Tucker Carlson is a liar and a coward. For too many months, Carlson has been promoting bogus ideas about COVID-19 on his primetime Fox News show. From likening mask-wearing to child abuse to contending that Dr. Anthony Fauci should be investigated, Carlson has been spouting one conspiracy after another, sowing doubt into his audience of 3 million nightly viewers. His most egregious crime is the endless times he has spent impugning vaccines; however, at crunch time, he would not tell his audience whether he himself was vaccinated against the virus.
Asked whether he’d gotten a COVID-19 vaccine by New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, he gave a too clever half response: “When was the last time you had sex with your wife and in what position. We can trade intimate details,” he asked.
What Carlson is implying with such a crude response is that his vaccination status is as private as Smith’s love life. It is witty, no doubt, but flat-out wrong. What Smith does in the bedroom is none of our business, but the lies that Carlson spews night after night surely is.
Carlson is far from alone at wimping out when asked to disclose his vaccination status. Basketball star LeBron James and many other sports stars, politicians, and celebrities have waffled or responded with fake, ‘how dare you even ask’ outrage when questioned about their vaccination status. A market has even emerged surrounding such denial; you can even buy T-shirts on Amazon with varying degrees of colorful language. Some people even start babbling on about being asked is wrong as it is a violation of the federal privacy law.
It is time to call out this irresponsible and gutless behavior. If asked about your COVID-19 vaccination status you ought at least to have the fortitude to answer. There is absolutely no legal foundation to the idea that questioning someone’s vaccination status breaches their privacy. While your doctor or hospital or health insurance company can’t answer, everyone else can. To be a decent, responsible person, you should answer truthfully – a simple “yes” or “no.”
Carlson went down an interesting path when equating one’s vaccination status to asking about sex. It is also a flawed argument because, in many respects, some questions surrounding sex are needed. Is it offensive, wrong, prying to ask someone you might be intimate with do you have HIV? How about herpes? Want an honest answer to genital warts or syphilis? These are all infectious diseases! Privacy about infectious disease hinges on who is in a bedroom, a trusted partner, or a casual acquaintance. People have been sentenced to prison for forty years for not disclosing their HIV-positive status. In 45 states, it’s illegal to keep one’s HIV status secret.
Ok, let’s move outside of the boudoir. Let us try a couple of questions that might pop up at work, school, college, or daycare. Do you have measles, the flu, TB, a cold, MRSA, meningitis, or whooping cough? Millions of Americans have a weak immune system due to many reasons – a transplant, cancer, or maybe caring for a newborn baby. They need to know if you have contracted an easily transmissible disease. Do you think the right answer is ‘buzz off’? I don’t.
COVID-19 and its newest strains are highly infectious diseases. Unlike diabetes, tetanus, or melanoma you catch it from others. When others are vaccinated the odds of transmitting are far less. So yes, it is my business if you are vaccinated. It is your employer’s business. It is the business of your taxi driver, your airplane seatmate, the folks on a cruise with you. It is everyone’s business.
It is still your right to vaccinate or not. It is not your right to dodge the question, lie, or waffle. Yes, you can, but if you would be a jerk who does not give a whit about others. Infectious disease makes vaccination status everyone’s business.