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Wait, Why Is Tucker Carlson Suddenly Claiming He’s “Not Qualified” To Talk About Fox News’ Vaccine Policy?

Tucker Carlson talks during a panel, gesturing with his hand.

Tucker Carlson just did an abrupt 180 on his stance on his own network’s vaccine policy.

During an appearance on the Vince and Jason Save The Nation podcast (which is part of the ultra-conservative Daily Caller website co-founded by Carlson), Carlson was asked about a recent segment on his Fox News show where he directed his trademark stupified outrage at President Joe Biden for having said the network requires employees to be vaccinated.

Tucker and other Fox News personalities have railed day and night against vaccine mandates, like the one Biden has planned stating employers at companies with 100 workers or more require employees get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.

Meanwhile, at Fox News, employees are required to be vaccinated or submit to daily testing. This makes the company’s requirements stricter than Biden’s proposal, yet Carlson threw a fit at the suggestion that the network even has a “mandate” at all. Don’t try to figure out how that makes sense because it doesn’t, it’s just performative hypocrisy.

Podcast co-host Jason Nichols pressed Carlson on the inconsistency, citing a Newsweek article on the matter and asking, “Is Fox News denying the civil liberties of its employees by being stricter than President Biden?”

Carlson responded: “I don’t know. I mean, you should probably ask Newsweek, it sounds like they have a pretty precise handle on what’s happening.”

Nichols asked if Newsweek was wrong in their assessment, to which Carlson replied, “It’s completely wrong, as I noted the other night!”

But when Nichols asked Carlson what the network’s policy actually is, the host said this:

“I’m not qualified to speak for the company on this because I don’t run the company. I’m just an employee of the company. My personal preference is that Fox News would make a statement about what their policies are, but I think, like a lot of companies, they’re hesitant to do that, because, like, why would you even want to get involved in that conversation?”

Now, first of all, Fox has made a statement about its policy in the form of an internal memo that has since been confirmed as accurate by the network to multiple news outlets.

Second, why is Tucker Carlson suddenly claiming that he’s “not qualified” to speak on the vaccine policy? Just this week, here’s what he said about Biden’s claim that Fox News mandates vaccines:

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

What happened—basically overnight—that made Carlson go from “I have the authority” to “I’m not qualified”? My guess would be that Tucker knows his lies will be defended by Fox News’ legal team when spewing them on the network but likely not when appearing as a guest on an outside platform—but, like Tucker on a podcast, I don’t have the authority to say for sure.

(via Mediaite, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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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.