It’s unlikely that last weekend’s racist massacre in Buffalo will stop right wing media from pushing the racist “great replacement theory” but a chorus of hosts, pundits and at least one Republican politician are now calling it out.
The loudest criticism has been for Fox News, specifically its top-rated prime-time shill Tucker Carlson, who talks about replacement theory–the false idea that there’s a conspiracy to displace whites for Jews, Blacks and immigrants in the United State–almost daily on his show.
On Monday, several hosts on rival network MSNBC called out Fox and Carlson for promoting the idea to their millions of mostly white, conservative viewers. Replacement theory was cited by the 18-year-old who is charged with driving more than 200 miles from his home to murder 10 people at a Tops supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo.
“There are ways that this very screed, from this very alleged killer echo exactly what has been pushed out here across parts of the European and American right wing and across parts of Fox News and Tucker Carlson’s show,” said MSNBC’s Ari Melber during his 6 p.m. show on Monday. Later in the Monday lineup, Lawrence O’Donnell played a clip of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling out Fox News and Carlson from the Senate floor, before O’Donnell chimed back in to take the network’s owner to task.
“Every minute spent talking about the TV hosts on Fox is a minute that hides the true villain of the piece. Rupert Murdoch is the billionaire puppeteer,” he said. Murdoch also owns the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post among other networks.
Last weekend’s massacre isn’t the first time replacement theory has played a role in racist violence in recent years. Participants in the demonstrations that preceded a deadly 2017 white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Va., famously carried Tiki torches while chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
Since that time, replacement theory has only grown as a subject on Fox News and across Carlson’s show. In a three-part series last month about his ascension at Fox, the New York Times cited more than 400 times that Carlson had discussed replacement theory on his show.
Carlson, of course, is taking nothing that approaches accountability for his rhetoric. Instead, he went to Twitter Monday night in an attempt to distance himself from the Buffalo shooter.
He called the shooter’s online manifesto “a rambling pastiche of slogans and internet memes, some of which flatly contradict one another,” in a clip posted to his account.
All of which sounds a helluva lot like almost any episode of Carlson’s show.