Fox News host Tucker Carlson has condemned Australia’s response to Covid as a “horrifying” attack on civil liberties which betrays the country’s reputation for “rugged individualism”.
“To see your media, and most of your public officials, endorse policies that are just so destructive of basic civil liberties is so crazy, I mean with respect,” Carlson said on Wednesday. “It’s horrifying.”
The popular right-wing talkshow host, who broadcasts to an average 3 million people in the US on Tucker Carlson Tonight, made the remarks while launching journalist Sharri Markson’s book about the origins of Covid in an online event hosted by the Australian newspaper.
During the event, Markson threw to an outtake from the filming of her Sky News Australia documental, in which a producer presents interviewee Donald Trump with the cover of Markson’s book, What Really Happened in Wuhan.
Markson, on a video link from Australia, also holds up a copy of her book.
The former president looks at the book cover with little attempt to hide his disdain, declaring “Oh” and looking bored before adding: “I look forward to reading it.”
Markson admitted the exchange was “awkward” but failed to explain why she included it.
Markson has appeared on Fox News several times, telling Carlson in August that YouTube’s suspension of Sky News Australia for violating its Covid medical misinformation policy was “the most extreme cancellation of free speech imaginable”.
Markson and her fellow Sky News host Chris Kenny nodded furiously as Carlson on Wednesday gave a damning assessment of Australia’s public health response relying on a handful of out-of-context videos he had shown on his program.
“Well I gotta be honest with you, it’s shocking to me, I work for Australians, as you know, I just had dinner with a bunch of Australians last week,” Carlson said. “And so to see this country that you imagine … is founded by convicts so it’s like the one thing you know about Australia, rugged individualism is the ethos nationally.”
Markson said the suppression of civil liberties in Australia “has happened so gradually” that people didn’t realise until an American pointed it out. “It’s not until we watch a segment on your show, Tucker, that you kind of realise how shocking it is.”
Kenny added: “Thank you for calling it out Tucker Carlson, I think you’re absolutely right.”
Carlson, who is facing fresh calls from the Anti-defamation League for his resignation for voicing the far-right “great replacement” theory about immigration, praised colonial Britain which “ruled the world because the Britons were tough as hell, really tough, and independent-minded”.
“That’s why they dominated and they bequeathed to the world this remarkable culture and justice system and language and they really improved the world more than any other group ever, and to see their descendants which is us, usted, me, Canadá, Nueva Zelanda, display the spirit of obedience and cravenness, it’s a shame to watch it.
“I’m ashamed. I cannot believe this is happening in my country, where are the fiercely independent Americans?"
In May last year, Markson told Tucker Carlson Tonight the “bombshell dossier” she had uncovered showed some of the world’s foremost intelligence agencies were investigating whether the virus was linked to a lab in Wuhan.