White Supremacy Has Its Coming Out Party, and Tucker Carlson Is There
The top-rated cable news show doesn’t actually make money, but that’s not stopping the Murdochs from standing behind it as its host openly embraces the racist “replacement theory.”
Dear white supremacists and racists, congratulations!
You can finally emerge from the shadows. This week firmly established that you no longer need to hate from the margins and fringes. You have found Valhalla, a thriving, lucrative, and loving kingdom within the conservative establishment where your racism and hateful conspiracy theories are embraced by the modern GOP. Just look upon Fox News host, multimillionaire, and privileged frozen food heir Tucker Carlson using his influential platform to literally parrot all of your white supremacist talking points.
For readers who are not of the genocidal and xenophobic persuasion, and who have the good sense or luck not to follow Fox News, allow me to catch you up to speed:
Recently, Carlson promoted “the replacement theory,” the hateful conspiracy that believes Jews are part of an international cabal that seeks to weaken and “replace” white people and Western civilization with immigrants of color. It’s the same conspiracy theory that continues to motivate terrorists around the world, including Robert Bowers, who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh right before the 2018 midterm elections. He wanted to punish the Jews for helping to let the “invaders” into America. A few months later, Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. He left behind a manifesto entitled, “The Great Replacement,” in which he praises Trump as a “symbol of white supremacy” with whom he shares a “common purpose.” Tarrant wanted to punish the Muslim “invaders.”
It seems these terrorists shared a “common purpose” with Carlson, who repeated the central claims of the replacement theory on his show last week, warning of “Third World” invaders coming to America “to replace the current electorate” and “dilute the political power of the people who live there.” These are the subtle talking points of white supremacists and anti-immigrant extremists. We know because they said so. VDARE, an extremist white nationalist group, praised Carlson’s xenophobic segment as “one of the best things Fox News has ever aired” and bragged that his rant “was filled with ideas and talking points VDARE.com pioneered many years ago.” Walking mediocrity and habitually wrong conspiracy theorist, Charlie Kirk of Turning Points USA—the “alt light” platform for young conservatives—also praised Carlson and his inaccurate and racist rant as “factual and true.” Even before this segment, Andrew Anglin, one of America’s most prominent white supremacists, has referred to Carlson as “literally our greatest ally.”
Validation like this from the far right is now predictable, but Carlson and other Fox News hosts were kept in check when they went off the rails with their egregious racism. Two years ago, Carlson was forced to go on “vacation” after he said white supremacy is “a hoax” and “not a real problem” just days after a terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, where the shooter, inspired by Tarrant, cited the “replacement theory” as his motivation. He wanted to punish Hispanic “invaders.”
That was then.
In 2021, white supremacy is welcomed and endorsed with open arms. Over the weekend, Carlson received validation from his boss, Fox News CEO Lachlan Murdoch, who is committed to continuing his father’s legacy of villainy. Responding to ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt’s call to fire Carlson, Murdoch assured Greenblatt, “Fox Corporation shares your values and abhors anti-semitism, white supremacy and racism of any kind,” and he proved it by supporting his racist host who promoted an anti-Semitic, white supremacist, racist conspiracy theory. Murdoch’s defense included gaslighting the world: “White replacement theory? No, no, this was a voting rights question.”
This bait and switch of course refers to the GOP’s latest blatant and shameless attempt to honor the legacy of Jim Crow and disenfranchise Black voters in Georgia and other battleground states to ensure minority rule of white conservative Christians. The right-wing commitment and allegiance to white supremacy is so overwhelming that it trumps even money and long-existing, mutually beneficial relationships. This is evident by their stunning and hypocritical attacks on “woke corporations,” whom they recently believed were fellow “people” with First Amendment rights that allow them to give unlimited dark money to help the GOP win elections.
Now? Corporations are a malicious force of liberal values that must be punished and beaten into submission, all because they decided it’s more lucrative and beneficial to their bottom line to publicly oppose the GOP’s racist voter suppression efforts.
We can’t chalk up Murdoch’s defense of Carlson’s racism on money alone considering his show has lost most of its big-name advertisers over the past few years. It seems that Fox News, and the GOP at large, simply agree with the hate their employees and representatives are selling. For example, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted out a white supremacist talking point and gave a keynote address at a white supremacist convention in February. He also promotes the replacement theory. The GOP leadership has yet to condemn him. Anti-Semite, awkward pull-ups enthusiast, and fellow replacement theory advocate Marjorie Taylor Greene doubles down on her crazy almost every day. Over half the GOP gave her a standing ovation before Democrats voted to strip her of her committee assignments.
Even conservative authors and aspiring politicians like JD Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, supported Carlson after his toxic rant, tweeting that he’s the “only powerful figure who consistently challenges elite dogma - on both cultural and economic questions.” Apparently, you’re now “elite” if you oppose hateful, dangerous conspiracy theories that inspire terrorists. Got it. This is rich coming from Vance, an elitist venture capitalist who went to Yale and whose memoir has been criticized as a reductive Trojan horse for conservative talking points but is still seen by some as mandatory reading to understand the alleged “economic anxiety” of conservative Trump voters.
When people show you who they are and what groups and conspiracies they support over and over again, believe them. Or, better yet, maybe it’s time for America to finally believe people of color who have said for decades that it’s predominantly racism and racial anxiety, not economic anxiety, that has motivated most the GOP and their recent embrace of Trump.
Further proof of this phenomenon was revealed in a recent study of the violent insurrectionists who took over the U.S. Capitol and tried to cancel the 2020 election results. They weren’t poor or down-trodden. Instead, 95 percent of them were white people who were suffering primarily from racial anxiety and hailed “from places where non-White populations are growing fastest.” It seems they too share a common purpose with white supremacist terrorists: the fear of “the great replacement.”
Ultimately, this hate doesn’t exist in the cocoon of partisan politics. This hate has a cost and spills over onto our streets. The mainstreaming of white supremacist talking points comes at our expense, often paid in blood. New data revealed that the number of domestic terrorism incidents peaked in 2020, a surge not seen in over a quarter-century, driven mostly by white supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right. US intelligence agencies are repeatedly warning us that we must confront white supremacist terrorism, which is the No. 1 domestic terror threat in America. Meanwhile, the right wing refuses to acknowledge the extremist threat within its ranks and instead warns us about manufactured bogeyman like “cancel culture” and treats Black Lives Matter as an existential threat—even as unarmed Black people continue being killed by the police.
The Senate might pass a rare bipartisan measure aimed at hate crimes against Asian Americans, which is encouraging, but until the roots of that hate are firmly removed from the conservative movement, the GOP’s gestures remain hollow and hypocritical. It’s no coincidence that the stunning surge in anti-AAPI hate coincided with Trump and the right-wing ecosystem demonizing Asian Americans by using “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” as a synonym for COVID-19.
It’s been time for the majority to call out this hate explicitly, name it, condemn it, and mobilize all of our resources to preserve and protect this fragile democracy and our communities’ security. Hopefully, the GOP and right-wing establishment will join us in these efforts instead of sharing common purpose, conspiracy theories, and talking points with white supremacist extremists.