Tucker Carlson turns misleading segment on vaccine hesitancy into an attack on House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy
- Fox News host Tucker Carlson went after House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday night.
- McCarthy faces growing pressure from the pro-Trump wing of his caucus.
- Carlson bundled vaccine skepticism with the broadside at McCarthy.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson started a segment Monday night by questioning the integrity of a prominent consultant leading vaccine hesitant focus groups, and he ended it by implying House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is “violating House ethics rules.”
The opinion host’s five-minute block bundled vaccine skepticism with Carlson’s usual warnings of elites nefariously manipulating his viewers. It also added to the pressure McCarthy faces over whether to expel Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from House leadership because she won’t lie about the 2020 election being stolen.
Frank Luntz is a veteran pollster credited with coining terms such as “death taxes” and “government takeover of healthcare,” but he no longer identifies as a Republican. He has recently grappled with his own role in polarization and the public being misinformed on basic issues.
Earlier on Monday, the Washington Post reported that Luntz had a breakthrough with his focus group of Americans who say they’re hesitant about taking the vaccine, with some changing their minds and eventually taking the shot.
Despite the science behind the safety of the vaccines and a growing focus on how to best convince people go get it, Carlson questioned Luntz’s credibility and integrity by citing his consulting work for Google and Purdue Pharma.
“Why do Republican officials listen more carefully to Frank Luntz than they listen their own voters?” Carlson said. “That is a mystery.”
The Fox primetime star then brought McCarthy into it.
“Kevin McCarthy lives in Frank Luntz’s apartment in downtown Washington … Not only are they friends — they’re roommates,” Carlson said. “So now you know why they listen to Frank Luntz, but they don’t listen to you.”
Although McCarthy’s office told Fox News that the leader rents from Luntz at a “fair market price,” Carlson implied he may still be committing a crime. House ethics violations are generally not considered to be actual crimes.
“If Kevin McCarthy isn’t paying market price, he is likely violating House ethics rules on taking gifts,” Carlson said.
“But no matter what he’s paying, as far as we’re concerned, the price of the apartment is not the crime here,” he later continued. “Kevin McCarthy’s real crime is mocking his voters. Kevin McCarthy promises Republicans he shares their values.
“He tells them he’s on their side,” Carlson continued. “He says that he will fight for them against permanent Washington — the forces that would like to destroy their lives. Voters believe Kevin McCarthy when he says this. They send him back to office every two years. They send him money. And at the end of the day, Kevin McCarthy goes home to Frank Luntz’s apartment in Penn Quarter, and he laughs about it.”
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