- Chuck Schumer blasted Tucker Carlson and Fox News in the wake of the Buffalo shooting.
- Schumer said Carlson and Fox have spread the “poison” of the racist “replacement theory.”
- Authorities are investigating the Buffalo shooting as a federal hate crime.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tore into Tucker Carlson and Fox News on Monday following a mass shooting in Buffalo that left 10 people dead in what authorities have said was a racially motivated attack.
Schumer referred to a New York Times investigation that found Carlson, cable TV’s highest-rated host, brought up elements of the white supremacist conspiracy theory known as “the great replacement theory” in more than 400 episodes of his show. The theory baselessly claims that white people are being replaced by people of color and will ultimately become extinct. Carlson has repeatedly argued that Democrats want to force demographic change on the US through immigration as a way to retain and grow their political power.
“According to one measure by the New York Times, Fox’s top political pundit, Tucker Carlson, has spewed rhetoric that echoes replacement theory at least 400 hundred, 400 hundred times on his show since 2016. 400 times,” Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor. “This is a poison that is being spread by one of the largest news organizations in our country.”
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 16, 2022
A Fox News spokesperson pointed Insider to a list of Carlson’s on-air condemnations of violence, including his promise that “we’ve been against, obviously, violence and terrorism since the day the show went on the air.”
The FBI has said they are investigating the shooting as “racially motivated violent extremism” and a hate crime. Police said that the shooter, an 18-year-old white man, traveled to a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood to carry out his attack. Futher reports allege that the shooter published a lengthy screed online that drew from and praised the replacement theory.
Schumer laid the blame for the popularization of the racist conspiracy theory at the hands of “several right-wing outlets” who are “engaged in a craven quest for viewers and ratings.” Echoing President Joe Biden’s recent remarks, Schumer blamed “MAGA Republicans” for spreading the argument.
“The message is not always explicit, but we’ve all seen the pattern,” Schumer said. “Every time MAGA Republicans or pundits vilify wrongly immigrants and call them ‘invaders,’ every time they falsely claim that millions of undocumented people cast ballots in our elections, every time loud, bigoted voices bemoan the disintegration of a ‘classic America’ the subtext is clear,” Schumer said. “These hard-right MAGA Republicans argue that people of color in minority communities are somehow posing a threat, a threat to the American way of life.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third highest-ranking House Republican, has come under scrutiny for past comments she’s made about immigration in which she’s accused Democrats of using amnesty to “overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
In contrast to Schumer, the White House has been much more cautious about going after individual people or networks for spreading the replacement theory or rhetoric similar to it.
“It doesn’t matter who it is,” newly installed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier in the day in response to a question about why the White House wouldn’t call out Carlson or Stefanik by name. “The moral truth of this is that it a racial[ly]-motivated hate crime and it is abhorrent. And so that’s what we need to call out. It doesn’t matter who that is and that’s what we’re trying to make clear here.”
Despite sparking several ad boycotts and accusations of promoting white supremacist conspiracy theories, Carlson has proven too big for Fox News to cancel, with the primetime host also at the center of the network’s
strategy with a pair of shows on the FOX Nation app.