Alex Berenson, who has carved out a niche for himself as a self-professed “COVID Contrarian” over the past year, ran to Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show on Thursday night to complain about a searing article that debunked several of his unfounded claims about the pandemic.
In his thorough and utterly brutal takedown titled “The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man,” The Atlantic writer Derek Thompson took several of the former New York Times reporter’s fearmongering claims about the efficacy and safety of vaccines and presented them to actual scientists. These experts were nothing if not blunt in their appraisals of Berenson’s assertions.
“His point is absolutely stupid,” one expert said about Berenson’s claim that Pfizer’s clinical trial data proved a large percentage of patients became sick with coronavirus, pointing out that Berenson totally misunderstood a data point.
“For the past few weeks on Twitter, Berenson has mischaracterized just about every detail regarding the vaccines to make the dubious case that most people would be better off avoiding them,” Thompson noted. “As his conspiratorial nonsense accelerates toward the pandemic’s finish line, he has proved himself the Secretariat of being wrong.”
Berenson, who has appeared on Fox News primetime dozens of times and even filmed a special for Fox News’ streaming service, appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to respond. Prior to interviewing the spy novelist, Carlson took it upon himself to attack The Atlantic for having the temerity to fact-check Berenson’s dubious claims.
“It should not surprise you that The Atlantic magazine, one of the most craven and corrupted pieces of garbage in journalism, has a new cover story out this week—in fact, I believe today—attacking Alex Berenson, because he read from a different script, and that can’t be allowed!” Carlson exclaimed.
“He joins us on our set tonight to respond to this predictable, I don’t even know if it is annoying, it is so dumb, but assess this hit piece on you,” the Fox News star added.
Berenson, meanwhile, claimed that Thompson had “entirely missed the point” before once again trying to make the case that the vaccines “have not worked quite as well or quite as quickly as people had hoped in a place like Israel”—despite the fact that Israel has had roaring success with its vaccinations, resulting in a nearly wide open economy and plummeting COVID-19 cases.
“The story I’m telling is pretty coherent, and I really do encourage anybody who wants to know where I really stand on this to get the booklet and read it for yourself,” Berenson said at one point, hawking his online “Unreported Truths” books.
After Carlson said that Berenson’s not being attacked for making false claims but rather because “you deviate from the approved script,” the ex-reporter suggested his opinions on coronavirus were valuable even if they weren’t true.
“Look, even if I’m wrong about all of this—I’m not wrong about all of this—it’s useful to have me, and it would be useful to have other journalists, asking hard questions,” he declared.
After Carlson continued to trash The Atlantic, describing the magazine as a place “where freethinking ends,” Berenson said he was happy with the platform he’s been provided by both Twitter and Fox News.
“Honestly, Twitter has been pretty good to me,” he stated. “They have basically allowed me to ask—and I have a couple hundred thousand people on there. You allow me on, Fox allows me on.”
Berenson then concluded by imploring other cable news networks to bring him on to talk about the pandemic.
“As I always say when I come on with you, I love to come on with you, I would be glad to go on CNN or MSNBC, anybody else, ask me the questions and I can handle myself,” he pleaded. “The people who need to hear this the most are the people who are hearing none of it.”
Meanwhile, following Berenson’s Fox appearance, Thompson took to Twitter to offer a suggestion to Fox News producers.
“If you must invite Berenson on your show, ask one of the scientists and experts he misrepresents in his tweets to join him on the segment. I can help: I have their emails and phone numbers,” he tweeted.
“The false claim that Berenson's repeated on Fox News this evening—that cases rise after the first dose of mRNA vaccines—was sourced to a Danish study,” Thompson followed up in another tweet. “I spoke to its lead author on the phone. She said Berenson didn't know what he was talking about.”