Tucker Carlson is a privileged white rich boy who got his start in media only because of his father’s extensive connections — Richard Warner Carlson is a former Los Angeles news anchor and U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles who was also president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of Voice of America. He used his Fox News aka Trump TV show Tucker Carlson Tonight, dubbed the “White Power Hour” mockingly by liberal bloggers as well as admiringly by white supremacists (an homage to a KKK TV show from the late 1970s), to assert that White Supremacy Is a ‘Hoax’ and ‘Not a Real Problem in America’. No, really:
Three days after a Texas man allegedly killed 22 people in El Paso after apparently posting a manifesto complaining of a “Hispanic invasion,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said white supremacy is not a problem in the United States and is actually a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory.”
Carlson, who regularly spouts the same anti-immigrant “invasion” rhetoric the El Paso shooter is believed to have espoused in a racist manifesto, hit back against those who say President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration may have emboldened the suspected shooter. The Fox News star claimed it is “just a lie” to say Trump ever “endorsed white supremacy or came close to endorsing white supremacy.”
Brandon Friedman, a columnist for the NY Daily News posted on Twitter:
Crediting the president for condemning white supremacy while addressing the recent mass shootings, Carlson not only blasted critics of the president but took it a step further and dismissed the issue of white supremacy altogether, saying “the whole thing is a lie.”
“If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy of concerns, problems this country has, where would white supremacy be on the list? Right up there with Russia probably. It’s actually not a real problem in America.”
After asserting that one could fit all the white supremacists in America within a football stadium, the Fox News primetime star—who has repeatedly claimed racism is essentially a non-existent problem— then mocked the idea of white supremacy being an issue in this country.
“It’s a hoax,” he declared. “Just like the Russia hoax, it’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”
Moments later, during an interview with frequent guest Victor Davis Hanson, Carlson insisted he’s “never met anybody—not one person—who ascribes to white supremacy.”
“I don’t know a single person who thinks that’s a good idea,” he added.
It turns out that white supremacists are Tucker Carlson fanboys and they believe that he is a white supremacist. Meet your biggest fans, Tucker. Why white supremacists love Tucker Carlson:
Carlson’s rise to stardom has also earned him the attention of another group: white supremacists. Richard Spencer celebrated O’Reilly’s replacement, arguing Carlson showed an “open-mindedness” to white supremacist ideas that O’Reilly didn’t. Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke frequently tweets praise of Tucker’s show. And the white supremacist website Daily Stormer has called Carlson “literally our greatest ally.”
White supremacists’ affection for Carlson has a lot to do with the way he talks about immigrants. Unlike other conservative pundits, who focus their anti-immigration rhetoric on illegal immigration, Carlson spent the first few months of his show depicting both legal and undocumented immigrants as potentially dangerous criminals. He’s gone after Mexicans, Muslims, and refugees, often cherry-picking stories of immigrant crime and inviting anti-immigrant extremists to depict “foreigners” as threatening invaders.
Carlson’s immigrants-are-criminals shtick is just part of his broader rejection of multiculturalism, which he sees as a threat to “European culture” and “Western civilization.” That kind of language is eerily similar to that of white supremacists, who use similar coded speech to argue that immigrants are a threat to white America. And it suggests that Carlson’s anti-immigrant rhetoric isn’t actually about immigration — it’s about teaching the largest audience in cable news to view difference as dangerous.
Meanwhile, users on 4chan and 8chan have praised Carlson since the shooting, arguing that the Fox host was taking his talking points from their message boards, which have been hot spots for white supremacy.
On August 6, discussing the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Carlson claimed that the issue of white supremacy was “a hoax” and “not a real problem in America.” Carlson made these claims even though the shooter’s manifesto featured talking points ripped from Carlson’s own show.
4chan and 8chan are known for hosting white nationalists. 8chan in particular has links to multiple shooters, including the alleged El Paso shooter. Users of these forums have discussed Carlson regularly — and Carlson in turn has spoken up in their defense. A Media Matters analysis found that Carlson has been mentioned by the chans 19,808 times just in 2019 so far, 2,914 of which were on 8chan.
Carlson’s white nationalist support extends beyond the chans. Earlier this year, leaked chat messages from the white supremacist group formerly known as Identity Evropa showed members lauding Carlson and also hoping he runs for president. Carlson is also a favorite of neo-Nazi websites, white supremacist podcasts, and members of what used to be referred to as the “alt-right.”
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan points out the obvious: Tucker Carlson’s claim that white supremacy is a hoax is easy to prove wrong. Just watch his show.
In his ongoing and remarkably successful quest to be the worst of the Fox News nighttime hosts, Tucker Carlson hit a new low on his Tuesday show.
White supremacy, he claimed, isn’t a real problem in America: “This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax. It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.” (Let’s set aside, for a moment, the truth that the Russian attacks on America’s voting integrity, in order to help Donald Trump become president, are anything but a hoax, as the Mueller Report made abundantly clear.)
And, Carlson insisted, he has empirical evidence: “I’ve lived here 50 years and I’ve never met anybody, not one person who ascribes to white supremacy,” he said, adding, “I don’t know a single person who thinks that’s a good idea.”
Hmmm. Maybe his sample size is a bit flawed.
Anyway, Carlson’s wrong. Here’s the dictionary definition of white supremacy: The belief that white people are superior to people of other races and therefore should be dominant over them.
It’s undeniably one of the core tenets of the opinion-mongers at Fox News — and of some portion of its supposedly straight news coverage, too. (Remember the network’s feverish attention to “the caravan” of migrants moving northward toward the United States — and how abruptly that coverage faded after it was no longer useful as a Republican talking point in the 2018 midterms?)
Understand: I’m not suggesting that Carlson or his Fox colleagues are stashing their Klan robes in the newsroom closet. They may not display the most obvious and virulent strain of white supremacy or belong to organizations dedicated to the cause or pick up assault weapons and destroy innocent lives, as the El Paso gunman allegedly did on Saturday. (Remember, his 2,300-word screed — let’s not dignify it with the term “manifesto” — stated: “This attack is a response to Hispanic invasion of Texas.”)
Note to Ms Sullivan: Today’s white supremacists no longer feel the need to hide their faces behind a white sheet, they wear a suit and tie and proudly profess their racism openly and brazenly, because they have their own white supremacist media to amplify and reinforce their racist beliefs as “normal” in the Epistemic closure of the ‘conservative misinformation feedback loop’ media bubble. This is the awesome destructive power of Fox News aka Trump TV.
Nevertheless, Carlson’s nightly show does a great deal to portray nonwhites as the dangerous “other,” a force to be beaten back to save America.
His denials and rhetoric must be called out for the lies that they are.
Consider his and his Fox colleagues’ insistence on using the word “invasion” to describe migrants coming to America — generally people of color from countries south of the border.
Here’s what a recent Media Matters study found about the use of that term so far this year on Fox News: There have been more than 70 on-air references to an invasion of migrants; there have been at least 55 clips of President Trump calling migrants an invasion. And Carlson himself spoke of the United States being invaded nine times, including “This is an invasion, and it’s terrifying.”
More from Media Matters, You don’t need to read the El Paso killer’s manifesto. Just turn on Fox News. (with a video mashup of Fox hosts).
Carlson’s colleague Brian Kilmeade argued: “If you use the term ‘an invasion,’ that’s not anti-Hispanic. It’s a fact.”
No, it’s racist propaganda.
In a special report, Ari Melber breaks down the history of the dangerous “invasion” and “replacement” rhetoric referred to by many white-nationalists.
As Ben Zimmer wrote recently in The Atlantic, exploring the ugly history of the term: “The American brand of nativism has long relied on menacing images of immigrant invaders. The ‘invasion’ trope has gone hand in hand with similar metaphors of contamination and infestation.”
Or, as Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith put it: “By likening people to insects or vermin, even if he considers them criminals, [Trump] provides himself license to be an exterminator. We know that story.”
Recognizing the white supremacy at work here does not deny that there is a real need for sensible, humanitarian immigration reform, including aid to the countries from which immigrants are fleeing as they try desperately to find a better life. Nor does it translate to support for open borders.
I really don’t know what drives Carlson to be so hate-filled and divisive. Is it all about ginning up ratings by playing to audience prejudices, rage and fear of “replacement” by immigrants?
Does he really believe what he says? Is he an egalitarian, tolerant fellow in his heart of hearts?
The cause of this damaging rhetoric doesn’t matter. But the results certainly do.
The Fox-Trump feedback loop constantly reinforces the notion that black and brown people are to be feared and despised — whether they are in “rat-infested” cities like Baltimore, as Trump would have it, or at the Mexico-Texas border.
Tucker Carlson has become one of the most high-profile perpetrators of this appalling and divisive message, one constantly amplified by the president.
So if Carlson thinks he hasn’t met a single white supremacist, he might want to take a searching look in the mirror.
You’ve been owned, Tucker.