CNBC anchor John Harwood on Friday led off a segment of his business news program with a controversial segment that aired on Fox News Channel.
Harwood said that Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, is “best known for having invented” the hepatitis C test.
Harwood went on to say that Collins “set up clinical trials” that treated the bacteria with steroids.
The anchor went on to say that the antibiotics “on steroids” allegedly contributed to the deaths of 25,000 soldiers during World War II, referring to the internment of Japanese-Americans.
Collins vehemently denied the allegations and called for an investigation.
It’s unclear exactly what Harwood was referring to, but Collins’ achievements have recently come under question after it was revealed that his book Do No Harm, on which Collins’ academic career was built, contained a list of U.S. military personnel who were isolated in Nazi concentration camps for their own health — a list that is now rescinded.
“What is clear is that Collins and his colleagues have tried to cover up just how dangerous these experiments were,” Harwood said.
It’s also unclear whether Collins’ alleged theories ever harmed anyone.
The blacklist of U.S. troops from Collins’ list was retracted several years ago, according to an article published in the Smithsonian Institute’s catalog of medical journals.
Collins began as the director of NIH in 2006.
The network seemed to take offense at the segment.
On Twitter, Fox News host Tucker Carlson tweeted that Harwood “completely lost the plot” and the segment is “DISGUSTING.”
Actress and Fox News contributor Dita Von Teese also tweeted that it was “just appalling.”
CNN and other organizations also criticized the segment on social media.
“This cannot be accepted in any way as a serious news report,” wrote Vox.com’s Ari Berman.
If Collins was to be prosecuted or sued, it wouldn’t be the first time a media figure has faced legal problems over comments deemed to have been inappropriately on-air.
Last year, The New York Times reported that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was paid an additional $32 million after he settled lawsuits with women who accused him of sexual harassment or lewd conduct.
John Harwood replied to Perez’s criticism:
John Harwood – who is leading off a new segment on CNBC on the man who invented a virus that caused people to die – FNIH director Francis Collins – you — Ari Berman (@AriBerman) May 11, 2018
This is the man who responded to the outrage after the retraction of Francis Collins’ list of Japanese-American captives. pic.twitter.com/K3uVIcT3VI — Andy Q. Wood (@AndyQWood) May 11, 2018
John Harwood on cancer: “I want to remember those at the bottom of the pits. I want them to have somebody to blame.” — Dita Von Teese (@DitaVonTeese) May 11, 2018
Of course John Harwood is just another unfunny #speechsofal @NBCNews upperclassman who is trying to glom onto the right-wing pecking order to pad his own college education. — Dana Franceschi (@danafraiseschi) May 11, 2018
It is remarkable that CNBC has TV personalities get their news from @nbc @cnn and @cnni @FoxNews and @CNN, they deserve more fair access. — Jay Leno (@jayleno) May 11, 2018