Referring to Carlson as “vaccine public enemy number one,” Hayes aired an excerpt from Carlson’s program Monday night in which he interviewed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). The senator, who routinely spreads anti-vaccine misinformation, claimed falsely that the Pfizer COVID-19 shot is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It is and has been since August.
“I don’t know for sure if Ron Johnson is just confused and addled and can’t quite get there ... or he’s just lying,” Hayes said. “But Tucker Carlson, who works in news, doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.”
“Do not underestimate how many lies are being pumped into people watching these shows,” Hayes continued, pointing to a new study by progressive watchdog Media Matters that found Fox News undermined the vaccine efforts at least once on 99% of the days over the past six months.
What makes this all so “aggressively cynical,” Hayes added, is the network and its executives’ hypocrisy.
Owner Rupert Murdoch, for example, was one of the first to get the coronavirus vaccine in December, and has vouched for its efficacy. And the network itself has a policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated or tested daily, a mandate stricter than the one handed down by President Joe Biden that is persistently attacked on Fox News airwaves.
Hayes also pointed to footage from inside Fox News’ bureau in Washington, which showed most employees wearing masks at work.
“Inside Fox News, everyone takes this seriously. They’re in on the joke I guess?” Hayes said. “They understand the science is quite solid. They understand the methods preventing infection, severe illness, hospitalization and death. The methods for maintaining a safe workplace are all pretty clear.”
“When they go on air, they undermine that exact message,” he added.