ContributorsPublishersAdvertisers

Tucker Carlson blames Southwest flight disruption on Biden vaccine mandate

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2021-10-12
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=194DQw_0cOkrUlS00
The Fox News building in New York, New York on 15 August 2021.

Tucker Carlson has claimed the cancellation of thousands of flights by Southwest Airlines was “a direct consequence” of the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate for federal workers.

Southwest is a private company, not subject to federal vaccine rules.

On his primetime Fox News show on Monday night, Carlson also said a group of Florida air traffic controllers – who are subject to federal rules – “apparently” walked out on Friday to protest against Covid-19 rules, contributing to difficulties facing Southwest passengers.

Local media has reported that the head of Jacksonville Aviation Authority rejected reports of a walkout.

Resistance to vaccines and other Covid-19 public health measures is strongest in Republican states, as politicians and media figures, Carlson prominent among them, seize on the issue. Carlson has also repeated conspiracy theories about negative health effects from vaccines. It is not known whether he is vaccinated himself.

Disruptions to Southwest flights began shortly after the airline’s pilots association asked a federal court to block the airline’s own vaccine mandate – a measure of the kind praised but not ordered by Biden. The union argued that Southwest must negotiate over sick leave or disability payments if pilots have a reaction to a vaccine.

“We are not anti-vaccination at all but our pilots are extremely worried about how their medicals are going to be handled,” the union president, Casey Murray, told the Associated Press, saying pilots had not staged a sickout because of the vaccine mandate.

Murray said Southwest’s management systems had become “brittle” and “crack[ed] under the slightest pressure”.

On Monday night, Carlson also seized on Joe Biden’s incorrect assertion that Fox News mandates vaccinations against Covid-19.

In a speech in Illinois last week, Biden said he “always gets a kick” out of mentioning that “Fox News requires vaccinations for all their employees”. It does not.

Carlson said: “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.”

Claiming to defend “civil liberties” with his opposition to vaccine mandates, he said: “To cynical authoritarians like Joe Biden and the ghouls around him … that just can’t be genuine. 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. We are not pretending at all. It’s real.”

Carlson did not mention that his company has a strict vaccinations and testing policy. In a memo reported last month, Fox News’ head of human resources, Kevin Lord, said that after being asked to report their status, “90% of full-time employees” said “they were fully vaccinated”.

Lord said the company would soon implement “daily Covid testing for the small group of employees who are not vaccinated or have not provided their vaccination status”.

Fox News critics include Chris Hayes of MSNBC, who recently included Carlson in a group of mandate-resistant Fox News hosts he said had not “call[ed] out their own network and their own employer”.

Biden announced vaccination and testing requirements for federal government employees in September, prompting fury on the right.

“The Fox News vaccine requirement is stricter than the one proposed by President Joe Biden and described as tyranny and creeping communism,” Hayes said.

More than 713,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the US, out of a caseload of more than 44m. The vast majority of hospitalisations and deaths are now among unvaccinated people.

Comments / 7

Cranky Old Geezer
10-12

Ya gotta wonder, why were the issues pretty much centered around Southwest? 🤔🤔🤔

Reply(1)
5

Comments / 0