Tuesday, May 30, 2023

#2650: A.J. Castellitto

We have had plenty of opportunities to mention the website RenewAmerica already, and we will most likely have plenty of new opportunities in the future. RenewAmerica is a fringe-right conspiracy website that promotes Christian fundamentalism, and that consistently seeks to defend the fringiest and silliest positions possible on any topic, possibly in an effort to make websites like Townhall come across as reasonable (there is significant overlap among the writers).


A.J. Castellitto is a freelance writer who has helped shape RenewAmerica’s science profile. Castellitto is a creationist, and tends to repeat any – in particular the dumbest – arguments against the theory of evolution he can come across. According to Castellitto, “years of personal study and online debate” have taught him that evolution is based on “vast amount of unfounded speculation, fantastical thinking, and unproven, inconsistent theory”. One of the problems that “evolutionary theorists have never been able to clear”, according to Castellitto, is “the idea that one species can naturally progress into a higher or more advanced life form” (no, he hasn’t looked at the answers, of course, because he doesn’t understand the theory of evolution and commits the standard idiotic fallacy of confusing it with a normative theory in the process), something that he happily asserts “has never been observed” and that “goes against the observed and testable laws of nature” – yes, it’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics gambit, no less. Evolution is, according to Castellitto, a theory in crisis, and only the nefarious efforts of “disciples of evolution” to distort the facts to the masses for ideological reasons has stood in the way of further recognition of this situation (that he might be wrong and has misunderstood the science never crosses his mind). It is worth pointing out that Castellitto is a major fan of the movie Expelled.


But evolution isn’t the only “vital question” on which Castellitto thinks the public might have become the victims of misleading propaganda from the scientific establishment. Others include:


-       Should the science of climate change (global warming) be deemed ‘settled’?” (ooh, we know the answer to that one!)

-       Are scientific studies related to vaccines affects on autism, the necessity of embryonic stemcell research, GMOs, etc. wholly comprehensive and objective?

-       Are Godly principles AND government compatible or even necessary?


So, there!


Diagnosis: All-purpose science denialist and conspiracy theorist. “RenewAmerica” material is diagnosis enough.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

#2649: Kerry Lynn Cassidy

Project Camelot is a notoriously boring and unprofessional but frighteningly popular YouTube conspiracy (conspirituality) channel on which Kerry Lynn Cassidy and (at least formerly) Bill Ryan, a British ex-Scientologist, perform video interviews with woomeisters, astrologers and self-declared whistleblowers (i.e. paranoid conspiracy theorists) – though the videos consist for the most part of Cassidy turning the camera on herself to rehash various conspiracy theories she has found on other conspiracy theory outlets and blogs (she will also readily believe any claim made by their interviewees if it has a whiff of secret knowledge to it). In her own words, she is “a very unique interviewer,” and she does (falsely) claim to challenge her interviewees on occasion: “I’m able to discern when someone is falling into what is kind of a ... a recording in their head, that they then speak from. And so they get ... their tone tends to get very monotonous. There are tell-tale signs of programming. And I tend to break them out of it by asking .. and interrupting them, and asking them questions, sometimes completely what appears to be off topic. And I also have help during these interviews from ETs. ... that are tapping into me and giving me information.”


In any case, if you wish to know the relationship between chemtrails, Anunnaki, lizard people and the conspiracy to suppress the benefits of MMS, Project Camelot is the place to go. The ‘project’ was primarily funded by Cassidy’s inheritance, with support from Ryan and convicted felon and self-declared psychic Sean David Morton. The pair also arranged the Awake and Aware conspiracy conferences featuring luminaries like Morton and New Age pseudoscientist David Wilcock. The conferences are, according to the organizers, consistently targeted by the US government using scalar waves.


Many of the conspiracy theories promoted on the show concern aliens and space travel, and to give you an idea of the kind of drivel they promote, here’s Cassidy on the war in Iraq: “Soldiers who are alleged to be going to Iraq or Afghanistan are actually being sent off planet to places like Mars to fight battles alongside other alien races. Those men and women will have their minds wiped when they come back. This is why we’re having a lot of suicides with ex-soldiers. In some cases their minds have been wiped so many times they become unbalanced as a result. When they return, they don’t know where they’ve been. They think they’ve been to the Middle East, but they’ve actually been elsewhere.” Cassidy’s evidence for such claims is primarily found through a familiar method of evidence-gathering typically employed by conspiracy theorists of her ilk: Since a central part of the theory is that it’s secret and covered up, one predicts that evidence will be hard to find; she finds no evidence; so the hypothesis is confirmed. Science and logic!


A nice example of that kind of reasoning is Cassidy’s explanation for why she is systematically targeted by the government for exposing them (“we’re all being targeted. Some people don't know it though”): it’s “because your government is out to get you.” So there. Indeed, after having been the victim of a government plot to kill her with a “scaler [sic] weapon formation sent by the dark side” in 2015, Cassidy even developed a protocol to defend yourself from such attacks:


-       Carry small magnets in your pocket: these will change your DNA signature so it’s harder for the scaler [sic] weapons to find you. Rock salt will clear the energies after use.

-       Meditate (always) to increase your frequency/vibration and stay in your highest frame of mind.

-       Boost your immune system with micro plant powder (she will sell you some in her store)

-       Wear medallions to ward off ELF.

-       Use colloidal silver and Miracle Mineral Supplement (oh, yes: that’s the level on which we’re operating here).


It’s unclear to what extent any of this is supposed help, though; according to Cassidy herself, she was ultimately spared from assassination not because of magnets and bleach but because she has friends among high-ranking extraterrestrial and government and military sources who she claims want disclosure and are using Cassidy as a venue for releasing leaked information.


A small selection of Project Camelot standard fare, ostensibly leaked information:


-       President Eisenhower met with extraterrestrials, which led to the age of reverse engineering alien technology; before that, however …

-       the aliens gave the Nazi their technology; and before that …

-       Nicola Tesla was assisted by the aliens;

-       Apparently, the aliens are very interested in Earth’s gold; Earth is also suitable as a jumping off point to explore the rest of our solar system, and female humans are very useful for breeding and genetic experimentation;

-       Our governments are actively exchanging humans for alien technology; apparently millions of children and have disappeared from Earth to become slaves, food sources and breeding stock for the aliens;

-       Some humans have been modified to become interstellar supersoldiers; Cassidy has met several such with enhanced physical powers and psychic abilities; they are, for instance, able to communicate with extraterrestrials using telepathy;

-       DNA in world leaders is reptilian-based, and these reptilians are working hard to keep the sheeple from realizing what situation they actually find themselves in;


Cassidy and Ryan were major promoters of the Project Serpo hoax, with Ryan even being Project Serpo’s webmaster.


Some other conspiracy theories promoted by Cassidy

Among Cassidy’s most notorious projects are her interviews with convicted murderer Mark Richards, in which she promotes Richards’s story that he is innocent (he isn’t) but was framed by the Illuminati. According to Richards and Cassidy “Captain Mark Richards” was not a murderer at all but a hero of numerous battles with aliens in outer space (Cassidy never asks for or is provided with any documentation or evidence, of course).


In 2017, Cassidy also offered her thoughts on the devastating Napa Valley wildfires; according to Cassidy, the fires were caused by a space-based weapon and were “clearly the work of planning and an attack orchestrated by the Illuminati and their cohorts” as a plot to clear the land for real estate development. The idea that such claims should be corroborated by even a shred of evidence is apparently also part of an Illuminati mind control plot. But yes, the Illuminati govern it all. According to Cassidy, a secret cabal of rich and influential people control all aspects of human affairs. She also said that the 1999 science fiction film The Matrix is an accurate description of the situation, and should be viewed as a documentary, thus contradicting most of her other claims. Whatever.


In the 2020s, Cassidy has been a major promoter of the COVID-19 5G conspiracy. According to Cassidy, the entire population of the planet is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus; symptoms, however, only appear when the virus is “activated” by 5G transmissions. She later blamed the whole pandemic on George Soros.


False flags

A recurring theme in Cassidy’s conspiracy mongering is that all major tragedies and events are false flag operations committed by the powers that be. Her evidence is … gappy. She also struggles mightily to formulate any remotely coherent hypotheses concerning the motive said powers might have for performing the atrocities. Among the events claimed by Cassidy to be false flag operations are:


-       The Sandy Hook massacre

-       The 2015 Charlie Hebdo assassination (“this incident has been faked”, asserted Cassidy. Part of the evidence for conspiracy was a shoe (a piece of getaway clothing) that one of the terrorists picked up and put back in the getaway car: “Uh, really? Where did the random SHOE come from and why would he pick it up? He is apparently wearing 2 shoes so it isn’t his!!” Therefore the government was behind the attack. The motive was ostensibly to create an atmosphere in which forced deportation of Muslims would be accepted, and the evidence is … the forced deportation of Muslims from France after 2015?

-       The 2016 Bastille Day attack: “this latest so called terror attack in Nice smacks of an orchestrated Illuminati hit against French ‘independence’ from their agenda. ... the signs are clear. False Flag.” Yeah, a slam-dunk appeal to the incontrovertible force of ‘smacks of’.

-       The October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas that cost the lives of 58 concert-goers; according to Cassidy, “[t]he location of this latest false flag however real the human casualties relates to the history of Mandalay and Kipling, the British illuminati versus possibly what they may see as the U.S. Navy ‘pirates’. This may well be a turf war between illuminati factions over who will run the financial system and how and when it gets taken down and reformulated into the NOW currency ... No doubt this is also all about controlling the guns (and getting the U.S. populations under control by attempting once again to take away their guns).”

-       The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; that one, including her interview with James Fetzer, got Cassidy in trouble with Youtube policies – Cassidy promptly asserted that YouTube had been infiltrated by the Illuminati and “Black Magicians”, and threatened to sue.


Cassidy on evidence and confirmation

To be fair, Cassidy herself has recognized that she needs to employ a standard for evidence-gathering that diverges from mainstream methods and standards. In connection with some rants about Comet Elenin, she explained that “what resonates with your heart and spirit is where the truth is … not in superficial details that don’t add up or painting a logic trail with a broad brush saying this is black and this is white.” In connection with her Mark Richard interviews, she also explained why “the slow minded members of the population are so easy to deceive”: “As Einstein said [he didn’t], the real measure of intelligence is the limits of one’s imagination. They, those who don’t believe in conspiracies and who are in denial about the existence of visiting alien races, chemtrails, UFOs, and state-sponsored terrorism also known as false flags, have little imagination.”


Some of her conspiracy ranting is also available in book form (good lord!), including Rebel Gene: Secret Space and the Future of Humanity. Cassidy is also also is a member of the Advisory Board of the Exopolitics Institute. She is also behind the, uh, “documentary” Boriska: Indigo Boy from Mars.


Diagnosis: There exist people who think she makes some good points, but we imagine that many of those would be disqualified from entries in our encyclopedia on medical grounds. As one of the most extreme religious fanatics in the US regardless of religious affiliation, however, Cassidy actually does have an impact, so we needed to provide an entry for her.


Hat-tip: Rationalwiki

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

#2648: Earl Carter

Earl Carter is a sex-obsessed, perverse unhinged, hateful Florida-based pastor (possibly: there is some serious lack of clarity about the whereabouts of his ministry and his background
). Carter does not like homosexuality, and his rants against gay people are characterized by i) extreme bloodlust and violence fetishism and ii) very long, detailed descriptions of anatomy and sexual acts. Now, Carter is adamant that he doesn’t hate homosexuals: “I don’t hate gays, I’m just like the doctor who hates disease, I fight the disease. My gospel is like chemotherapy” – and Carter does indeed claim to have “cured” several gay people by means of fundie religious ranting – but he also quickly added that if he were able to express his true feelings, “then I’ll be whipping sissies. You’re talking about gay bashing, it would be gay stoning.” Well, then. The reason for the apparent conflict between the statements is of course that Earl Carter is unable to entertain a coherent line of thought. Also, gay men are “sissies” who he hoped would “bleed from their butts.”


In connection with the 107th Holy Convocation convention for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in 2015, where he gave a sermon, he also offered to “tell you how I feel about Obama, how I feel about Oprah, how I feel about anybody that supports the Democratic Party. Sometimes they immoral. They just don’t have any morals at all.” (Yes, Carter struggles with the distinction between morally good actions and hate-motivated murder). He also prayed “that God should punish gay men with menstrual bleeding, hot flashes and pregnancy” because anal sex is “hygienically crazy.” Then he asked people to support him so that he could “terrorize this country in the name of the Lord.” Apparently, his 2015 appearance with COGIC has had an interesting aftermath.


Diagnosis: Deranged pervert whose thoughts are glued together by hate and bloodlust alone. Lock your doors when he’s in your vicinity. (No seriously: this guy is dangerous and has done jailtime for violence on several occasions)

Monday, May 22, 2023

#2647: Cody Carson

Not entirely convinced he isn’t a poe, but Cody Carson at least appears to be a crackpot fundie inventor (a “philosopher, inventor, filmmaker, actor, author, former US marine”) who believes i) that the Rapture is imminent, and ii) that a device of his invention is able to detect when Christians disappear from Earth – it’s a Rapture Alarm, in his own terminology. Well, it’s not much of an invention; it is a … switch that triggers when something physical is removed, which is something that probably hasn’t been patentable since shovels. And since attaching a switch to living people is sort of pointless and silly – you wouldn’t really need a switch attached to your body to tell close-by audiences that your body suddenly vanished in thin air – Carson wants to attach it to … dead people, whose bodies apparently also vanish. Then he talks about building tombs equipped as small labs to record “quantum changes that would occur during the resection and vanishing of a body” to give us a “controlled lab setting”, because science. There are some questions here one might feel that Carson has left unasked, including (but not limited to) “why?” (After all, marketing the device would need to overcome the obvious obstacle that the people who believe in the Rapture are exactly the ones who expect to vanish in the Rapture themselves.)


But in fact, he has a … point, sort of. Carson’s invention was presented back in 2009, and “if the rapture is timed with the chain of natural disasters that have already been predicted by scientists for the 2010–2012 time frame [yeah, that use of the word ‘scientists’ explains a bit here], the fulfillment of the long predicted biblical prophesy could be partially overlooked because of the heavy death toll and mass destruction that would follow in the wake of multiple global disasters.” If that doesn’t sufficiently answer all your obvious questions, you aren’t in the target audience.


Carson’s online presence seems to have faded after 2012, at which point he was mostly sharing wisdom attained through his work as a “philosopher”. We don’t feel the need to share said wisdom here, though.


Diagnosis: Yeah, whatever. We’ll leave him alone from now on. Probably harmless.


Hat-tip: Pharyngula

Friday, May 19, 2023

#2646: Mellissa Carone

Mellissa Carone is a deranged, incoherent lunatic who rose to fame right after the 2020 election because she happened to do work for Dominion Voting Systems at the time (she was “hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks”) and recognized the career opportunity that presented itself in forwarding false and utterly baseless claims of election fraud in Michigan. In an affidavit from November 10, 2020, Carone alleged that some ballots were counted four or five times, that more than 100,000 ballots were then “found” after vans dropped off food for the poll workers, that poll workers were filling out ballots on behalf of voters, and that her managers were incompetent. She forwarded no shred of evidence to corroborate the claims, but they were sure popular with certain crowds of conspiracy theorists, who promptly launched Carone to national fame – she immediately became Rudy Giuliani’s star witness at a Michigan House and Michigan Senate Oversight Committees panel on Trump’s baseless fraud allegations. Her eccentric performance (she struggled mightily, and repeatedly, to describe what her job tasks for Dominion were, for instance) went predictably viral, including her exchange with GOP Rep. Steve Johnson after she had claimed that a batch of 30,000 votes had been counted multiple times.


SJ: “We’re not seeing the poll book off by 30,000 votes.”

MC (animated): “What’d you guys do, take it and do something crazy to it?

SJ: “I’m just saying the numbers are not off by 30,000 votes.”

MC: “I’d say that poll book is off by over 100,000 [votes],” (later adding that there were “zero registered voters” in the county’s poll book, whereupon even Giuliani had to try to shush her).


Her allegations were predictably determined to be “not credible” by a Wayne County judge two days later. “I never wanted to be thrown out into the public eye the way I was,” lied Carone.


In 2022, she attempted to capitalize on her infamy to run, together with a large cohort of pro-Trump Republican conspiracy theorists and election deniers, for a suburban Detroit-based open state House seat, earning endorsements from Guiliani, Mike Lindell and the Macomb County Republican Party. Her platform included railing against vaccine mandates, open borders (to Canada?) and perceived traitors among other Republican lawmakers (primarily those who didn’t endorse the insane Big Steal conspiracy), as well as pushing the expected white nationalist talking points (“they’re trying to eliminate the white people in America, particularly the white male in America,” yelled Carone) and – of course – election fraud conspiracy theories, including repeating debunked claims about shredded ballots in Georgia and claiming that 75 percent of Americans voted for Trump, something she knew “for a fact” after listening “to Rudy Giuliani every night – his comments on his YouTube channel.” She also claimed, without a shred of evidence, that the Jan. 6 violence on Jan. 6 was “led by Antifa.”


Diagnosis: Local dingbat clown, unfettered by the chains of reason, evidence, fact or decency – exactly what frighteningly large portions of the electorate desire, though one may still hope that Carone remains simply too incompetent to manage to get herself elected to anything anytime soon.

Monday, May 15, 2023

#2645: Jill Carnahan

Yes, it’s functional medicine again, and functional medicine remains one of the most insidious (and cynically marketed) branches of quackery there is. Now, it is admittedly somewhat tricky to determine precisely what functional medicine is supposed to be, as it tends to be defined in terms of vague, largely metaphoric terms like “taking a whole-patient perspective” and “imbalances” in hormones and neurotransmitters, rather than anything that lends itself to precise and accountable investigation and assessment (i.e. it means what functional medicine providers want it to mean), but at least it tends to encompass vast arrays of unproven and disproven treatments backed by pseudoscience, anecdotes, intuition (i.e practitioner’s trusting their own judgment) and conspiracy theories, often made up as they goalong. A characteristic of functional medicine, though (the claim to focus on root causes is something it shares with most brances of woo), besides making loose and unjustified claims about alleged interactions between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems, is practitioners’ tendency to prescribe useless and expensive tests, which they then use, based on the above-mentioned methods (intuition, pseudoscience and conspiracy theory), to construct “individualized treatment plans” – ‘individualized’ here used mostly to avoid accountability; ‘invoice-based’ would be more accurate). Most insidiously, though, the quackery that is functional medicine has powerful backers: the Cleveland Clinic, for instance, has sported a Center for Functional Medicine since 2014 because the administrators there have realized there’s good money in it – after all, functional medicine often sounds professional and it’s tailor-made to drain its victims of as much money as practitioners can sustain (the plans are “individualized”, remember). There are decent primers on functional medicine here and here.)


One particular strand of quackery that has been popular with functional medicine practitioners for a while, is dubious (so as to avoid using the word ‘fraudulent’) MTHFR genetic mutation testing; that is, getting patients to test for “mutations” in the MTHFR gene via direct-to-consumer genetic testing, the results of which the quacks, hucksters and deluded woomeisters can then use to prescribe (inefficacious) dietary supplements supposed to ward off the purportedly deleterious effects of these “mutations”. It’s a bald-faced scam. According to Jill Carnahan, an MD who also holds a certification from the Institute for Functional Medicine, however, “this common genetic mutation [can affect] everything from depression and anxiety to risk of heart attack or stroke”. Carnahan, of course, has her own line of “Dr. Jill” brand dietary supplements for sale.


Given her credentials, it is not particularly surprising that Carnahan was quick to try to cynically monetize the Covid-19 pandemic with false and misleading claims about the pandemic clearly aimed to direct customers to her supplement store. According to Carnahan’s marketing materials from early 2020 (titled “Worried About Coronavirus? What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself”), “[s]upplements are one of the most potent ways to give your body a boost and drastically improve its ability to fight off infection,” and her list of relevant supplements helpfully included hyperlinks to her online store. Apparently, antioxidants was the key, as Carnahan saw it. One is probably forgiven, given the general standards among functional medicine practitioners, for suspecting that she just so happened to be in the possession some leftover inventory from back when antioxidants had its heyday as fashion supplement woo a decade ago. The FTC was not impressed.


Diagnosis: Trite as ever.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

#2644: Tucker Carlson

We’ll keep this relatively brief, but Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson is a political commentator, wingnut influencer, conspiracy theorist, anti-vaccine promoter, Media Matters 2022 Misinformer of the Year award winner, (sometimes) Trump sycophant (and key advisor), firm fan of Alex Jones, propagandist and at least arguably a fascist and white nationalist, famous from his (until recently) Fox News primetime show Tucker Carlson Tonight. He is also the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller. His rise to wingnut prominence is detailed here. He’s currently ditched by Fox, but we doubt he’ll go away completely. Our description of him should also be read in light of the possibility that his whole persona is merely an act.


Like many contemporary wingnuts, Carlson used to be at least somewhat oriented toward libertarianism, before moving into conspiracy theories, paranoia and martyr complexes, the Decline of America, authoritarianism and faux anti-elitism (elites being everyone he disagrees with, who then, by virtue of disagreeing with him, are united in aconspiracy – Carlson himself has by 2022 anet wealth of an estimated $420 million and his family is deeply politically connected – he’s a “millionaire funded bybillionaires”). His target elite is of course the other elites. Since facts tend to be stacked against him, Carlson is a supporter of political violence to get things the way he wants them to be, and he has been an outspoken supporter of the January 6 2021 riot.


It is always worth remembering that Fox News, in 2020, defended itself in a defamation lawsuit by arguing that Carlson cannot be trusted to provide accurate information on his show, and that the court actually judged, accordingly, that Carlson is not a credible source of news and is not “stating actual facts” on his show.


Misogyny and homoerotic anti-gay nonsense

A firm defender of G.O.D. gender roles, Carlson considers the idea of a woman paying for meals “disgusting” and is very upset by the fact that women are allowed to serve in the military. His views on women and gender roles, in his own words, are summarized here. He is also a consistent defender of Warren Jeffs.


His view of men and masculinity is juicier, however. In general, Carlson defends the type of macho ideal beloved by people like Putin, Orbán and Andrew Tate, and his style of macho idolizing often turns weird, as expressed e.g. in the trailer for his … documentary? … The End of Men, the premise of which was “the total collapse of testosterone levels in American men”. The trailer became known as one of the most strikingly homoerotic features on the internet, with hunky shirtless men wrestling and doing ‘manly’ things, as well as for Carlson’s laughably idiotic ‘treatment’ suggestion for the (unproven) ‘problem’ of low testosterone, namely red light therapy: apparently the means to become a High-Testosterone Manly-Man is testicle tanning using light woo (this one is particularly useful on the connection between homoerotic woo and the fascist currents in Carlson’s rightwing circles).


No fan of explicitly gay people, Carlson’s has for instance expressed his dislike of California’s pro-LGBT curriculum: “It’s all part of an effort to force kids to approve of homosexuality.” He is also firmly opposed to gun safety, seatbelt laws and the “inelegant” and “creepy metric system.


Carlson on race

Carlson has, for a while, been one of the most significant promoters of white nationalist rhetoric. Much of it is familiar stuff, such as claiming that California is becoming a third world country  because of Latin American migrants or that Ilhan Omar isliving proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country”, but Carlson has also promoted “The Great Replacement” theory (indeed, he has explicitly denied promoting it, explicitly promoted it by name, and then claimed that he has never heard of it while simultaneously accusing “the left” of pushing it – all depending on what’s convenient at the moment). He has for instance repeatedly claimed that Mexico has interfered in American elections more successfully than Russia by “packing our electorate; indeed, the Democratic party is in generaltrying to replace the current electorate” with “more obedient voters from the Third World”. “If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there. So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter,” said Carlson.


Meanwhile, he has described white supremacy as a hoax and “a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power”.


Foreign policy

Carlson is, as mentioned, a huge fan of Putin, and he consistently defended Russia’s military actions at least throughout early 2022 (“Why wouldn’t we be on Russia’s side?”) – but also after: Even after February 2022, Carlson has been opposed to any sort of assistance to Ukraine, and he has regurgitated Kremlin propaganda on numerous occasions and whined that pundits and politicians who were demanding strong action against Russia are “pathetic” “Twitter trolls” spewing “ad hominem” attacks against Vladimir Putin. He has also concocted and promoted various conspiracy theories about the war, e.g. that “Ukrainian interests have pumped millions of lobbying dollars into Washington, D.C.” to “tell us that Russia is bad” and the ridiculously silly delusion that the US is supporting bioweapons labs in Ukraine based on rumors propagated without evidence or any anchoring in reality by infamous Russian propaganda outlets and filtered through Russian bots on Qanon discussion sites. When retired U.S. Army Col. Douglas MacGregor, a delusional fringe wingnut, falsely said, on Carlson’s show, that Putin’s government “rests on the foundation of Orthodox Christianity” and that “we should celebrate that, not try to destroy it,” Carlson responded: “Maybe that’s one of the reasons we are trying to destroy it?


When Putin declared two regions of Ukraine to be “independent states” and authorized Russian forces to be deployed to the region as “peacekeepers”, Carlson rushed to his defense, with an impressive array of whataboutism tactics (we got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?) and why does Ukraine have “a God-given right to territorial integrity” when we have “Hondurans invading Texas”?) and pointing out Putin’s positive character traits: “Has Putin ever called me a racist? ... Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years?Carlson’s pro-Russia propaganda has been widely broadcast and circulated in Russia.


Carlson’s bromances are not Putin-exclusive, though, but encompasses Hungary’s Viktor Orbán as well. An advocate for Orbán’s “STOP Soros” act, Carlson even made a documentary, Hungary vs. Soros, where he depicted Hungary as a traditional conservative Christian paradise threatened by, well, George Soros, as well as promoting relatively overt racism. The documentary was widely circulated in Hungary. Carlson has also praised the Chinese government as “virtuous” for intervening in its citizens’ private lives and placing restrictions on gaming and celebrity culture and argued that the Biden administration should do the same because, apparently, freedom – government overreach is overreach only when Carlson doesn’t get to decide how such overreach is employed.


By contrast to the Russian, Hungarian or Chinese governments, Carlson has accused other countries’ leaderships of authoritarianism; according to Carlson “there’s no more fearful despot in the world”, one that is more dictatorial, than Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and in February 2022 he suggested that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “a dictator who’s friends with everyone in Washington.”


January 6 riots

A vocal defender of the January 6 riot (he got Ted Cruz to apologize for calling it a “terrorist attack”), Carlson has repeatedly asserted (falsely) thatthere’s no evidence that white supremacists were responsible for what happened on January 6.”. He has also promoted (based largely on the ideas of Darren Beattie of Revolver News) the conspiracy theory that the Capitol storming was a false flag” FBI operation intended to “suppress political dissent” and that unindicted co-conspirators in rioters’ indictments were government agents, saying that FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents”.


In October 2021, many of the conspiracy theories were collected in the three-part overtly fascist series Patriot Purge, produced by Carlson and co-written with pizzagate conspiracy theorist Scooter Downey, which for instance suggested that the January 6 attack was a government false flag operation to implicate the rightwing. Carlson stated on-air that the government had “launched a new war” on American citizens and characterized his own series as “rock-solid factually”. Needless to mention, the claims in the series have no connections to facts, and even rightwing commentators decried the series as “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions” (though at least Fox itself ultimately bowed, however).


And not only is Carlson an ardent promoter of stop-the-steal misinformation (he has actually, in connection with idiot Kari Lake’s election fraud accusations in Arizona, put the stop-the-steal activist relationship with evidence rather succinctly: the only proof there isn’t election fraud in Arizona is if the Republican wins), he has also tried to question the Watergate scandal – how could it be, wondered Carlson, that Nixon won the 1972 election by the “biggest margin ever” (false, of course) and then “within a year he was disgraced, and six months later he was gone.” That, thinks Carlson, is something “no one can still explain even to this day”. Because if he doesn’t want to grasp basic facts, then no one can grasp them – which, by the way, is also his go-to strategy when it comes to climate change:


Climate change denialism

One of Carlson’s most recognizable features is his trademark uncomprehending expression when he e.g. fails to understand basic science and, because of his failure to understand, plumps for the denialist position, as he does e.g. on global warming. The Carlson incomprehending look is also his main strategy for undermining the scientific evidence e.g. when confronted with basic facts – yes, it’s the argument from incredulity on steroids: prideful ignorance, and it works.


Covid misinformation (but of course)

Usually an opponent of face masks, which he does not understand, Carlson has claimed that mask mandates is the equivalent to living in North Korea. The point of the comparison was somewhat unclear, as Carlson was adamant that he didn’t mind authoritarianism, something he promptly emphasized by suggesting that parents who have their children wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic were actually committing child abuse, and urging his viewers to call the police on such parents because parents’ choice applies only when parents choose what Carlson tells them to choose. Carlson’s opposition to facemasks is not particularly consistent, however, as it keeps changing depending on what Democrats are saying about the subject – indeed, Carlson’s judgment of the severity of Covid-19 has been rather inconsistent, depending mostly on what his allies and enemies, respectively, are saying at any moment.


Carlson has otherwise promoted a vast array of silly conspiracy theories about COVID, including variants of the lab leak theory (China has “blood on its hands) (yes, it’s still a conspiracy theory, especially in the variants promoted by Carlson) and – of course – accusing Anthony Fauci of contributing to the creation of the virus or, citing e.g. conspiracy theorist Nicolas Wade’s evidence-free speculations, even of being “the guy who created Covid. And he has, of course, touted the imaginary benefits of the anti-parasite medication ivermectin as a possible COVID-19 treatment; which it most certainly is not.


Carlson has frequently invited (and parroted the claims of) Covid-denialists and conspiracy theorists, including Alex Berenson, onto his show to spout misinformation; Carlson even offered to fund Berenson’s lawsuit against Twitter after the latter had correctly banned his account for Covid-19 misinformation.


Anti-vaccine propaganda

Carlson’s descent into regular promotion of anti-vaccine propaganda started – of course – with JAQing off about the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting thatmaybe it doesn’t work” and displaying a total misunderstanding of the public health guidelines for fully vaccinated people in the process (“If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives? […] So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. […] What’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one” – the key phrase being of course ‘can’t think of one’), as well as cherry picking data, distorting and misrepresenting studies, and demonstrating that he does not understand the concepts of causality or control groups – yes, Carlson tried to fear-monger using the fact that some people coincidentally died within a month after receiving the vaccine, which is of course expected when millions of people get the vaccine, and he did of course not consider comparing that group to people who weren’t vaccinated. Meanwhile, businesses requiring people be vaccinated were “medical Jim Crow” and vaccine mandates in the U.S. Armed Forces are designed to oustthe sincere Christians in the ranks, the free thinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anyone else who doesn't love Joe Biden”.


He has also claimed that the COVID vaccine gave us “the single deadliest mass vaccination event in modern history” (based on figures dreamt up in various antivaccine blog posts) and compared vaccine requirements to Nazi and Imperial Japanese Army medical experimentation because he, as already demonstrated and like antivaxxers in general, doesn’t understand what an experiment is or what it means to be experimental, which is of course the confusion that lies at the core of the antivaxx rambling murderlustful wet dream about a Nuremberg 2 (Carlson’s guest about the latter was the absolutely rabidly insane antivaccine conspiracy theorist Robert Malone). And to give you the full flavor of Carlson’s level of dishonesty, you can check out his attacks on CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization practices here – or his stunningly dishonest reporting about an alleged “revelation” that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine phase 3 trials didn’t test its ability to block transmission: a “cover-up”, according to Carlson. Hopefully we don’t need to explain to readers here how laughably idiotic that take is. More recently, he has latched onto the antivaccine “#DiedSuddenly” campaign, which – as antivaxxers have always done – tries to blame any death or illness experienced by anyone (such as Damar Hamlin) on zeh vaccine, with no evidence or plausibility whatosever


And Carlson’s antivaccine views are not limited to the COVID-19 vaccines, but expands to vaccines in general; Carlson has for instance promoted the work of anti-vaccine leader Robert Kennedy, jr., including the latter’s book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (Children's Health Defense).


And yes, he has, like any good anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, invoked the VAERS database, deliberately misunderstanding how it works.


There’s a decent Tucker Carlson resource here.


Diagnosis: Lots of people think, incredible as that may sound, that he has some good points, and just assume that his claims about reality actually have anything to do with reality. Some among his audience also thinks he is pretty smart; and in fact: that may very well be the case – Carlson is a post-truther and a bullshitter, and he really just doesn’t care about whether his claims are correct or not as long as they serve the narrative he wants to tell. But that is on its own enough to make him a loon – one of the most influential and dangerous not only in the US but in the world today.


Hat-tip: rationalwiki