers against the disease, but in doing so became the target of criticism from state GOP lawmakers.

Teens have been eligible for vaccination since the FDA in May allowed those between 12 and 16 to receive jabs after studies proved it was safe and effective. Older teens had already been eligible.

Fiscus had pushed to expand access to some teens whose parents prefer that they not get the shot.

She said that under Tennessee “mature minor” law, teenagers older then 14 could be vaccinated without requiring the consent of their parents or guardian, reported the Tennessee Star.

Some state Republicans were so enraged by the push to vaccinate teenagers using the rule that in June they called for the entire state health department to be dissolved.

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