Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused a stir on Monday by urging viewers to report parents whose children are seen wearing masks outdoor for “child abuse.”
The moment: Carlson made the suggestion — which may or may not have been entirely serious — as part of a rant about how to turn the tables on liberal mask scolds.
- “As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal. Call the police immediately. Contact Child Protective Services. Keep calling until someone arrives,” Carlson said.
- “What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you’re morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”
The reaction: Carlson’s advice was cheered on Twitter by fellow populist conservatives, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican mask skeptic from Georgia.
“I think we all can agree that masking children outdoors, at the very least, is abusive, right?” said the Federalist editor Mollie Hemingway.
Even some fans, though, felt Carlson may have gone too far.
Establishment conservatives, like The Dispatch editor-in-chief Jonah Goldberg, slammed Carlson’s violation of limited-government principles.
Justin Amash, a libertarian former GOP congressman, advised, “Leave people alone as you want to be left alone.”
The Lincoln Project — an anti-Trump Republican group recently hit by a sex scandal involving a 14-year-old boy — falsely accused Carlson of advocating harassment of children and called him an “embarrassment,” a “threat to public health” and a “national security threat.”
Liberal commentators, meanwhile, competed to match the Lincoln Project’s bombastic denunciations.
“Tucker Carlson has lost his mind,” said MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang — an evaluation echoed by the writers of Politico Playbook.
Matthew Gertz of Media Matters for America deemed the host’s comments “mind-bogglingly insane and dangerous.”
CNN analyst Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent, said Carlson’s words and “tone of voice” were “really, really dangerous” and he was “testing his audience’s compliance.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, accused Carlson of participating in “right wing cancel culture.”
Others on the left called once again for “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to be canceled or banned.
- But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has maintained that anyone over age 2 should wear a face covering outside their household.
- The CDC on Sunday updated its guidelines for summer camps, saying most children should wear masks “at all times,” except for activities like “eating and drinking or swimming.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Biden administration announced fully vaccinated people generally no longer need to wear masks outdoors.