Tucker Carlson is a political commentator, not a reporter for factual news



On the April 26 edition for “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson equated children wearing masks in public to child abuse and urged viewers to call the police or send a message to other mask-wearers.

Carlson justifies this by claiming that the mask-wearers are the aggressors and wearing one is unacceptable, dangerous and not even backed by science. Not only is Carlson’s rhetoric inaccurate, but it is also dangerous political commentary that is not representative of actual news.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still encourages people to wear masks in public, maintain social distancing, wash hands and follow other health guidelines, even if they have already been vaccinated. The CDC maintains these guidelines because it is still unsure of all the COVID-19 risks to vaccinated people.

The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is a talk show, much like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” or “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” giving Carlson a platform to voice his political opinions. Fox News even categorizes transcripts from his shows under “Opinions.”

As an influential and public figure, Carlson’s encouragement to viewers to “fight back” is extremely dangerous, especially to viewers who are not very media literate.

All ethical journalists or people in media are encouraged to abide by four principles in a code of ethics, as outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists. It states that journalists should “seek truth and report it,” “minimize harm,” “act independently” and “be accountable and transparent.” Overall, journalists are expected to be conscious of the impact of their work on the general public.

Recently, more Americans have been attributing the term “fake news” to most media outlets, with 62% believing that journalists were biased when reporting on political topics. In reality, most of these Americans are likely actually relying on political commentary for their source of news.

Carlson’s commentary on mask mandates is only one example of how commentary misconstrued as news can dangerously mislead the public.

Much like former President Donald Trump’s rally speech hours before the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, words from influential figures can carry a lot of weight. Faithful followers of those figures can exacerbate and carry out their instructions to disproportionate lengths with unforeseen consequences.

Journalists report on the news and commentators comment on the news. This distinction should be properly identified as such before mistakenly citing misinformation.

To avoid repeating opinions under the guise of factual news, readers should make the effort to double-check the accuracy of the article’s information and do a quick background check on the author.