Skip to main content

Tucker Carlson Cannot Keep Denying His Role in White Supremacist Terror Attacks

Names of victims and messages of healing are chalked on the ground at a makeshift memorial outside of Tops market

This weekend, an 18-year-old white man who self-identifies as a white supremacist drove to a grocery store in a predominantly Black area of Buffalo, New York and shot 13 people, killing 10 of them.

The man posted a 180-page manifesto online, in which he wrote at length about a “replacement” theory—a common white supremacist ideology that white people in the U.S. and worldwide are being “replaced” by growing immigrant, Jewish, and POC populations. They refer to this as “white genocide,” and many believe that, in the U.S., changing demographics are the result of a deliberate political ploy to increase Democratic voters.

If that sounds at all familiar, it’s probably because what was once a fringe extremist conspiracy theory has become the centerpiece of Tucker Carlson’s nightly narrative. Just a few weeks ago, the New York Times published a three-part story about Tucker Carlson’s rising influence as he’s become one of the most dangerous people in America, working every night to normalize white supremacist ideologies:

Last spring, Mr. Carlson caused an uproar when he promoted on air the notion of the “great replacement” — a racist conspiracy theory, once relegated to the far-right fringe, that Western elites are importing “obedient” immigrant voters to disempower the native-born. The Anti-Defamation League called for his firing, noting that such thinking had helped fuel a string of terrorist attacks.

But this was hardly something new for Mr. Carlson. In more than 400 episodes, the Times analysis found, he has amplified the idea that a cabal of elites want to force demographic change through immigration.

Carlson is not the only prominent right-wing figure pushing the replacement theory into mainstream conversations, but he is, arguably, leading the way and laying the groundwork for others, including Republican members of Congress. Florida’s Matt Gaetz supported Carlson when the Anti-Defamation League called for his firing, and he tweeted that the Fox News host “is CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America.” New York’s Elise Stefanik made an entire campaign ad centering the theory as a direct threat to Republican voters.

In the days since the weekend’s shooting, Gaetz and Stefanik have tried to make excuses for pushing white supremacist rhetoric. They, and others, claim that Carlson’s replacement theory has nothing to do with race. Journalist and professional martyr Glenn Greenwald wrote in his own lengthy defense of Carlson, “There is no racial hierarchy in Carlson’s view of American citizenship and to claim that there is is nothing short of a defamatory lie.” That’s simply not true.

Night after night, in more than 400 episodes, Carlson has put immigration—mostly from Central American countries—front and center as the greatest threat to Republicans and what he sometimes calls “legacy Americans”—a very obvious dog-whistle subbing in for “white” Americans. As Popular Information’s Judd Legum also noted on Twitter, Tucker Carlson has explicitly mourned the lack of “racial hierarchy” in America’s immigration system.

The Buffalo shooter said in his manifesto that he got his ideas “mostly from the internet,” which is also where Carlson gets most of his. The Times writes that “Mr. Carlson’s producers often trawl the web for supporting material. In the show’s early years, clips would sometimes be sent to the network’s fact checkers, who would occasionally discover that a story had actually originated farther afield, on a racist or neo-Nazi site like Stormfront.”

So Tucker Carlson is getting his talking points from the same white supremacist online communities as people like the Buffalo shooter, and then he translates them to make them more palatable for his own massive audience. He’s been doing this for years and calling anyone who questions him “hysterical.”

But he can only deflect responsibility for so long, and based on how quickly his name became a central component of the national conversation following the shooting in Buffalo (which was, horrifically, not even the only mass shooting this weekend), it seems like Carlson’s choice to peddle white supremacist talking points for ratings and fame might be catching up with him.

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.