After spending the better part of a year discouraging viewers from getting vaccinated, Fox host Tucker Carlson took to the airwaves on November 29 to falsely claim that the U.S. has “achieved universal vaccination” and that continued high rates of coronavirus deaths mean the COVID-19 vaccination campaign is “the greatest public policy failure of all time.”
Carlson’s claim that the United States has “achieved universal vaccination” is categorically false. According to the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Tracker, 59.5% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated as of November 28, with 70% of the population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Experts and medical professionals have battled an onslaught of vaccine hesitancy that has been driven partly by Carlson and his colleagues at Fox.
Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to far outpace those of other nations, and that is largely driven by deaths among the unvaccinated. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19-related complications than vaccinated people.
Carlson’s claim that the campaign to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, and thus prevent deaths, is a “failure” is a conclusion that can be reached only if you ignore every shred of relevant information and consider instead just the fictionalized vision of the vaccine that exists on Fox News. Carlson has dedicated an extraordinary amount of airtime not just to lying about and undercutting COVID-19 vaccination efforts, but also to attacking vaccines as a whole. To name just a few recent examples:
- Earlier this month, Carlson hosted notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to tell viewers that vaccines are one of the “key suspects” behind a rise in cases of autism. During the interview Carlson asked, “Will any thinking person ever trust vaccines again?”
- Carlson has repeatedly claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine is killing Americans and called it the “single deadliest mass vaccination event in modern history.”
- Frequent Carlson guest and COVID-19 truther Alex Berenson told Carlson’s viewers that “there's just no evidence that the vaccines halt infection or transmission in any way.”
Even though Fox has its own incredibly strict vaccination and testing policy for staff, the Murdoch family that owns the network has given Carlson’s reality-averse coverage of the pandemic its full backing. Across the network, vaccine misinformation has run rampant, with Fox throwing the health and safety of its viewers under multiple buses in exchange for imaginary culture war points.