Tucker Carlson’s concern trolling over articles about white privilege was nothing less than a bullhorn of support to white nationalists.
Sitting in front of a large graphic saying, “WHY IT’S POPULAR TO SLAM WHITE PEOPLE,” Carlson opened the segment with a display of concern for racial prejudice:
CARLSON: Well, there’s a basic moral principle that was, for a long time, conventional wisdom in this country. You probably grew up with it. It was this: people deserve to be treated as individuals, judged by their own efforts and their abilities on the things they can control. Attacking people on the basis of their race is wrong. That was the standard and, for a long time, almost everybody in America believed it or claimed to believe it. Not any more.
On the left it is now acceptable, even encouraged, to attack and discriminate against people solely on the basis of their skin color. Now, you’re not supposed to say anything about it but suddenly, it’s everywhere.
Carlson was being very cagey here. In this run up to his justification for white nationalism, he was cloaking himself in a mantle of colorblindness. But when was the last time you saw him show concern for anyone of color being discriminated against? I don't recall any instance. In fact, Carlson recently showed nothing but contempt for a black community wanting to remove some invasive trees that were originally planted to segregate it from a golf course. He mocked the effort as over-sensitivity to “racist trees.” And in a September discussion about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, Carlson launched a gratuitous attack on Black Lives Matter: “Always jumping up and down telling us we’re all racist … I didn’t see any kind of aid convoy led by Black Lives Matter. I wonder why not?” As if a movement focused on police brutality should suddenly shift to hurricane relief merely because black people were in Harvey's path.
Carlson’s beef in this instance was with The Root and BuzzFeed for publishing such articles as “White People Need to be Better People,” (The Root) and “37 Things White People need to Stop Ruining in 2018” (BuzzFeed). He complained, “The articles have a pretty clear intent to attack and ridicule an entire race for the crime of being born with certain genes.”
If Carlson really felt that the articles represented hostility to white people, as opposed to commentary on white privilege, he could have hosted someone for a respectful debate in which to air his concerns. But respectful debate is not the way of Fox News. Dog whistles or bullhorns to white nationalists, dressed up as concern for racial equality, is.
CARLSON: As liberals are always correctly reminding us, America is a multi-racial society, which is great. … But [multi-racial societies] are fragile always and they only survive when people of different races decide to treat each other as human beings, with equal dignity. When they square off into warring tribes, it’s over.
Tell that to Trae Daniel, who tried to have a dignified discussion with Carlson about removing the invasive tamarisk trees so that a black community could have views of a golf course and increase property values.
Carlson went on to note that working class whites, struggling with rising costs don’t appreciate having “some smug private school kid from Brooklyn … lecturing you about how you are the problem, because the color of your skin, and the privilege it conveys.”
Believe it or not, I think Carlson brought up a valid point here. Not because there is no such thing as white privilege at lower socio-economic levels but because there are plenty of white people who feel stepped on, and not privileged, in this society.
But don’t be fooled. Carlson had no intention of doing anything to promote understanding, only to fuel more animus toward black people and those who sympathize with their racial perspective. In fact, Carlson went on to explicitly condone white nationalism as a credible response:
CARLSON: How much of that are you going to take before you explode at the unfairness of it all? And at that point, why wouldn’t you embrace a racial identity? Everybody else seems to be doing it. That’s a disaster, and it’s not theoretical, by the way. That’s what’s going to happen in this country, unless people start deciding they’re going to treat one another as individuals, rather than as members of groups.
Don’t believe for one second that Carlson’s white nationalist fans didn’t hear that bullhorn.
Watch Carlson's shoutout to white nationalists below, from the January 3, 2018 Tucker Carlson Tonight, via Media Matters.
Correction: I erroneously said this segment opened the show.