- 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.”