On June 10, as the shocking – but unsurprising – revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s rendezvous with Russian officials started to appear, Fox News decided to not give them too much attention. Instead, as spotted by those at Gizmodo, a major segment was aired in which the safety of vaccines was debated.
The “debate” – which was really a chance to get some rather expansive conspiracy theories out into the open – was between Tucker Carlson, a perpetually enraged news anchor, and Robert Kennedy Jr., an influential anti-vaxxer. It was designed to be a response to a segment on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, in which Kennedy was made to look rather silly indeed.
Just for some context, Kennedy met with the President not too long ago to discuss setting up a committee to look at the (non-existent) links between vaccines and autism, while Carlson is a staunch conservative that once appeared on The Alex Jones Show. As you might expect, vaccines were about to get a rough ride.
“Why is raising concerns about the safety of vaccines such a no-go zone on the left?” Carlson began.
After going into a diatribe about the pharmaceutical industry and how liberals traditionally view them with skepticism, Kennedy then describes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “cesspool of corruption”, whose vaccines branch is a “subsidiary of the vaccine industry”. He then explains that he’s been told that there is very little safety testing going on when it comes to vaccines.
This is just not true. There’s no evidence to support these claims; it’s all just hear-say.
Robert Kennedy Jr. voices his views unchallenged. Fox News via YouTube
The vaccine “industry” exists to stop the spread of diseases that have the potential to wipe out millions of people’s lives. Since 1990, vaccines have saved the lives of at least 120 million children across the world.
Except for people with weak immune systems, in which vaccines can cause adverse effects – which, funnily enough, is known and tested for – the vast majority of the population can be inoculated and live longer, healthier lives. When people aren’t vaccinated, disease spreads. This is not a coincidence.
Carlson at one point, brimming with fake earnestness, explains that he’s “not against vaccines, but I am for asking sincere questions.”
If you asked any reputable medical professional if vaccines are thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe, they would respond “yes”. Science is constantly answering these questions – but anti-vaxxers would never be satisfied with their answers.
Asking “questions” about vaccine safety in this sense carries the same weight as someone saying “I’m not against gravity, but I am asking sincere questions. Is gravity safe?”
Kennedy mentions that being an anti-vaxxer “was one of the worst career decisions he’s ever made.” No surprises there then.