After spending Wednesday evening reporting his “most f*cking evil lie yet” about the COVID vaccine, which put him in the crosshairs of a significantly large backlash on social media — even for him — Tucker Carlson attempted to blame his own shoddy reporting on Joe Biden. Naturally. In a nutshell, Carlson had reported figures from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is an open-source system where literally anyone can submit a report claiming an adverse reaction. Here’s the important part: these claims are in no way verified as accurate because, again, it’s open source. For example, Raw Story reports that in 2004, one doctor submitted a claim that a flu shot had turned him into the Incredible Hulk.
As many people noted after Carlson’s Wednesday report, he either missed this important piece of information about VAERS in his haste to stoke fear about the COVID vaccine, or worse, he intentionally omitted it. However, when Carlson returned to the air on Thursday, he was downright furious over the backlash he received, and instead of owning up to his mistake, he blamed the Biden Administration for the VAERS numbers, even though the system has been around since the 1990s. VAERS is not part of the official statistics on vaccine efficacy because, again, anyone can submit the claim, and you can only guess how that is going in these partisan times.
30 seconds of Googling yesterday would have told Tucker that VAERS is open access, raw, unverified data. 30 more today would have told him it’s been that way since well before Biden. https://t.co/HYVtCu0x0s
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) May 7, 2021
As The Daily Beast notes, there are several warnings directly on the VAERS page:
“Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” one disclaimer reads, while another warns: “The number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency, or rates of problems associated with vaccines.”
Maybe Tucker should try reading next time.