On Friday's installment of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the Fox News commentator accused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of suggesting that COVID-19 vaccinations should be distributed based on race rather than need. Carlson's claims was a deliberate misrepresentation of a CDC presentation on the groups most needing vaccination.
In the presentation, the CDC said that healthcare personnel, adults ages 65 and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers would be the first to receive vaccinations.
In explaining why these groups were chosen for vaccinations first, the CDC mentioned that essential workers tend to be poor people and people of color who can't work from home. People of color also tend to be underrepresented among people ages 65 and older (ie. They don't typically live as long). As such, inoculating essential workers who are largely poor and people of color will help reduce healthcare inequalities among these communities.
Always eager to whip up racial resentment and outrage, Carlson explained the presentation this way:
"It is true that more lives would be saved if the elderly receive priority access to the vaccine. But here's the problem, quote, racial and ethnic minority groups are underrepresented among adults aged 65 and older. Therefore, the elderly should not be a top priority."
He continued, "In other words, it's entirely racial. They're making the decision based on race. Kathleen Dooling's presentation concluded that doling out life-saving medicine on the basis of skin color would quote mitigate health inequities. Of course, it would kill people, and she effectively concedes that. But the people who would kill come from a disfavored race, so it's not a big deal. It's been a very long time since anyone close to what we would consider the mainstream has endorsed eugenics that's exactly what that is — it's eugenics."
Media Matters writer Parker Molloy pointed out that Carlson has effectively made Dooling a target for harassment and death threats following his misrepresentation.
Democratic California Representative Eric Swalwell commented on Carlson's falsehoods by asking, "How many people did Tucker Carlson try and kill tonight?"
Atlantic science writer Ed Yong pointed out that people of color younger than age 65 are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 at higher rates, which explains why the CDC would want to inoculate them.
MSNBC commentator Chris Hayes pointed out that Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch who himself received a COVID vaccine this week.
As Carlson peddles these dangerous distortions, anti-vaxxers are flooding Facebook and YouTube with videos training people how to refuse inoculations.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he won't make vaccines mandatory nationwide, although employers and states may require people to get vaccinated before allowing them back into workplaces, schools and colleges, USA Today reports.