Tucker Carlson pretended to be the truthteller last night as he blamed “diversity” and "wokeness" for any coronavirus in the U.S. but only obliquely referred to Donald Trump’s sabotage of our public health system. With the explicit approval of Fox News.
In a previous post, I noted how Fox News has been misleading viewers into thinking that Trump is doing a great job protecting Americans from the coronavirus (COVID-19) when, in reality, he has systematically dismantled the infrastructure for any pandemic response.
Last night, Carlson took a different route. He weaponized the potential health emergency in order to ratchet up fear and loathing of “diversity” and “wokeness.”
We know that Fox News approved this bigoted deceit because Carlson’s commentary was obviously pre-scripted and thus pre-approved. It was also published on FoxNews.com.
Carlson’s commentary began with a dishonest dog whistle designed to arouse and legitimize a white nationalist response to the coronavirus:
CARLSON: For weeks the media told you it was wrong to worry about the coronavirus, a mysterious, highly communicable, lethal disease spreading rapidly around the world. If that concerns you in any way, if you think maybe we ought to take some steps to protect ourselves from it, then you're a bigot.
This “it’s legit to be racist” messaging is despicable enough (albeit predictable from this guy) but Carlson is also dissembling about how his own employer has been messaging that there’s nothing to worry about. Just a few hours before Carlson went on the air, the anchor of Fox’s evening newscast, Special Report, introduced a happy-talk report on COVID-19 with a credulous, “President Trump says the coronavirus is very much under control in the U.S.”
Carlson was there to frighten you into thinking that it’s very much out of control – and that we all might die at any moment – because diversity is trumping public health. Rather than provide facts, Carlson seems to have figured that name calling and race baiting would give him all the credibility needed. Apparently, Fox is fine with that, too:
CARLSON: "Coronavirus panic is racist profiling against Asians" lectured some arrogant moron at Slate.com. A writer for The Seattle Times warned that, quote, "yellow peril racism was the real epidemic fear," and so on.
Countless publications wagged their fingers in the face of readers, and told them it was irrational, probably immoral in fact to worry about the coronavirus than the annual flu.
Identity politics trumped public health and not for the first time. Wokeness is a cult that lets you die before they admitted that diversity is not our strength.
Not surprisingly, what really seems to have caught Carlson’s concern and his dog whistle is the fact that COVID-19 spread from (yellow) Asians to (white) Europeans.
CARLSON: Fast forward to today. What began as a regional outbreak in the city of Wuhan, China, is now spreading across Europe. Parts of Italy are shut down tonight. Catholic services and, in some places, funerals have been suspended indefinitely.
Carlson went on to note that South Korea, Japan and Iran have also confirmed cases of the virus. “It’s moving fast,” he warned.
As Carlson talked about the virus spreading in Asia, a helpful producer called it the “Wuhan virus” and described it as "spreading across Europe" in a lower-third banner.
Then, after repeatedly suggesting it's people of color and those who embrace them who are the real culprits, Carlson got around to hinting that the U.S. is not properly equipped to deal with a public health emergency. But, of course, he never said a word about Trump’s cardinal role in the failure.
CARLSON: On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control warned that it is quote, possible, even likely that America will have a general coronavirus outbreak as well. That shouldn’t surprise you. China is the world’s most sophisticated authoritarian government. Its leaders have shut down entire cities, dragged people from their homes in an effort to curb coronavirus. But it hasn’t worked.
Officials in our country have reported about three dozen cases of the virus in the U.S. so far, but that's a misleading number. The truth is, we have no real idea how many Americans are infected.
Why? Here's why: As of yesterday, only three public health labs in the entire country were properly equipped to detect the virus. Fewer than 500 people in America have even been tested for coronavirus out of a population of 327 million -- for real. Keep in mind that five and a half million people ride the New York City subway every day.
Worried yet? This could be serious. How likely is an epidemic in the United States? Are we ready for it if it comes? How many could die?
It's time for real answers to the most basic questions about coronavirus.
Carlson is right that it’s time for real answers to basic questions about coronavirus. But don’t expect them to come from Fox News – unless they can be weaponized against the left and/or the media and on behalf of Dear Leader Trump.
I have long suspected that Carlson is not the biggest Trumper and that his bigotry, while genuine, is played up to appeal to Trump fans without having to actually cheerlead the way others at Fox do. You almost have to be an archaeologist to find Carlson’s implied, indirect barb about the Trump administration underneath all the overt malice toward everyone else. But it’s there and it’s another piece that fits my theory.
You may see what I mean below, from the February 24, 2020 Tucker Carlson Tonight.