Tucker Carlson has long promoted the idea of the “great replacement,” a racist conspiracy theory holding that white people are being systematically replaced by immigrants. The theory was present throughout the 180-page manifesto of the teenager who killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday, leading to renewed scrutiny of the mega-popular Fox News host. Carlson addressed that scrutiny on Monday night, essentially arguing that anyone espousing white supremacist views should be able to do so without fear of criticism.
“Because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views out loud,” he said. “That’s what they’re telling you. That’s what they’ve wanted to tell you for a long time, but Saturday’s massacre gives them a pretext and a justification.”
Tucker: Because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views out loud. That’s what they’re telling you pic.twitter.com/OcjVPsaUoi
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 17, 2022
There isn’t any significant contingent of people responding to the Buffalo shooting by saying Carlson or anyone else shouldn’t be able to express their views. Carlson is merely mad that his critics are expressing their views, which is that Carlson is a racist, and that the work he’s done to mainstream the “great replacement” theory and the fact that the shooter’s manifesto is filled with it may not be totally coincidental. Go ahead and have a look at some of the uncanny similarities between what the shooter wrote and what Carlson has pushed on his show:
Tucker, Tucker, Buffalo shooter pic.twitter.com/Z4jcOJSUmf
— ℮oin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) May 14, 2022
Carlson understandably had a difficult time distancing himself from the ideologies that inspired the shooter, so he instead focused on how the manifesto was “rambling” and “disjointed” and “paranoid.” He bashed the media for blaming “Trumpism” for the massacre, before circling back to the ludicrous idea that criticizing a popular cable news host for pushing unvarnished white supremacy to millions of Americans amounts to wanting to “suspend the First Amendment.”
Tucker Carlson tries to distance himself and Fox News from the Buffalo shooter, who was inspired by racist conspiracy theories Carlson has pushed on his show pic.twitter.com/oRTOcvxC4n
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 17, 2022
Carlson wants everyone to be aware that the shooter’s manifesto contains ideas far more deranged than anything he’s uttered on his show. This is certainly true, but its operating principle is the white supremacist “great replacement” theory, which Carlson has helped lift out of the fringes and into the political mainstream. It clearly and catastrophically took hold in the shooter’s mind, which Carlson described on Monday as “diseased and disorganized.” The question he should probably be asking, and that Americans are plenty justified in asking themselves, is why the views of one of the influential figure in conservative media are so closely aligned with those of a mentally ill teenager who felt slaughtering 10 people at a supermarket was a righteous act.