Sen. Charles Schumer’s comments indicate that at long last, the Democrats are confronting the dangers of Tucker Carlson and Fox News and their promotion of the white supremacists’ “great replacement” theory. But they’ve got a long road to hoe.
While the cowardly Tucker Carlson tried to bob and weave and deflect from his role in promoting exactly the same ideology that motivated shooter Payton Gendron to massacre Black customers at a Buffalo supermarket over the weekend, Schumer took direct aim (no pun intended) at the people who are really behind the poison: Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and its president, Jay Wallace. Carlson was cc’d.
From Schumer’s May 17, 2022 letter (with my emphases added):
Dear Mr. Rupert Murdoch et al.:
I write to urge you to immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so - called “Great Replacement theory on your network's broadcasts. … For years, these types of beliefs have existed at the fringes of American life. However, this pernicious theory, which has no basis in fact, has been injected into the mainstream thanks in large part to a dangerous level of amplification by your network and its anchors.
A recent AP poll found that nearly one third of American adults believe that a group of people is trying to replace native-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains. That same poll found that your viewers are nearly three times more likely to believe in Replacement Theory than other networks. This should come as no surprise given the central role these themes have played in your network's programming in recent years. A recent New York Times investigation found that Tucker Carlson alone amplified this dangerous and unfounded theory in more than 400 episodes of his show.
I urge you to take into consideration the very real impacts of the dangerous rhetoric being broadcast on your network on a nightly basis.
Schumer went on to summarize some of the violence perpetrated by white supremacists echoing the great replacement theory: the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, The El Paso Walmart massacre and now the Buffalo massacre.
He concluded by saying that condemnations are “hardly enough.”
While it was good to see the Wall Street Journal Editorial board write that “Politicians and media figures have an obligation to condemn…such conspiratorial notions as 'white replacement theory’”, words of condemnation are hardly enough. To this end, I implore you to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theories on your network.
Schumer tweeted yesterday that Tucker Carlson invited him on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show last night. Schumer declined.
Although I’m a fervent proponent of Democrats going on Fox to confront the enemy (and it’s long overdue for Democrats to treat Fox as such), that does not mean I think top Democratic officeholders or candidates should do so. I wholeheartedly agree that Schumer should not give Carlson the respect, attention or ratings that such an appearance would provide. But another Democrat should demand to confront Fox’s prime time white supremacist and rhetorically cream him. Someone like Mallory McMorrow. And, by the way? Tuckums can’t debate.
Unfortunately, Carlson responded last night by doubling down on his great replacement extremism and right-wing incitements – while pretending not to know what the great replacement theory is. I’ll have more on that in my next post.
Meanwhile, you can watch Schumer condemn Fox on the floor of the Senate, on May 16, 2022.
Tucker Carlson has spewed rhetoric that echoes replacement theory at least 400 times on his show since 2016.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 16, 2022
This is a poison being spread by one of the largest news organizations in America, Fox News.
They need to stop spreading dangerous racist lies and conspiracy theories. pic.twitter.com/XVCWv98SRl