Conspiracy theories are now a regular fixture on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” it seems.
During Monday’s episode, he talked at length about a debunked, fringe conspiracy theory that Dr. Anthony Fauci funded a Chinese lab that created the coronavirus and then purposefully released it to the public. And citing this false information, he basically demanded that federal law enforcement officials investigate Fauci.
Before we get into what Tucker said — and as much as it pains us to state something this obvious, it seems we have to — let’s be clear that there is absolutely no evidence that Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Biden — had any involvement in the “creation” of the pandemic. These theories that the U.S. government had a hand in engineering the coronavirus have actually been repeatedly debunked.
“It’s extremely unlikely that there was any intentional development or any intentional action in a laboratory, whether in China or the United States, to develop (the coronavirus),” Dr. Leonard Cole, director at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told USA Today.
Fauci himself has also debunked the theory COVID-19 was created in and released froma lab. “A group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,” Fauci said during a White House press briefing last month.
The bulk of medical and scientific evidence apparently doesn’t convince Tucker.
“This wouldn’t have happened if Tony Fauci didn’t allow it to happen, that is clear,” Tucker said, before asking, “why isn’t there a criminal investigation into Fauci’s role in the pandemic?”
Further, there isn’t any evidence to suggest that the coronavirus was man-made, despite Tucker suggesting otherwise. He’s of course just seizing on conspiracy theories others have already shared — including the conspiracy that Fauci somehow created the virus. Fox News personalities have frequently peddled conspiracy theories about the virus from the beginning, and in January of this year pundit Steve Hilton, live on air, used words that any reasonable person would understand as intended to convey that Dr. Fauci had something to do with it.
If you don’t believe us, his exact quote is: “The question is who commissioned the work, who started the work that they were doing in that lab, and the answer… comes back right to here, to our country, to Dr. Fauci.”
He also said “Dr. Fauci is the leading proponent of a type of virus research called gain of function. The idea is to manipulate genetic information in the lab to make viruses as contagious as possible so we can learn how to fight them. It’s a noble intention but accidents happen.” So, while he stopped short of claiming that Fauci’s intentions were nefarious, those words unmistakably convey the idea that Fauci was involved. Which he wasn’t.
Fox News had Peter Navarro on March 30, and he called Fauci “the father of the coronavirus,” also alleging that Fauci created the pandemic.
What is true about these stories is that the National Institute of Health did fund an unrelated project at the lab in Wuhan, and Fauci did authorize that as he was in charge at the time. But there’s definitely no substantiated evidence that research had anything to do with coronavirus.
The Austin-American Statesman explained the truth behind the conspiracy theory in a fact-check article in February. The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease did give a $3.4 million grant to contagious virus research group EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance used that money to hire the (now infamous) virology lab in Wuhan, China to conduct genetic analysis of coronavirus in bats found about 800 miles south of Wuhan province.
The lab secured approval from the U.S. State Department and the NIH, but had no other direct ties to Fauci.
None of this research into what actually happened means anything to Tucker Carlson, though. He’s in the business of entertainment, not facts — something a federal judge ruled in a court case last fall, arguing that Tucker is not a credible source of facts and that any “reasonable viewer” should approach his show with ” an appropriate amount of skepticism.”
Check out Tucker’s remarks at the top of the page.