When Fox News host Tucker Carlson again attacked the coronavirus vaccines on Wednesday night, he framed it as a question. But it was a very misleading one.
This is a pattern Carlson has consistently followed when pumping out vaccine misinformation, as John Oliver on “Last Week Tonight” pointed out on Sunday.
Carlson, who has simultaneously peddled anti-vaccine fear-mongering while alleging he is “pro-vaccine,” misused data to claim people were dying from the shots at a rate “not even close to normal”:
“How many Americans have died after taking the COVID vaccines?” Tucker asked as he provided numbers from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
Radiologist Pradheep J. Shanker, who focuses on health policy and is a contributor to the National Review, said on Twitter that the VAERS database allows anyone to submit a report for any reason.
“If you had a vaccine today, and then had a heart attack unrelated to the vaccine, your death would be in VAERS,” Shanker wrote on Twitter. “Vaccinating hundreds of millions of people means that, by random probability, some people WILL DIE, and it has no relationship to the vaccine. That is simple math.”
Shanker said deaths linked to the vaccine were “amazingly rare” and praised the safety of the shot.
Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, also called out Carlson’s “pure, absolute stupidity” in a series of tweets:
Many of Carlson’s critics slammed his comments on Twitter. Some even turned the question back at him and asked how many of his viewers had died after watching the show:
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