Fox News host Tucker Carlson returned to his program tonight after a seeming cooling off period, and already he’s falling back into old habits: spreading anti-abortion misinformation.
One day after sparking outrage for downplaying white nationalist violence on August 6 in the wake of several mass shootings, Carlson took a conveniently timed break from hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight. The move seemed an attempt at damage control, providing the network a chance to reassure advertisers -- which Carlson’s time slot is hemorrhaging -- that it’s safe to associate their brands with Fox.
But Carlson proved the opposite to be true in his first night back, once again relying on sensationalized anti-abortion misinformation to rile up his base. During his August 19 show, Carlson promoted a piece of anti-abortion legislation, saying it’s necessary to protect infants “born alive” after attempted abortions. Experts agree this legislation is unnecessary for numerous reasons, including that the situation rarely (if ever) happens and that appropriate care is already provided. These alleged “born alive” abortions are actually a concept invented by anti-choice groups to spark fear -- a tactic Carlson modeled when he claimed that if there were “dozens or hundreds” of cases of this phenomenon “that would make botched abortions more common than deaths from mass shootings.”
Carlson is no stranger to anti-abortion misinformation -- nor is Fox overall. But given the frequency with which the network airs similar talking points on programming across the artificial divide of its “news” and opinion shows, the message to advertisers should be loud and clear.