Tucker Carlson hit back at Chelsea Clinton on Thursday, after she called on Facebook to ban him from the platform after the Fox News host claimed that vaccinated can return to normal life and do not require wearing masks, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Clinton had chimed in on Twitter amid a spat between Carlson and Dr. Anthony Fauci about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
Clinton's call to remove Carlson came following a surge in online engagement with a post that included the conservative television personality's speculation on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. Clinton said that Facebook should immediately remove Carlson for spreading disinformation about COVID, adding: "@TuckerCarlson consistently spews racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic hate and misinformation across his platforms. He doesn't deserve a microphone."
"Also, @Facebook needs to live up to its own commitment. It's not just one user or one false #covid19 post, it's the mess of misinformation unchecked everyday," Clinton tweeted.
Clinton Slams Carlson
On Wednesday, Clinton retweeted a post that shows Carlson's anti-vaccine monologue had become the most trending post on Facebook, according to data from the tool CrowdTangle. In the monologue, Carlson had said: "If the vaccine is effective, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact."
He then created further confusion by saying, "So maybe it doesn't work and they're simply not telling you that." The post immediately got trending and became the most popular post of last Wednesday. In response to Carlson's monologue, Clinton tweeted, "In December, @facebook banned claims about #covid19 vaccines 'that have been debunked by public health experts.'"
"Especially troubling given Republican men are currently most likely to say they're not interested in being vaccinated," she added.
Carlson's remarks came in response to the decision to pause the distribution of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine across the country on concerns of a rare type of blood clot that has developed in six women who received the shot. Although Carlson has described himself as pro-vaccine, his comments drew immediate criticism, with public health experts saying that Carlson's remarks undermine confidence in the vaccines.
"That's just a typical crazy conspiracy theory," Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, told CNN. "It's certainly not helpful to the public health of this nation or even globally."
Carlson Hits Back
Clinton's call to ban Carlson from Facebook drew support from various quarters, the Fox host hit back at her. Carlson on Thursday night responded, mockingly describing Bill and Hillary Clinton's only child as an "internationally renowned humanitarian and intellectual", and saying she "called today for Facebook to shut us down."
In fact, Carlson was quite aggressive in his response to Clinton. "Dr Chelsea Clinton is mad that we asked super obvious questions that everyone in the country should be asking. So does the vaccine, and there are a couple of them, but do they work or don't they work? It is okay, you can tell us," he added.
Understandably, health experts are quite irritated with Carlson's aggression and his way of asking about the efficacy of the vaccines. Clinton not only called for Facebook to ban Carson but also slammed him directly by tweeting: "@TuckerCarlson consistently spews racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic hate and misinformation across his platforms. He doesn't deserve a microphone."
However, Carlson too had many to defend him. Mocking Clinton, journalist Glenn Greenwald simply wrote: "Please remove from the internet any content that displeases or otherwise causes any discomfort for Chelsea Clinton."
English singer-songwriter Gareth Icke said that "being hated by a Clinton is probably something to be worn as a badge of honour." Mediaite columnist John Ziegler took the opportunity to slam Fauci with his comment, while defending Carlson. "Not only is this Tucker Carlson controversy based on a misperception of what he actually said, the basis of his commentary was a perfectly logic interpretation of Dr. Fauci's own words/actions on the vaccines," Ziegler wrote.