Carl Cameron was chief political reporter for Fox News over 20 years. CNN's New Day brought him on this morning to try to make sense of their anti-vax propaganda.
"Fox host Tucker Carlson is one of many in the right-wing media casting doubt on life-saving covid vaccines, even as unvaccinated Americans continue to drive up covid case numbers. Let's talk with former Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, now the co-founder of Front Page Live. I wonder -- I think I know the answer but I want to know from you: Why are hosts like Tucker Carlson doing this?" Brianna Keilar asked.
"It's about ratings," Cameron said flatly.
"Ratings ultimately become revenue. That's the name of the game. Whoever gets the most clicks on social media gets the most money, the most fame, the most attention. and that type of activity is not journalism. It's not news. It's gaslighting. It's propaganda. Just last week, new infections went up 70%. And according to the CDC, the NIH, which oversees the CDC, it is absolutely 99.5% of those infections are people who haven't gotten vaccinated. I mean, come on. Anybody who disputes that sort of stuff is putting people's lives at risk and potentially killing them."
"No question about it. We see this red state, blue state divide in vaccinations. You say it's about a business model. Isn't killing your own supporters a bad business model?" John Avlon asked.
"Absolutely. It makes no sense whatsoever," Cameron said.
"This is literally the metaphor of the lemmings running to their own slaughter. People listening to that sort of stuff instead of the science, which goes way, way, back, we would not be the world we are today if it were not for penicillin. These things are real, and to suggest they're not, particularly if you have no education in science, it's lying to the American people and putting them at the risk of death.
"We saw Sanjay over there in Japan, an American athlete at the Olympics is out and God knows how sick he could get. This is wrong for journalists to be doing this or people who call them that, whether it's Fox, or One America Network, Newsmax. These are all cable channels perpetuating lies."
Cameron said he's been working hard to build a coalition called Persuasion U.S., with a number of "organizations, institutions, activists across the country. It's an incredibly diverse group."
"For Republicans of goodwill who understand that what's happening to the Republican party and the country as a consequence of what Trump and the far right did is really, really dangerous. And it's time for the left, Democrats need to start fighting the way Republicans do. There's no such thing as a one-year presidential race. It's all four years. It's 24/7 on the Republican side, raising money, making up stories, trying to denigrate half of the country on the left-hand side of it. That includes those people of color in many cases and it has to stop.
"There are organizations all over the country who are trying to fight this disinformation disease and we're joining that fight and we need a lot of help. It's going to take money, it's gonna take time and we need to start doing it now because the Republicans have been doing it all the way since the beginning of the year for the upcoming congress, the congressional races, and the White House three years from now," Cameron said.
"I know that's part of a letter that you and others wrote to the DNC and funders. I always wonder as I'm watching these insane claims -- they seem so nuts, and yet you know millions of people are watching them and believing them. I always wonder, you know, is that guy vaccinated? Maybe. Very probably. And I would like to know. I would like to know when it comes to the kind of drivel that is coming out about vaccines. Do you think hosts like Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, should say whether they themselves chose to take the vaccine?" Keilar said.
"Absolutely. As a journalist, I got a Moderna shot in March. Anyone who comes on television to talk about coronavirus with any kind of authority has to explain where they stand. It is inconceivable to me that people who won't explain what they're doing for their own health when they're trying to inform the United States of America. The hypocrisy of it and the danger of that potential falsehood saying yeah, I've got one and not having one is exactly the kind of deceit Trump started even before he was elected," Cameron said.