The suspected Buffalo shooter’s manifesto included at least one passage that could have been a direct quote from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, so directly did it paraphrase a common Carlson refrain. Which is which?
“Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength? Said throughout the media, spoken by politicians, educators and celebrities. But no one ever seems to give a reason why. What gives a nation strength? And how does diversity increase that strength?”
Or: “How, precisely, is diversity our strength? Since you’ve made this our new national motto, please be specific as you explain it. Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don’t know, marriage or military units in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are?”
RELATED STORY: Buffalo supermarket mass shooting was spurred by racist theory regularly aired on Fox News
The former is the shooter, the latter is Carlson. If it even matters.
Don’t expect Carlson to do anything but dig in, with a side of indignation that anyone would think he had anything to do with any of this. We got a preview when The New York Times laid out, in painstaking detail, Carlson’s promotion of the great replacement theory, the claim that someone—more on that in just a minute—is trying to bring immigrants into the U.S. to literally replace white people:
Far-right pundit Ben Shapiro—who was among the Jewish people targeted in the alleged shooter’s manifesto—showed up Monday to defend Republicans against charges that they have promoted the great replacement theory, saying essentially that Republicans aren’t being explicitly antisemitic enough to really fit the mold. Like we can’t identify the dog whistles.
Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz explained the Tucker Translation of the great replacement theory:
Peter Beinart, who appears next to Shapiro in the alleged shooter’s manifesto, explains why white nationalism requires antisemitism, tracing how “White supremacists have long imagined Jews as the sinister puppeteers behind both Black and brown immigration and Black and brown liberation.” Because of that long history, “For Jews, there’s an important lesson here. It is that anyone who fuels paranoia and rage about a non-white takeover of the United States endangers us. It does not matter if, like Tucker Carlson, they don’t explicitly mention Jews in their conspiracy theories. Plenty of their followers will connect the dots. It doesn’t matter if—like many of the Republican Party’s leading white nationalists—they fawn over the state of Israel. It’s entirely possible to believe that Jews are laudable when they establish an ‘ethnocracy’ (I’m borrowing the term from Israeli anthropologist Oren Yiftachel) on their own turf while also considering Jews a menace when they undermine the white Christian ethnocracy you’re trying to build in the United States.”
When the conspiracy theories and specific bodies of bigotry are out there, accessible through shorthand to anyone inclined to embrace them, Tucker doesn’t need to say more than “George Soros” or “the ruling class” to get his point across. Even if Tucker himself isn’t personally all that concerned about Jewish people in general, he’s tapping into a deep well of antisemitism that gives his euphemisms power with many of his listeners, and helps him render people fleeing violence in El Salvador or Honduras as a threat with a larger meaning. It’s one of the reasons neo-Nazis love Tucker Carlson so much.
Buffalo shooting only the latest attack in the radical right’s insurgent war on American democracy
Rep. Elise Stefanik promoted ‘great replacement’ conspiracy cited by Buffalo terrorist
Important infographic traces how Tucker Carlson promotes racism and paranoia
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.