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In an interview with Dave Rubin, Tucker Carlson admitted to lying. The Fox News host claimed he lies “out of weakness”, while his rivals do so systematically and deliberately to defend “the system.” Rubin, the host of the YouTube show The Rubin Report, asked Carlson how CNN employees like Chris Cuomo and Brian Stelter “live with themselves…when they just lie again and again, and we have the internet to expose the lies.”
Carlson is known to espouse controversial theories with little basis in fact on his program. The Poynter Institute’s fact-checking site PolitiFact surveyed 18 statements made by Carlson, finding that only six of those statements had some degree of truth. The others were entirely false. The 52-year-old host claimed that his rivals at competing cable networks “systematically” and deliberately lie to protect “the system.” The 52-year-old said:
I guess I would ask myself, like, I mean I lie if I’m really cornered or something. I lie. I really try not to. I try never to lie on TV. I just don’t – I don’t like lying. I certainly do it, you know, out of weakness or whatever.
So, if these people ask themselves why am I doing this? And they say, well, I want to protect the system because I really believe in the system. OK, who’s running the system? You’re lying to defend Jeff Bezos? Like, you’re treating Bill Gates like some sort of moral leader, like, are you kidding me? How dare you do that?”
Carlson is one of many in the right-wing media casting doubt on lifesaving coronavirus vaccines even as unvaccinated Americans continue to drive up COVID case numbers. For months he has worked to erode trust in the vaccine on his top-rated show. The host contradicted his Fox colleagues, telling viewers to ignore “medical advice on television” after hosts promoted the vaccines. Former Fox News, Chief Political Correspondent, Carl Cameron explains why hosts, like Carlson, lie:
It’s about ratings just money and ratings, ultimately become revenue and that’s the name of the game. Whoever gets the most clicks on social media, makes the most money gets the most fame, gets the most attention, and that type of activity. Is not journalism, it’s not news, it’s gaslighting, it’s propaganda.
Public health experts have said that a strong vaccination effort is critical for the United States to outrun the virus, which has killed more than four million people worldwide and continues to mutate. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, believes these types of lies amplify vaccine skepticism and could harden the reluctance of those who might otherwise have been persuaded to get a shot.
During Mr. Carlson’s surge in popularity, major companies, including Disney, Papa John’s, and Sandals, stopped buying ads on his show. In April, the Anti-Defamation League called on the host to resign after he mocked concerns about “white replacement theory,” which describes a racist conspiracy theory popular among right-wing extremists and accused Democrats of “trying to replace the current electorate” with people he described as “new people, more obedient voters, from the third world.”
Carlson has a long history of making revolting comments about Black people and other communities of color — going so far as to justify Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder of Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha.2 Carlson has also defended the violent insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on January 6. Does he believe the things he says or are they just lies?
The Fox host admits to lying on his show. Carlson knows he can say whatever he wants and get away with it—not only that, but he can also say whatever he wants, and Lachlan Murdoch will back him. He is Fox’s biggest star. When the network was struggling with competition from the right after the 2020 election, his popularity helped beat back upstarts like Newsmax. Those ratings now are armor.
Carlson can tell his audience not to take Covid vaccines and that Democrats are engineering a massive conspiracy to “replace” them with non-white criminals, and he can double and triple down when he gets called out. No one at Fox cares because he is the network’s most bankable star. He admits to lying but as long as his ratings remain high consequences will be low to non-existent.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Dave Rubin: The Rubin Report
Independent: Tucker Carlson admits he lies on his show
CNN: Ex-Fox reporter explains why Tucker Carlson is lying about vaccines
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