Fox News host Tucker Carlson begins referring to 'Chinese coronavirus'

'China did this to the world and we should not pretend otherwise' Fox host tells viewers

Vincent Wood
Tuesday 10 March 2020 20:33
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'It's definitely not just the flu' says Tucker Carlson about coronavirus

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been criticised after referring to the Covid-19 epidemic spreading across the world as a “Chinese virus”.

Mr Carlson broke ranks with his more optimistic colleagues on the right-wing network news channel on Monday night, painting a picture of the potential devastation to be caused by the virus which has so far infected more than 115,000 and killed more than 4,000 worldwide.

Commenting on the more than 500 cases in the US, he said in his opening monologue “The real number is without question far higher than that; soon we will have a better sense of just how much higher. By then, this epidemic will have caused economic damage whose effects may dog us for years. People you know will get sick, some may die. This is real.”

However Mr Carlson has since faced criticism for referring to the illness, which is thought to have originated in a market in Wuhan, almost exclusively as the “Chinese coronavirus”.

Mr Carlson, who began to refer to the virus based on its point of origin a week prior to his monologue, defended the term in a previous segment.

“The Chinese coronavirus really is Chinese”, he said. “It arose in that country for the same reason American businesses have sent so many of our jobs there – lack of health and safety standards and endemic corruption.

China did this to the world and we should not pretend otherwise. That's not xenophobia. It's true.”

And in his latest appearance, the Fox news host appeared to claim the use of the term was justified because of China’s own track record of racial prejudice.

“On the left, you've heard them tell you that the real worry is that you might use the wrong word to describe what's happening to the country. It's racist, they are telling you, to blame the most racist nation in the world for the spread of this virus. Right.”

The virus was termed Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation in a move to distance the coronavirus from any specific location. In guidance the body has since recommended people do not “attach locations or ethnicity to the disease, this is not a ‘Wuhan Virus’, ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Asian Virus’. The official name for the disease was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization”

Author Kurt Eichenwald wrote on Twitter after the segment: After months of screwing up COVID-19 planning, then weeks of laughing and lying about it, conservatives are starting to throw in the towel with a new approach: make up a name to appeal to their supporters xenophobia and racism.”

And former US attorney Barb McQuade added “’Chinese’ Coronavirus? I don’t think viruses have nationalities. What is the purpose of adding this modifier?”.

It comes after Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was criticised for using the term in relation to the virus, which has spread to 115 countries so far.

The politician tweeted “Everything you need to know about the Chinese coronavirus can be found on one, regularly-updated website” to promote the CDC’s bespoke information site – with California representative Ted Lieu tweeting in response: "One reason the President and his enablers failed to contain COVID2019 is due to the myopic focus on China.

“The virus was also carried into the US from other countries and US travellers. Calling it Chinese coronavirus is scientifically wrong and as stupid as calling it the Italian coronavirus.

"COVID2019 can be carried by anyone: a US citizen, a Japanese tourist, an undocumented youth, or a Member of Congress. Coronavirus doesn't care about your party, gender or religion. It is not Chinese, it's a virus."

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