Fox News host Tucker Carlson slammed politicians on Monday who are exploiting the tragic Buffalo mass killing, which left 10 people dead, to score political points.
What is the background?
After an alleged white supremacist opened fire in a Buffalo supermarket, purportedly targeting only black people, Democrats, progressives, and the mainstream media began blaming Carlson and Republicans for the massacre. They claimed Carlson, for example, pushes white supremacist rhetoric on his TV show, including the so-called "white replacement theory."
These are just a few examples:
- The New York Times: "No public figure has promoted replacement theory more loudly or relentlessly than the Fox host Tucker Carlson ..."
- Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): "Tucker Carlson is many things — but he’s not stupid. When he pushes racist conspiracies like 'the great replacement,' he knows the risks. He knows some view his vile hate as a call to arms. The problem is Tucker just doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself."
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: "It's not enough for outlets like Fox News and hosts like Tucker Carlson to just condemn Saturday’s violence and the shooter’s racist views — then return to regularly-scheduled programming. They need to stop spreading dangerous racist lies like replacement theory on their shows."
- Actor Rob Reiner: "The racist massacre in Buffalo rest at the feet of Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson, and the GOP. There are not fine people on both sides."
- Writer Jonathan Chait: "Yes, Tucker Carlson Shares Blame for the Buffalo Supermarket Attack"
What did Carlson say?
During the opening monologue of his show, Carlson observed how politicians quickly blamed their political opponents for the massacre before many of the victims, let alone the details, were known.
"Within minutes of Saturday's shooting, before all of the bodies of those 10 murdered Americans had even been identified by their loved ones, professional Democrats had begun a coordinated campaign to blame those murders on their political opponents," Carlson noted.
Later, Carlson explicitly condemned "race politics," something that his critics may find surprising.
Reacting to President Joe Biden's planned speech in Buffalo, in which he is expected to blast the Republican Party as an "existential threat" to American democracy, Carlson commented that Biden will be using "racial wounds" to make his political case.
"There is no behavior worse than this. All race politics is bad, no matter what flavor those politics happen to be. No race politics is better than any other. All of it is poison," he explained.
"Race politics subsumes the individual into the group. It erases people. It dehumanizes them. Race politics elevates appearance over initiative and decency and all the other God-given qualities that make every person of every color unique yet morally equal to every other person," Carlson continued. "And above all, race politics always makes us hate each other and always in a very predictable way."
The Fox News host then advocated for treating "people as human beings created by God rather than as faceless members of interest groups that might benefit some political party or other."
"We have a moral duty to do this because all people have equal moral value, no matter what they look like. All lives matter, period," he declared. "That's not the determination of the U.S. government. That's the determination of God, and it's true, and most Americans already believe it."
Tucker: Our leaders stand in the way of fixing thiswww.youtube.com
There is a significant difference between Carlson's rhetoric, which focuses on the political implications of demographic shifts, and blaming a cabal of Jews for orchestrating the replacement of white people in America, the conspiracy theory that the Buffalo killer ascribed to, according to his 180-page screed.
In fact, shifting demographic winds and their political implications have long been acknowledged by Democrats and Republicans.
For example, the liberal Center for American Progress openly advocated for giving immigrants a pathway to citizenship to shore up future "electoral strength," i.e. Democratic power. The think tank said in 2013, "Supporting real immigration reform that contains a pathway to citizenship for our nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants is the only way to maintain electoral strength in the future."
Texas, meanwhile, has been targeted by Democrats for two decades over what they believe are the positive electoral implications of a dwindling white population and growing Hispanic population in the Lone Star State (see examples here, here, and here).
The truth is that Republicans have long accused Democrats of supporting lenient immigration laws, alleging Democrats believe that immigrants are guaranteed to support them. At the same time, Democrats regularly boast that shifting demographics will solidify for them future election victories