Skip to main content

Tucker Carlson Insists Fox News’ Obviously Fake Vaccine Mandate Outrage Is “Not Pretending”

Okay, sure.

Tucker Carlson speaks during his Fox News show abover a chyron reading "We intend to defend our most basic civil liberties"

Fox News has not slowed down in its aggressive crusade against the COVID-19 vaccine—on air, at least. While hosts continue to rail against the idea of vaccine mandates and work tirelessly to demonize Democrats, medical experts, and anyone else who might be trying to actually end this pandemic we’re all still very much in the middle of, off the air, things look different.

Behind the scenes, the network’s parent company, Fox Corp., is proud of its own internal policies that look very similar to those its hosts call tyranny when Joe Biden, Democrats, on anyone else enacts them. According to a memo obtained by CNN last month, Fox asked employees to voluntarily disclose their own vaccination status, and those who are not vaccinated or who refused to share their status (reportedly a very small number) have to submit to daily COVID-19 testing.

Plenty of other vaccine mandates across the country also allow an exception for those willing to undergo regular testing, but Fox hosts don’t want anyone calling their company’s policy a mandate. Tucker Carlson got furious on his show Monday night at a clip of President Biden saying the network “requires vaccinations for all their employees.”

“As a factual matter, what Joe Biden just said is completely untrue. It is a lie, period,” Carlson said. “We can say that with authority since we work here.”

Funny, I remember such a fuss around the media feeling the need to avoid calling Donald Trump’s blatant lies “lies,” instead insisting on using words like “mistruths” or “false statements” so as not to impose a potentially inaccurate intent onto a message—but I guess we’re done with that!

It’s true! Fox does not technically have a vaccine mandate. Rather, the network requires employees to be vaccinated or else submit to strict health and safety protocol, as regulated by the parent company, the same as many others. As we all know, requiring something and imposing extra restrictions on those who don’t comply is totally different from a mandate!

It makes sense that Carlson would want to appear so personally offended by Biden’s comment, since the idea that Fox employees have no actual problem with the sort of policies they yell about on-air suggests an extreme degree of duplicitousness at play, as does the revelation that 90% of Fox’s employees are fully vaccinated, and the fact that this high rate is a matter of pride for the company.

There is, of course, room for “personal choice” here—the “I want the vaccine but support your freedoms or whatever” mentality—but 90% is a high enough number to make it pretty clear that some of those hosts might not be entirely genuine with their outrage.

Carlson addressed that criticism on Monday, telling his audience that Fox News is the only major media outlet defending the “bill of rights.”

“To cynical authoritarians like Joe Biden and the ghouls around him, like Susan Rice, that just can’t be genuine,” he fumed. “They assume the people you see on Fox News must be pretending, pretending for money or prestige or ratings or something else.”

“But they are wrong,” said the entertainer who literally argued in court that he was just pretending to be a newsman. “We are not pretending at all. It’s real.” You really can tell when someone is being genuine by how frequently and forcefully they have to insist they are “not pretending at all,” can’t you?

(via The Daily Beast, image: screencap)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.