CNN led off New Day this morning at 6 am Eastern by suggesting Tucker Carlson may want you dead. Point and laugh at the network that uses "Facts First" as a motto, when perhaps it should be "Hate Fox First." Co-host John Berman lowered the boom on his villain:
JOHN BERMAN: The president is asking doctors and local leaders and religious officials to help get more Americans vaccinated. A vaccine that was developed under the former president, who bragged about how fast and effective and safe it is. Standing in the way of this message is a mountain of misinformation and possible malevolence. Case in point.
TUCKER CARLSON: The administration would like you to take this vaccine. Joe Biden told you last week if you don't, you can't celebrate the Fourth of July. But it turns out there are things we don't know about the effects of this vaccine.
BERMAN: And he went on and on and on. So why would this television character spend so much time on his show throwing shade at vaccines? Feeding the fears of half of Republican men who say they do not plan to take it? This television character likes to say he's just asking questions.
So here are some questions. Does this character think it's important to slow the spread of the virus? Just asking. Does this character care if the country reaches herd immunity to return to life and work safely? A, it's a question. Does Tucker Carlson really want his viewers to live?
Look, this guy bemoans so-called cancel culture more than anyone on earth. But he should look in the mirror. Because you can't get any more cancelled than dead.
Unsurprisingly, CNN was taking Carlson dramatically out of context. He was mostly talking about European countries suspending their approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, not yet approved in the United States. This does sound sympathetic to vaccine skepticism, but it's a larger message about how Team Biden needs to do more vaccine explaining, and how our public health experts are too politicized:
He said "If you want them to take the vaccine, don't berate them. Don't issue more commands. Calm their fears by rationally explaining the benefits and the risks of taking the vaccine. That's how you deal with adults."
Minutes after Berman's show-opening Tucker-wants-you-dead smear, CNN also acknowledged the AstraZeneca controversy in Europe, and then they turned to health expert Dr. Chris Pernell, who helpfully dragged Carlson again:
Dr. CHRIS PERNELL: We know from over the summer, federal researchers have shown whenever states relax their universal mask mandates, you do see a rise in infection. And likewise, when states ease those restrictions in their restaurants, whether it's indoor or even outdoor eating, you can see a rise of infections within six weeks and, unfortunately, a rise in deaths by two months.
We don't need to see more of the destruction that we've already seen. That's why it's so destructive when you have a Tucker Carlson who politicizes the vaccine.
This only underlines Carlson's point about politicizing scientists.
PS: Let's take a peek at Pernell's own website, where she's lauded as a "social change agent" for "health justice."
Dr. Chris T. Pernell is a dynamic physician leader, health and wellness visionary, and social change agent. In her public health practice, she concentrates on health justice, community-based advocacy, and population-wide health promotion and disease prevention....She serves as a frequent contributor across television, radio and print media leveraging her lived experiences and expertise as America’s public health physician and health equity champion. (Italics hers.)