MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday night blasted cable news rival Tucker Carlson—and Fox News as a whole—for pushing dangerous disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing the Fox News host of peddling “coronavirus trutherism” and “faux populism” by claiming the virus isn’t that “deadly.”
During Carlson’s Monday night broadcast, he leaned on heavily scrutinized claims made by two California doctors to insist that the novel coronavirus, which has currently killed nearly 60,000 Americans, “just isn’t nearly as deadly as we thought it was.” The Fox News host also asserted that lockdowns and quarantines had done nothing to reduce the death toll or the spread of the virus.
Hayes led off Tuesday’s broadcast of All In by taking direct aim at Fox News’ recent shift to minimizing the lethality of the disease in an effort to convince viewers to push back against social distancing guidelines and restrictions.
“There’s a concerted effort on the part of influential people at the network that we at All In call Trump TV right now to peddle dangerous misinformation about the coronavirus,” Hayes declared. “Call it coronavirus trutherism.”
“The question at issue—one whose answer should be obvious to everyone: Is this disease really as deadly as the vast majority of experts tell us it is, as we’ve all seen with our own eyes?” he continued before playing a clip of Carlson’s remarks.
Telling MSNBC viewers that they may wonder why Carlson believes that stay-at-home orders had nothing to do with flattening the curve of the virus, Hayes pointed out that the Fox News host relied on the findings of Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi, co-owners of a California urgent care facility who claim the mortality rate of coronavirus is only 0.03 percent.
“Of course, most public health experts have dismissed these doctors’ findings,” the MSNBC noted. “According to the University of Washington biologist Dr. Carl Bergstrom, who specializes in infectious disease modeling, ‘They have used methods that are ludicrous to get results that are completely implausible.’”
(Ironically, at the same time Hayes was debunking the California doctors’ claims, Carlson was once again touting them in his show-opening monologue.)
Hayes then pointed out that published numbers of American coronavirus deaths are almost certainly an undercount due to reports of excess deaths during the first few weeks of the pandemic. He also brought up the high rate of deaths in New York City despite the fact that the city has been locked down for weeks.
“There is a reason many of the employees of Fox News, which is based in New York, are working from home right now,” he added. “At least someone there understands why it is important to continue to keep physical distance.”
Growing increasingly incensed, the MSNBC star ripped into Carlson for broadcasting from the safety of home isolation while telling viewers that it’s now safe to go out.
“That’s his message to you bus drivers and people who work in meat processing factories and you who are providing elder care in a senior facility or a cashier at a grocery store,” Hayes fumed. “The cable news pundit wants you to get back out there because it’s just not that deadly.”
“But for all the faux-populist ire being mounted by the conservative politics legacy case from La Jolla, polling shows most Americans continue to believe that shelter-on-place is the right policy,” he continued.
Hayes then called on Carlson to put his money where his mouth is, suggesting that if the Fox star wants people to get back to work, he can chip in by helping out at a nursing home or pork processing plant.
“They’ve lost a ton of people to this disease,” the progressive host exclaimed, adding: “Go chop up some pork!”
Hayes wrapped up his fiery monologue by noting that many conservative media personalities have done a 360 and are back to minimizing the virus, much as they did before mid-March.
“The tidal wave of grief and trauma has been unleashed upon this nation in large part because the president and his enablers would not listen,” he concluded. “And no amount of cynical whataboutism or politically expedient wishful thinking or junk science is going to change that brutal fact.”