Tucker Carlson didn’t let a little thing like Hurricane Irma, the most catastrophic storm of our lifetime, distract him from some gratuitous race baiting of a black guest and Black Lives Matter, all in the guise of concern about Hurricane Harvey victims.
In July, Vox produced a terrific video about why white supremacists love Carlson. Carlson’s discussion Wednesday night with The Root’s Charles Ellison was a perfect case in point.
Carlson’s cause was a column in which Ellison had the audacity to say that recovery from Hurricane Harvey should “prioritize black and brown folks.” If you read his column and, as Ellison made very clear in his discussion with Carlson, he really meant poor people. The gist, which even Carlson acknowledged was legitimate, was that disaster relief favors property owners over disadvantaged renters.
“It’s always worth worrying about where the money goes and about the people most in need,” Carlson agreed. But he seemed more worried about Ellison's views on race.
The lower-third banner helped the messaging: “NEWS SITE MAKES HURRICANE HARVEY A RACE ISSUE.”
This is one way that Fox race baits, by suggesting it’s merely covering "a race issue." But really, Fox merely added another zinger to its race baiting. This was not only another episode of Fox's never-ending series, Blacks Behaving Badly, but a suggestion that it’s their fault for “making me do it.”
While Carlson seemed eager to question Ellison's bias, there was no evidence Carlson had done any actual investigating of Ellison’s record. No, Carlson’s game was to use Ellison as a pawn in his race-baiting political theater.
CARLSON: What I was bothered by in your piece was the racial angle, the idea that aid ought to be given on the basis of race seemed like a really divisive way to think about it.
Yet Carlson never thinks smearing immigrants is divisive. Remember when Rep. Steve King came under fire for Tweeting that “[C]ulture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies?” King ran to Tucker Carlson Tonight the next night for some image rehab. Even though Carlson called it “a problem” that King’s Tweet “suggested there’s a racial component to American identity, Carlson also declared, “Everything you said, I think, is defensible and probably right.”
Carlson also fawned over the blatantly bigoted (white) Katie Hopkins. After she characterized a recent terrorist attack in Paris as “paying the price” for accepting (Muslim) refugees, Carlson was more than admiring: “You are highly awesome, Katie Hopkins, I have to say,” he said effusively.
Ellison said he had not meant to suggest that “certain demographics” should be favored or singled out. “But we should realize, we should recognize that there are some very serious issues of race and class” about disaster aid, he added.
Carlson amicably suggested he and Ellison should have lunch sometime but he nonetheless refused to stop grilling Ellison, as if getting to the bottom of whether or not he’s a racist was somehow vital to our democracy and/or hurricane relief.
CARLSON: Why put race at all? Storms have nothing to do with race. And in fact, one of the beauties of watching the recovery effort is it is multi-racial and you see people of different groups helping each other and it brings out the best of people in a lot of ways.
CARLSON: And it just seemed pointless to add the racial angle.
But Carlson went on to add more to the "racial angle" and detract from the "multi-racial effort" by gratuitously swiping at Black Lives Matter:
CARLSON: Where’s Black Lives Matter in this, since they care so much about black lives? Why weren’t they organizing a convoy to go help? No, I’m serious. Always jumping up and down telling us we’re all racist, don’t care about black lives. There were black lives in peril. I didn’t see any kind of aid convoy led by Black Lives Matter. I wonder why not?
It just so happens there has been a false internet rumor that Black Lives Matter “thugs” had blocked emergency crews from reaching Hurricane Harvey victims.
Had Carlson really “wondered” what Black Lives Matter had done during Hurricane Harvey, he could have tried to interview someone who knew. He could have also done a simple Google search. That would have informed him, as BuzzFeed reported, that “Black Lives Matter Houston has been active in relief efforts by collecting food for shelters, gathering school supplies for kids who start classes soon, and bringing food and supplies to families and individuals.”
Watch Carlson show his true colors below, from the September 8, 2017 Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Correction: Carlson's name was misspelled in the original headline for this post.