Fox News has developed a lengthy track record of hypocrisy when it comes to attacking vaccine mandates, celebrating people who leave their jobs over the policies — while the network itself was in fact an early adopter of vaccine passports in its offices, and since then has practiced a strict mandate requiring vaccination or daily testing.
Now the network is taking its hypocrisy international, promoting an anti-mandate protest in Canada, dubbed the “Freedom Convoy.”
The country’s capital city of Ottawa is currently preparing for the arrival of what authorities expect will be thousands of protesters, including a convoy of truckers, who are opposed to the Canadian government’s vaccine mandate for truckers who cross the U.S.-Canada border. The U.S. government has implemented a similar mandate, which took effect January 22.
To be clear, 85% of truckers in Canada are in fact vaccinated — which is also higher than the 50-60% vaccination rate for truckers in the United States. As a result, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the convoy a “small fringe minority,” while Conservative MPs have publicly supported the convoy and called for the reversal of the vaccine mandate.
On Thursday night, Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson falsely claimed that the Canadian government was “cracking down trying to stop this,” when all indications are that authorities are preparing for the convoy’s arrival and allotting lanes of traffic. He also mocked the “prime minister, so-called, of Canada,” and questioned the claims that Trudeau was isolating for the next five days after a COVID-19 exposure: “That means he cannot meet with the convoy, with actual voters, when it arrives in the capital city.”
Carlson also interviewed a convoy spokesman who claimed that Trudeau was leading the country into “dark, authoritarian oppression and control.”
On Tuesday, Fox host Laura Ingraham interviewed former professional hockey player from Canada, Theo Fleury. Fleury claimed that “right now there's 50,000 truckers and about 1.4 million people headed to the parliament in Ottawa, and they're going to stay there until Trudeau resigns or they give us back all of our freedoms and rights.”
Fox News has also uncritically repeated various claims about the size of the convoy, many of which appear to be vastly overstated. Fox host Sean Hannity, for example, tweeted that the convoy was made up of nearly 10,000 trucks, while Carlson claimed the convoy was “thousands of truckers” and “more than 40 miles long.” Fox’s online news article cited claims that the convoy measured at 50,000 trucks. Meanwhile, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said Thursday morning that the convoy was “made up of hundreds of truck drivers,” a much smaller number.
Snopes examined the claim that the convoy is made up of 50,000 trucks, by citing the previously measured world record: “If a 500 truck convoy stretched 7.5 km, a 50,000 truck convoy would stretch 750 km (about 460 miles). We have seen no evidence to support the idea that the freedom convoy is anywhere near 460 miles long.” People in Canada have also pointed out on Twitter how these purported sizes of the convoy are mathematically impossible, even just taking the numbers at face value.
Out of everyone on Fox News, it turns out that Brian Kilmeade is the one who got closest— or whoever wrote his teleprompter, anyway. Kilmeade also gave away a little too much of Fox’s game of sabotaging public health, however, when he denounced Trudeau as “a liberal leader of Canada, who is looking out for everyone’s health, destroying two economies at once,” and expressed his hope that the truckers would not stop until Trudeau rescinded his policies.
To be fair, Canada’s cross-border mandate policy does not give truckers the option of daily testing instead of vaccination, which Fox’s policy does allow. Adding yet another layer of hypocrisy, Fox personalities have routinely fear mongered about COVID-19 being spread through the country by migrants — indeed, it seems to be the only mode of transmission with which the network is concerned — in its coverage of the U.S.-Mexico border. But as the U.S. and Canada work together to prevent such a scenario from occurring, Fox is siding with the people trying to stop their effort, with Kilmeade calling for easy movement across the border to override public health priorities.
Parliament security has also warned MPs that convoy participants might target their homes, and the entire event has spurred concerns in Canadian media about U.S.-style extremism entering the country’s political life. However, the convoy’s lead organizer has disavowed any violent intentions, and she has also urged participants to report any such incitement to the police.