On his Fox News Monday night, climate change denier Tucker Carlson claimed to be concerned that efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are ruining the environment.
It’s a rare example of an aspect of reality fitting with Tucker’s far-right political agenda — sort of. It is true that PPE supplies like masks and gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer are a huge problem for rivers like the Chattahoochee in Georgia, but the issue here is that people are littering rather than recycling those materials — not that they had them in the first place. Tucker, however, thinks river pollution is an argument against trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“What will the country looked like when it’s over? Well it could be dirtier for sure. The environment. Here’s one unintended consequence of the lockdown regime that absolutely nobody is talking about: the degradation of our natural environment,” Tucker said.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” then pulled up a clip from a news report from a local Atlanta television station about PPE pollution in the Chattahoochee River. Proving definitively that it’s not true that “absolutely no one” is talking about it.
“Odds are over the past several months of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic you’ve seen a mask or two on the ground. The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Jason Olson, says he’s never seen the river filled with so much plastic,” the anchor says in the clip.
“So where are all the people who care about nature?” Tucker said, self-righetously. “All the environmentalists, where they on that? Well, they’re probably hiding somewhere with the free speech people and the pro-choice community. Too afraid to speak up.”
The news clip showed people clearing trash out of the river, and speaking up about the river pollution. Presumably they are the people Tucker is claiming are “too afraid to speak up.” Which is why they were featured on a news program.
This isn’t the first time Tucker has claimed that he cares about pollution. In 2019, he used the topic of litter in the Potomac River as an excuse to make a racist attack on immigrants. Tucker said that the river has “gotten dirtier and dirtier and dirtier and dirtier” because of litter, and “that litter is left almost exclusively by immigrants.” Neither of those statements had any basis in reality — and the Potomac River has actually gotten considerably cleaner in recent years.
And throughout last week, Tucker spread misinformation about the winter storm blackouts in Texas, falsely putting the entire blame on frozen windmills — even though the vast majority of the blackouts were caused by more traditional energy providers. Tucker was simply taking the opportunity to complain about efforts to help the environment with renewable energy.
You can watch the quoted portion of Monday’s episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News in the video embedded up at the top of this article.