Tucker Carlson has been pretty mockable lately. After the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced, he — along with much of conservative media — seemed to lose his mind. On not one but two instances he broke into maniacal laughter, as though something in him had finally broken. But by Monday he was back to his usual self, which was to say he was back to making the world a worse place.
On his Fox News show Monday night, Carlson decided to circle back on one of his viewers’ biggest fears: strapping a cotton mask (or two) to one’s face, so as not to either contract or spread a highly contagious disease. It’s been a simple way to slow the spread, and it’s effective, too; one need only look at the high infection and death rates in places like Florida, whose governor, Ron DeSantis, has played down the efficacy of COVID protection, with deadly results.
Tucker Carlson is now telling his audience to harass people who wear face masks outside.
If they see children wearing masks, Tucker says the response should be no different than when you see a kid being abused — "call the police immediately, contact child protective services" pic.twitter.com/4svVH0JY3s
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 27, 2021
But DeSantis hasn’t dialed back his COVID skepticism, and neither has Tucker Carlson. The latter spent part of Monday’s show re-airing a tired — and also dangerous — line about how wearing masks isn’t about safety during a once-in-a-century public health crisis.
“Not even Tony Fauci still pretends that masks are medically necessary,” Carlson railed. “Instead masks are purely a sign of political obedience, like Kim Il-sung pins in Pyongyang. We wear them because we have to. The only people who wear masks voluntarily outside are zealots and neurotics.”
So far, it was rehashed nonsense. But then he took his evil next level. He claimed people who wear masks in public look down at those who don’t, asking in their minds, “How could they not wear masks?” Carlson decided to flip it.
“That’s the question we should be asking of them in return. The rest of us should be snorting at them first — they’re the aggressors. It’s our job to brush them back and restore the society we were born in,” he said.
But Carlson had a solution, one that could cause actual violence. “So next time you see someone in a mask on the sidewalk or on the bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely but firmly, ‘Would you please take off your mask? Science shows there is no reason for you to be wearing it. Your mask is making me uncomfortable.’ We should do that and we should keep doing it, until wearing a mask outside is roughly as socially acceptable as lighting a Marlboro in an elevator. It’s repulsive. Don’t do it around other people. That’s the message we should send, because it’s true.”
And yet Tucker still wasn’t done. He upped the ante even further:
“As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal,” he said. “Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Wal-Mart. Call the police immediately. Contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you’re morally obligated to attempt to prevent it. If it’s your own children being abused, then act accordingly. Let’s say your school e-mailed you to announce that every day after lunch, your six-year-old is going to be punched in the face by a teacher. How would you respond to that? That’s precisely how you should respond when they tell you your kids have to wear a masks on the soccer field. That is unacceptable, it is dangerous, and we should act like it, because it is.”
So that’s reckless! And once his words hit social media, they were called for what they were: staggeringly irresponsible.
This is really, really dangerous. Listen to his tone of voice, and what he’s instructing. He’s moving from his viewers passively consuming his propaganda to having them act on it — against their neighbors. He’s testing his audience’s compliance. https://t.co/ZxqFMsboAW
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) April 27, 2021
This is going to cause violence. Especially if some Tucker Carlson psycho says something to my kid. https://t.co/QUvpkAYl7o
— Brian Gaar (@briangaar) April 27, 2021
This is unbelievably dangerous, just an insane level of stakes-raising. https://t.co/ysR1bxFkpR
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) April 27, 2021
Also it might not be a good idea to call 911 with fraudulent claims.
There are penalties for misusing 911 for non-emergencies https://t.co/sWXT5IotDI
— DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES (@BreeNewsome) April 27, 2021
Others pointed out that the strange disconnect between gun lovers and mask skeptics.
The same people who believe everyone should be armed with military grade weapons to protect their family and friends object when asked to wear a mask to protect their families and friends. https://t.co/ktfMaDdrsu
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) April 27, 2021
That said, telling his trigger-happy followers to start fights with people trying to stay safe during a once-in-a-century public health crisis may not end well…for Tucker.
Other people had a burning question to ask him: You vaxxed, tough guy?