Previously, Carlson had skirted the direct use of white-nationalist rhetoric Wednesday’s segment, but on Wednesday night, it was an open embrace of the kind of argument one might hear from VDare’s Peter Brimelow or American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, describing immigration as a form of “eugenics”:
There’s only one plausible answer. You’re not allowed to say it out loud. CNN will attack you if you do. The social media companies will shut you down. The Southern Poverty Law Center will call you dangerous. You could lose your bank account. The left will become completely unhinged and hysterical, and that’s how you know it’s true. They only censor the true things. No one gets in trouble for claiming the earth is flat. So it would be risky for us to explain what’s actually happening here. But for once we don’t need to do that. Joe Biden himself has already done it. Biden explained the entire point of mass immigration back in 2015, when he was Vice President:
[Clip of Joe Biden] An unrelenting stream of immigration. Nonstop, nonstop. Folks like me who are Caucasian, of European descent, for the first time in 2017 we’ll be an absolute minority in the United States of America. Absolute minority. Fewer than 50% of the people in America from then and on will be white European stock. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a source of our strength.
“An unrelenting stream of immigration.” Why? Joe Biden said it. To change the racial mix of the country. That’s the reason. To reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here, and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the third world. And then Biden went further and said that non-white DNA is the source of our strength. Imagine saying that. This is the language of eugenics. It’s horrifying. But there’s a reason Biden said it. In political terms, this policy is sometimes called the great replacement—the replacement of legacy Americans, with more obedient people from faraway countries.
Never mind that Carlson dishonestly stripped Biden’s remarks of their context and meaning. The “unrelenting stream of immigration” he described referred to the nation’s history back to the 1700s—and recognizing the factual reality that the source of that immigration has shifted over time, particularly in the past century. Also, never mind that immigration isn’t a demographic threat, but an economic necessity—mainly since the American economy leans so heavily on immigration to provide the “unskilled labor” necessary for it to function.
Carlson has done this previously—spouting “replacement theory,” a strain of right-wing thought predicated on the “Great Replacement,” a conspiracy theory claiming that white people are selectively “replaced” by nonwhite immigrants, a gradual “invasion” intended to wipe out white civilization orchestrated by a cabal of nefarious “globalists” and Jews. It’s a subset of a larger white nationalist belief in “white genocide,” a supposed conspiracy by nonwhites, leftists, and Jews to destroy “white Western civilization.”
It also has been credited with inspiring multiple acts of mass murder and terrorism: Robert Bowers’ attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018; Brenton Tarrant’s attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019; and Patrick Crusius’ attack on Hispanics at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019, among others.
The last time Carlson spewed this hateful garbage, the Anti-Defamation League called on Fox to fire him. But the network’s executives reviewed the episode and declared that they weren’t racist or bigoted. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch defended Carlson, disingenuously claiming he had “decried and rejected replacement theory” when he said during the Thursday evening segment, “White replacement theory? No, no, this is a voting rights question.”
However, as Jonathan Chait observes, Wednesday’s screed seemed to obliterate Murdoch’s denialism deliberately:
Murdoch’s defense hinged on two very narrow points. First, Carlson had focused on voting, not on the racial composition of the electorate per se. And second, while he had used the word “replace” in conjunction with this alleged scheme, he had not uttered the words “replacement theory.”
Fast-forward to last night. Here is Tucker Carlson accusing the Biden administration of planning to “change the racial mix of the country,” explaining, “This policy is called the ‘great replacement.’”
Fox News, rather than recoiling at the pass to which Carlson has dragged them, in fact, promoted his specious argument on the front page of their website Thursday morning.
There have been multiple occasions on which Carlson has made precisely these kinds of claims regarding immigration: He has touted the same theory claiming immigrants are “replacing” current voters in various segments in the past couple of years. (It is, naturally, an utterly specious claim: Voting requires citizenship, meaning those new immigrants are not eligible even to apply for five years; the naturalization application process then typically takes 15 months. Moreover, the 700,000 new citizens who take the oath every year—after which they may finally vote—represent only 0.2% of the total U.S. population.)
Carlson already has a remarkable record of dabbling increasingly in white supremacist rhetoric dating back to 2006, including recently unearthed recordings of his ramblings on radio. His greatest hits include regurgitation of neo-Nazi propaganda about “white genocide” in Africa, not to mention his mutual promotion of the white nationalist website VDare.
Over the past two years, Carlson’s reliance on white-nationalist rhetoric and ideas to fuel his Trumpian authoritarianism—including his defense of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrectionists—has become a constant feature of his popular nightly talk program. There is a reason white supremacists love Carlson’s show, and why they assiduously watch it in hopes of picking up pointers.