Tucker Carlson Clueless Down Under. By David Evans.
Tucker Carlson said some wildly incorrect things about Australia and New Zealand in his monologue last night. He didn’t just omit relevant information to create a wrong impression, he told technical, outright, blatant falsehoods as well. Easily checkable stuff. He has misinformed his viewers.
You decide. Here is his monologue:
Let’s start with his biggest, most easily-checkable untruth:
TC (6:55): In Australia the government has implemented total lockdowns nationwide, and then imposed martial law to enforce those lockdowns.
Martial law is the temporary imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government. Currently in Australia, the governments at all levels are functioning normally, under civilian control, as they have continuously for over a century. The military remain happily under the direction of civilian politicians, as always.
So, there is no martial law here in Australia. Which rather sucks the force out of Tucker’s monofantasy.
In Sydney (only), the Army has lent the police a few hundred unarmed soldiers to help with enforcing lockdown rules. Ohhh, is that all.
This isn’t the first time Tucker has aired this calumny. He’s said “Australia” is under “martial law” on at least two other occasions in the last two weeks.
“Total lockdowns nationwide” is also untrue. Currently there are lockdowns in two Australian states, NSW and Victoria (which have almost 15 of Australia’s 25 million people). A third, Queensland, has some major restrictions but they are lifting.
Sydney is currently undergoing Australia’s largest covid outbreak to date — over 800 people per day infected on each of the last three days. This outbreak stemmed from one limousine driver, after covid leaked through quarantine in Sydney in June. It spread because it is the extra infectious delta variant, because the NSW Government was too slow to apply a lockdown to contain it, and because some Sydney-siders are flouting the lockdown rules. It has spread from Sydney to much of NSW, and to some other states. Melbourne is now experiencing a major outbreak from the Sydney infection (50 cases per day), but the other infected states have eliminated it again with short sharp lockdowns.
So no, the lockdowns in Australia are not nationwide Tucker, and haven’t been since mid 2020.
Nor are lockdowns frequent in Australia. For example, here in Western Australia in the last year there have been three lockdowns, of three, four, and five days (essential work only, no school, supermarkets open but general stores closed, and masks). That’s a total of 12 days of lockdown out of the last 365. For the other 353 days there were no restrictions — except for a minority of the time there were various size limits on gatherings and crowds.
For most of the last year, in Western Australia — and the rest of Australia except Melbourne, which had a 120 day lockdown in 2020 because they were slow to lockdown — life has been normal. Like before the pandemic, except you cannot travel outside Australia and New Zealand without special exemption, and planning events or travel is problematic because of the occasional snap lockdowns. No covid, no masks, no restrictions — you are free to visit friends, go to church or the football, go shopping, etc. as normal. Like at the moment, and for the last few months here in Western Australia.
TC (5:57): A single covid case in New Zealand — not a death from covid, but a case of covid — has shut down the entire country.
How many infections would you wait for before shutting down, Tucker? Two? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? A million? How many deaths would stir you to action? By shutting down early, the fewest infections occur and the shorter the lockdown. The strategy here is to eliminate covid from New Zealand (again), so life can go on with the least sickness and the least disruption.
You laugh at the woman with the “big teeth” Tucker, but she has led her country to a position some in your country might envy: no covid, little disruption, buying time until a medical solution arrives and everyone can reopen.
20 months of covid is long enough to compare national covid strategies. Here’s the sickness and death score to last week:
|Known infections as % of population||Deaths||Deaths as % of population|
The first four countries closed their borders and used short lockdowns to eliminate the virus. The last four counties did not close their borders, choosing instead to endure long lockdowns of varying severity to prevent hospitals from overcrowding. The difference in outcome is striking, isn’t it?
Country of the woman with the “big teeth”: 26 deaths. Tucker’s country: 643,112 deaths. Stop whinging Tucker.
(The situation is changing however. The delta strain is more infectious and discipline is breaking down, as the pandemic drags on and vaccination proceeds apace. NSW in Australia, and Vietnam, are both losing control and probably can’t or won’t now return to zero covid.)
How about the economic score?
Australia’s GDP is already larger than pre-pandemic (third); the US is still lagging (9th). I couldn’t find a chart that includes the other countries that closed their borders to covid, but Taiwan would top the chart.
(7:49) One recent report described a 27 year old fugitive. Was he a masked killer? No. He had dared to venture outside of his apartment complex. For doing that, for leaving the building, the media showed surveillance footage of the man entering an elevator and then — brace yourselves — sneezing without covering his face. There was no one else in the elevator at the time. For that, there is now a nationwide manhunt underway, an arrest warrant for this man has just been issued. We’re not making this up. … (9:12) A nationwide manhunt for a guy who sneezed alone in an elevator.
More calumnies. What did Tucker omit? Is there really a “nationwide manhunt” for a man because he sneezed in an elevator or went outside? Who would believe such nonsense?
The man’s name is Anthony Karam. He has covid and is infectious, but refuses to isolate — so he is endangering others. His arrest warrant is because he “failed to isolate as directed by the Public Health Order”. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said “This 27-year-old chap who apparently has expressed the view that he doesn’t care less whether he spread the virus is one example of the worst of the worst.”
TC: (9:16) No one in Australia is laughing at this. No one can stand back far enough to see the lunacy on display. They’re too far gone.
See table and chart above. Who’s laughing?
TC: (11:00) “What law did I break?” you heard the protestor ask, as he’s been beaten and handcuffed.
Tucker misleads by omitting context. Some of the protestors were looking for a fight:
Police said in a statement the majority of the estimated 4,000 demonstrators “came with violence in mind”.
“The behaviour seen by police was so hostile and aggressive that they were left with no choice but to use all tactics available to them,” the statement said.
Footage posted on social media showed protesters cheering, throwing objects at police officers and letting off flares as well as police pepper-spraying protesters. …
Victoria police said they had made 218 arrests and that six officers were hospitalised during a series of altercations.
I’ll bet there are many in the US who would have loved to see such determined police action against Antifa in the violent BLM riots last year.
Nor did the Victorian Police put the arrested protestors in jail, unlike say the prisoners languishing in a nasty Washington lockup since January 6, awaiting trial for what amounts to their political views and trespassing.
From the feedback I get, most Australians are more annoyed at the anti-lockdown protestors and those who are flouting the lockdown rules, because (1) they extend the lockdowns, and (2) they endanger us.
Guest Matt Walsh: (11:58) When it comes to Australia, there is something poetic about seeing the country come full circle and back around to being a prison colony again, which is basically what it is there. TC: Yes, exactly.
A “prison colony”? Really? Is this what passes for insightful political commentary nowadays? Tell you what, why don’t you interview some celebrities who have visited Australia recently and ask them if they think it’s a “prison colony”? Maybe try Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Caitlyn Jenner, or Chris Hemsworth.
Hint: Here’s an article from March in the NYT: In Australia, Hollywood Stars Have Found an Escape From the Virus. Who’s Jealous?
Dozens of international film productions have been lured to the country, where cases of the coronavirus are few. In turn, actors have found almost paradise.
MattWalsh: If the people will tolerate it, then the people in charge of the country will do it.
Actually the people are rewarding it with their approval at elections Tucker. Democracy at work. At the recent March election, the leader here in Western Australia, Premier Mark McGowan, was reelected in a landslide with a 14% swing. The opposition in the local Parliament, who had been talking about lifting restrictions at Western Australian borders even while there was some covid in eastern Australia, was reduced to a small rump. We want to be safe, at a reasonable cost. We merely shut the borders, and use elimination lockdowns when the inevitable quarantine leaks occur. We thus buy time, learning from others how to treat the virus, waiting for vaccines.
Let’s talk about borders, Tucker. A real country has borders, and Australia closes them to covid — just like Hungary closes its borders to illegal immigrants.
A border that is closed to covid is also closed to illegal immigrants. Quarantine determines who or what can come in. What a different place the US would be today — and maybe more so in a few elections’ time — if it had closed its borders. The US political right missed a huge chance to close the borders on health grounds. They didn’t even say anything in public. Tragedy.
UPDATE: Now Tucker is a bright guy, and on US politics he is superb. As a US reader wrote,
I don’t think Tucker did this with malice. I want to believe he had a blind spot. He may be averse to shutdowns. They did not work so well here, and they were abusively long. During our shutdowns, it had the feeling of living in a dictatorship, particularly from our Democrats.
Tucker is reacting to his US situation, presumably. He is projecting onto Australia what he wants to see. However the US situation is fundamentally different, because after about April 2020 elimination of covid from the US was never an easy option. Australia and New Zealand had that option, and took it in late March 2020 — closed the borders, then applied shortish elimination lockdowns that worked.
Tucker’s knowledge of Australia is obviously too superficial. It’s obvious to me as an Australian that there is no martial law here, but maybe not so obvious to his US research team. (Maybe someone can pass this along to Tucker Carlson’s research team, to let them know how badly they missed the mark on this story.)