In his latest Fox News rant, Tucker Carlson unleashed a tirade—in a supposed reaction to the latest news about Empire actor Jussie Smollett—in which he accused activists of “making up” hate crimes because the U.S. is “just not a very hateful place.”
“The problem is there aren't that many hate crimes occurring in the country,” the pundit said Friday on Tucker Carlson Tonight. “So, instead, reporters take their numbers wholesale from partisan activists who pose as researchers, or from wholly fraudulent organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center. These groups use moral panics to gin up fund-raising, they get rich doing it, so, of course, they continue.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, to be clear, monitors hate groups throughout the U.S. and reports those activities to the media and law enforcement. The SPLC released a report last week showing that the number of active hate groups in the U.S. have surged to 1,020, a 20-year high, and that extremists today—including black nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-confederate—prefer “polo shirts and khakis to Klan robes.”
The latest FBI statistics from 2017 show that 2,040 law enforcement agencies all over the country that year reported 7,175 hate crime incidents involving 8,437 offenses.
Those numbers didn't appear to figure into Carlson's world view.
“It's just not a very hateful place, so they have to make them up,” Carlson said. “How do they do that? They do it, and this is key, by counting accusations as crimes. An accusation is not the same thing as a crime, it's not even close.”
Carlson claimed that the message—from The New York Times and others—surrounding Smollett’s allegations of a hate-crime was “shut up and believe it, or else you’re a bad person, if not clinically insane.”
Smollett made international headlines last week when he claimed he was injured in a homophobic and racist attack. After a passionate week of punditry and fighter-pointing, Smollett was arrested on Thursday morning on suspicion of filing a false police report. Chicago police claim the alleged attack against him was, in reality, a “publicity stunt” devised over a desire for a better salary.
Police have alleged that Smollett planned to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
In the end, Carlson said, “the few people who are willing to think for themselves turned out to be absolutely right, and the press is scrambling to explain how exactly did that happen. How could reporters who are literally paid to be skeptical have fallen for such an obvious lie?”
He added, “This is the new official story, the one you are going to be hearing for a long time, the one your kids will be learning about in school, and it's this: a specific hate crime may not have happened in this case, but hate crimes overall are incredibly common, and the incidence of them is rising.”
“The problem with what you just heard is it's a crock, it's totally false,” Carlson continued. “In fact, it's provably untrue. Anyone who says otherwise, like the people you just heard, is either intentionally misleading you, or doesn't understand the numbers—and that would include most journalists. Type in the phrase ‘hate crimes’ into Google and you will see story after story claiming that thousands of these atrocities take place every year in our country and the incidence of them is rising.
“In real life, hate crimes are rare,” he concluded.