Author Page | Media Matters for America

Madeline Peltz

Author ››› Madeline Peltz
  • Laura Ingraham announces Trump's reelection campaign is an official sponsor of her podcast

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    On the May 28 edition of Podcast One’s The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, Fox’s Laura Ingraham did a live read of an ad for President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee for his 2020 reelection campaign.

    Ingraham’s ad read is just another example of the unethical conflicts of interest posed by the unofficial alliance between the Republican Party and right-wing media, especially Fox News. Media Matters reporting has shown that multiple Fox hosts, including Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Pete Hegseth, and Jeanine Pirro have received over $500,000 combined in speaking fees from Republican groups during their time at the network. Members of Fox’s purported “news” division, including Shannon Bream and Neil Cavuto, have also headlined conservative events and appeared alongside Republican officials. In November 2018, Fox host Hannity even joined Trump onstage at a campaign rally, despite promising his audience that he would not appear. An advertising partnership between a prominent prime-time cable news personality and the incumbent president’s reelection campaign is a glaring conflict of interest.

    Previously: 

    Laura Ingraham: Tax cuts mean nothing if we "lose the country because of this huge demographic shift" 

    Laura Ingraham on undocumented immigrants: "​This is an invasion of the country ... they want to tell you you can't say that anymore. They are invading the country"​

    Laura Ingraham: "The Democrats want to replace many of you" ​

    Correction (5/29/19): The headline of this piece initially described the Make America Great Again Committee as a "PAC." It is in fact a joint fundraising committee, as the body of the piece explains.

  • Tucker Carlson's descent into white supremacy: A timeline

    ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    Since the early days of his tenure as a Fox prime-time host, Tucker Carlson’s unabashed championing of white grievances earned him the accolades of neo-Nazis, who praised him as a “one man gas chamber” and complimented the way he “lampshad[ed] Jews on national television.” While Carlson claims to have nothing in common with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, he constantly echoes their talking points on his show and was very reluctant to condemn white supremacists following their deadly 2017 demonstration in Charlottesville, VA. In fact, Carlson’s racist roots can be traced back more than a decade.

    Here’s a timeline of the public devolution of Tucker Carlson’s thinly veiled racism into full-throated white supremacy (this list will be continually updated):

  • Fox News' "trust fund baby" prime-time host is on a mission to demonize the homeless

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ & JOHN KERR

    On his prime-time Fox News show, Tucker Carlson, an admitted “trust fund baby” and “out-of-the-closet elitist,” has taken a surprising interest in the subject of homelessness in America. But his programming mostly consists of attacking people experiencing homelessness, complaining they make cities “dirty,” describing them as criminals and drug addicts, and claiming they’re victims of “family dissolution.”

    Carlson’s attacks culminated in a May 13-17 nightly series titled “Homeless in America” in which he showed b-roll of unsuspecting people on the streets of West Coast cities and labeled them drug addicts and menaces to society. Carlson also repeatedly suggested that “normal people” are the real victims of the homelessness crisis, even claiming that the issue is preventing families from visiting public parks. Overall, his coverage has largely framed the issue as a moral and personal failure of struggling individuals, drawing on the longstanding Fox News tactic of shaming poor people.

    Previously:

    Tucker Carlson blames homelessness in Los Angeles on immigration and sanctuary cities

  • Tucker Carlson's wild new talking point is that abortion is somehow a tool of "corporate" oppression

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Anti-abortion extremist Tucker Carlson has seemingly developed yet another far-fetched theory in his crusade against reproductive justice -- the idea that abortion is a tool of the capitalist class designed to trap women in the workplace and force them to forgo motherhood. The latest examples of this absurd argument came just this month: During the April 17 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News, Carlson said that protecting abortion access isn't about "autonomy" but about "making sure women can be obedient workers." And on April 8, he said that abortion access is merely a backdoor tactic for employers to ensure women are “dutiful little worker bees who would rather have an abortion than disappoint shareholders.”

    Beyond being ludicrous, Carlson’s allegation (and the underlying assumptions) intentionally obscures what’s at stake in the fight over access to essential reproductive health care. When women and gender nonconforming people are denied access to an abortion, the entire family suffers, and the ripple effects disproportionately disadvantage low-income people and people of color.

    Carlson's baseless conspiracy theory only further demonstrates the emptiness of his supposed criticisms of capitalism. His refusal to air a February segment of his show with Dutch historian Rutger Bregman is evidence that he does not promote policies that would actually hold the super wealthy to account. These extreme anti-choice comments are not unique for the network. In fact, this latest attack is simply an extension of the Fox News playbook to spread anti-choice misinformation and rile up viewers for the 2020 elections.

    This theory that "pro-choice means pro-corporate" is just another data point in Carlson's quest to attack people who make choices about pregnancy he disagrees with. After the first wave of advertisers left his show because of his comment that immigration makes America "poorer, dirtier, and more divided," Carlson was forced to try to rebrand. He kicked off 2019 with a monologue about the importance of families as "the building block of everything." Harkening to Donald Trump's nationalist rhetoric, Carlson demanded that "if you want to put America first, you've got to put its families first," and he criticized free market forces for harming the family and targeted Republican leaders who do not support this point of view. This monologue, which is pinned to the top of Carlson's Twitter feed, set off a flurry of chin-scratching op-eds on right-wing sites.

    Carlson went out of his way to endorse an obscure proposal by the far-right government of Hungary

    Carlson's enthusiasm for white nationalism and the reconstruction of a "traditional family unit," combined with his opposition to abortion access, adds up to a bleak picture of rigid gender roles and forced domesticity for women who want control over their own lives. Thus it is perhaps unsurprising that Carlson has explicitly endorsed a proposal by the far-right Hungarian government meant to "ensure the survival of the Hungarian nation" by incentivizing women to have more children. Put forth by authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the proposal would exempt women with four or more children from paying income tax for life and give them other benefits to assist in child rearing.

    Tucker's excitement for the Hungarian proposal fits comfortably within the overlap between the messaging of white nationalists and anti-abortion extremists -- and it paints a picture of his ideal America, a place where women don't have access to abortion but are incentivized by the government to have children they may or may not want. The idea that this is Carlson's goal is reflected in the fact that American media has generally not covered this proposal, which is motivated by the white nationalist sentiments prevalent in Hungary. But Carlson not only donated time to the cause but also forcefully endorsed it.

    While hosting Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on his show, Carlson praised Orban’s policy as an example of a country taking “pro-family policies seriously” and called it “a great idea” to address Hungary’s “low birth rate” without “immigration and importing new people.” Carlson said he has “rarely thought we could learn something important from another country, but I think in this case, we really can.”

    Misogyny is at the core of white supremacism and Carlson channels both

    This obsession with birth rates, combined with the oppression of women by eliminating pathways for bodily and economic autonomy in favor of unpaid familial labor, is a perfect example of the intersection between misogyny and the anti-choice movement. In the context of Carlson's regularly scheduled white identity politics, it’s unsurprising that his desire to promote so-called "family values" has morphed into attacking people who choose to have an abortion. His recent line of argument fixates on the importance of women having babies to “perpetuate the species.” (Conveniently, he has no problem with separating children from their parents at the border.)

    During a February 4 segment, Carlson claimed that the reason “our ruling class keeps pushing abortion on the country” is because bodily autonomy makes women “loyal to company first,” which is not only patronizing but also ignores the personal and medical reasons people have abortions. Carlson’s argument also treats people's access to essential health care as a conspiracy by “corporate” bosses to prevent them from experiencing parenthood:

    TUCKER CARLSON: So why does our ruling class keep pushing abortion on the country? Well, [Virginia Gov.] Ralph Northam just explained it as clearly as anyone has. Abortion leads to economic freedom, he said. It brings prosperity. Almost everyone in coastal America believes this as a matter of faith. Former hedge fund executive Chelsea Clinton once explained the reasoning here in some detail, quote, "American women entering the labor force from 1973 to 2009 added $3.5 trillion to our economy. The net, new entrance of women -- that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the law of the land in January of 1973." End quote.

    In other words, abortion boosts markets. It frees women from the tiresome demands of motherhood and allows them to fulfill their higher duty which is to corporations. Childless women make more dutiful, obedient workers. They can work longer hours. They take less time off. They are loyal to company first.

    And from the perspective of private equity, they’re right. Having children may perpetuate the species, it may add meaning to your life, but it won't boost the stock price. It does nothing for shareholder value.

    As economists at the United Nations put it, and it's on their website right now, when more women work, economies grow. Well, that means that when women decide to have and raise kids, economies shrink.

    So, from this perspective, motherhood is a selfish choice. We have got widgets to make, forms to fill out, meetings to attend, mush, get to work.

    Two years ago, a columnist in The Daily Telegraph called for the government to ban stay-at-home moms. They should be in the workforce, adding to the bottom line. So this is the real reason our elite so enthusiastically support abortion.

    It doesn't set you free. It won't make you happier. But it make companies more profitable and that's what matters most to them. Pro-choice means pro-corporate.

    This rhetoric is part of a pattern. During a February 1 segment, Carlson mischaracterized Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments on later abortion and claimed that abortion rights advocates care only about the “economic freedom” afforded to people able to make choices about their own bodies because such autonomy makes them “more efficient employees” who can “work longer hours without worrying about anybody but their bosses.”

    TUCKER CARLSON: Northam explained that abortion at any stage is a positive good -- and this is worth listening to carefully -- because, quote, "reproductive freedom leads to economic freedom." In other words, abortion is virtuous because it makes women more efficient employees, better and more dutiful servants of Northam's donors. They can work longer hours without worrying about anybody but their bosses.

    Carlson also attacked former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams for her criticisms of Georgia’s recently adopted draconian six-week abortion ban (also referred to as the “heartbeat bill”). On his April 8 show, Carlson disingenuously claimed that Abrams’ opposition to the bill stemmed from her desire to make women into “dutiful little worker bees” who wouldn’t dare prioritize “superfluous concerns like their own children or perpetuating the species” over the needs of “shareholders.”

    Carlson not only ignored Abrams’ actual criticism that the ban was “bad for business” and an “abominable” attack on people’s rights and health, he also oversimplified the numerous reasons someone might want or need an abortion. Although in Carlson’s mind, abortion access is a tool to deprive people of parenthood, in reality, people can choose to have abortions because they don’t want children, aren’t ready to be parents, or in many cases already are parents:

    [BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]

    STACEY ABRAMS: We have to be a state that is not only friendly to business, we've got to be friendly to the women who work in these businesses. You should not have to worry about your ability to control your bodily autonomy because the governor has pushed such an abominable and evil bill that is so restrictive. It's not only bad for morality and our humanity, it's bad for business.

    [END VIDEO CLIP]

    TUCKER CARLSON: "It's bad for business." So according to Stacey Abrams, who went to Yale Law School, protecting the life of a child whose heart is beating is evil because, as she just said, it's bad for business. Business needs reliable workers who will give everything to the company. Workers who won't be distracted by superfluous concerns like their own children or perpetuating the species. Dutiful little worker bees who would rather have an abortion than disappoint shareholders.

    Stacey Abrams wants to make the world safe for workers like that. It's better for the bottom line. This is the face of corporate liberalism. It's a lot crueler than the old version.

    Carlson's extremist anti-choice apologia fits squarely into white nationalist conspiracy theories about “the great replacement” and white “genocide” (some of Carlson’s other favorite talking points). His absurd argument framing abortion rights advocates as tools of capitalist oppression is yet another example of him using his show to elevate anti-abortion extremists and mirror the rhetoric of white nationalists on an ongoing basis.

  • Unearthed audio shows Tucker Carlson using white nationalist rhetoric and making racist remarks

    ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    Between 2006 and 2011, Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent approximately an hour a week calling in to the Bubba the Love Sponge Show, a popular shock jock radio program where he spoke with the hosts about a variety of cultural and political topics in often-vulgar terms. In addition to making many misogynistic remarks and sexual comments about underage girls, Carlson, who was hired by Fox in 2009, also repeatedly made racist remarks.

    Carlson credited "white men" for "creating civilization" and made numerous racist remarks about the Obamas, including agreeing that Michelle Obama would "be a problem" because she “turns into a sister” and asking of Barack Obama, "How is he Black, for one thing? He has one white parent, one Black parent.” Carlson called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and said Afghanistan is "never going to be a civilized country because the people aren't civilized.” He also said he had “zero sympathy” for Iraqis because they “don’t use toilet paper or forks” and that the war could turn around “if, somehow, the Iraqis decided to behave like human beings."

  • In unearthed audio, Tucker Carlson makes numerous misogynistic and perverted comments

    During interviews on Bubba The Love Sponge, Carlson said he "love[s]" the idea of young girls sexually experimenting, used sexist terms to refer to a number of women, and defended statutory rape 

    ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ

    Between 2006 and 2011, Tucker Carlson spent approximately an hour a week calling in to Bubba the Love Sponge, a popular shock jock radio program where he spoke with the hosts about a variety of cultural and political topics in sometimes-vulgar terms. During those conversations, Carlson diminished the actions of Warren Jeffs, then on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list for his involvement in arranging illegal marriages between adults and underage girls, talked about sex and young girls, and defended statutory rape.

    Carlson, who was hired by Fox News in 2009, also used sexist language to talk about women, including then-co-workers at NBC and public figures. He referred to Martha Stewart’s daughter Alexis Stewart as “cunty,” called journalist Arianna Huffington a “pig,” and labeled Britney Spears and Paris Hilton “the biggest white whores in America.” He also said that women enjoy being told to “be quiet and kind of do what you’re told” and that they are “extremely primitive.”

  • Right-wing media and think tanks are aligning with fake feminists who dehumanize trans people

    TERFs use feminist vocabulary but are aligned with national anti-LGBTQ groups

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Tucker Carlson recently hosted Julia Beck, a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” or “TERF,” in a segment promoting the illusion that there is an important divide over the importance of transgender rights within the LGBTQ community.

    Beck and other TERFs claim to be feminists, but they hold vehemently anti-trans views and are widely rejected by LGBTQ advocates and organizations. In fact, TERF groups and activists have joined with right-wing, anti-LGBTQ organizations around the country in lawsuits against trans rights.

    Beck's appearance on Fox was just the latest example of right-wing figures and groups promoting TERFs, who use feminist vocabulary to disguise their anti-trans bigotry.

    TERFs have appeared on right-wing media and at right-wing events

    Beck appeared on the February 12 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss her recent removal from Baltimore’s LGBTQ commission for her anti-trans views. During the segment, Beck, who is a lesbian, said, “Women have been speaking out about this for decades, but we have been effectively silenced. Many women like myself have been pushed out … simply because we acknowledge biological reality.” She also claimed that transgender identities are “opposed to biological reality,” said she doesn’t “think it’s fair to lump us all into the same acronym,” and pushed the thoroughly debunked myth that trans-inclusive policies threaten the safety of women and girls.

    Beck has also appeared at the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation as part of a panel of people labeled as being “from the Left” who oppose the Equality Act, a bill that would add “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to existing nondiscrimination laws. The January event was moderated by Ryan T. Anderson, an anti-LGBTQ activist who has previously hosted other TERF activists at the Heritage Foundation to attack trans-inclusive legislation.

    On the panel, Beck said, “There are only three sexualities -- homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual; all the hip new identities in the alphabet soup like nonbinary, gender-fluid, [and] pansexual are not actually sexualities. Neither is transgender.” She added that the “T” in LGBTQ is “diametrically opposed to the first three letters” and claimed that transgender identities “undermine and erase homosexuals.” She also said the definition of a woman is limited to an “adult human female,” echoing a rallying cry of the U.K.-based TERF movement.

    Beck spoke on the panel alongside Kara Dansky, a leader of the TERF group Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) who has also appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight. During her 2017 interview, Dansky said, “We're called transphobic bigots because we ask questions about gender identity. We're asking questions and we're standing up for women and girls.”

    Another TERF activist has recently leveraged her anti-trans beliefs into a flood of sympathetic coverage from right-wing outlets.

    Meghan Murphy, who founded the pro-TERF blog Feminist Current, is suing Twitter after she was banned from the platform for intentionally misgendering and deadnaming a transgender person. Deadnaming is the act of calling a transgender person by the name given to them at birth that they no longer use and that does not align with their gender identity, and it is a violation of Twitter’s new hateful conduct policy. Right-wing media rushed to cover Murphy’s lawsuit after she posted a YouTube video about the ban, leading to favorable coverage from Quillette, The Federalist, National Review, The Daily Wire, Townhall, The Spectator, LifeSiteNews, the Washington Examiner, and The Daily Caller.

    Right-wing media suggest TERFs are liberals; in fact, they’re aligned with extreme right groups

    Right-wing outlets seized on Murphy’s self-identification as a “feminist” as evidence that anti-trans reactionaries do not solely come from the far-right. On his Fox show, Carlson similarly identified Beck as a feminist and claimed that WoLF leader Dansky is a “radical feminist” and “not on the right at all.” And during their appearance together on the Heritage Foundation panel, which was titled “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left,” Beck expressed her surprise at participating in an event hosted by a conservative think tank.

    TERFs’ embrace of supposedly feminist aesthetics and rhetoric can make it more difficult for media consumers to identify what they really stand for, and right-wing media take advantage of this confusion to push the illusion that activists “on the Left” share their anti-trans agenda. But TERFs are distinctly on the side of right-wing groups, and they have even allied with the efforts of national anti-LGBTQ groups to oppose trans rights in the judicial system.

    In 2016, WoLF sued the Obama administration after it issued guidance to public schools regarding transgender students’ access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. In the suit, WoLF alleged that these accommodations would lead to “indecent exposure” and “voyeurism” -- a claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked. In reality, transgender people are more likely to be victims of harassment, assault, and discrimination in bathrooms than to be perpetrators of such crimes.

    In G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, WoLF submitted an amicus brief filed jointly with the Family Policy Alliance, a national anti-LGBTQ group with an alliance of state groups that work to deny LGBTQ people their civil rights. The brief argued against extending Title IX protections -- which “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance” -- to include gender identity. WoLF’s brief was submitted in support of a school district that refused to accommodate the needs of a transgender student.

    WoLF also filed a brief in the Doe v. Boyertown Area School District case in support of a client of the extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom, who sued his school district for allowing transgender boys to use the same restrooms and locker rooms as him.

    Another coalition, called Hands Across the Aisle, which includes TERFs as well as conservative Christians, has also been actively supporting anti-LGBTQ groups in their legal actions against transgender civil rights. Like WoLF, the group filed an amicus brief in the Boyertown case supporting ADF’s efforts to roll back protections for transgender students.

    Hands Across the Aisle also wrote a 2017 letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson urging him to rescind protections implemented by the Obama administration in 2016 for transgender people seeking assistance in homeless shelters. The letter was signed by dozens of leaders of various anti-LGBTQ groups such as the Family Policy Alliance, Concerned Women for America, and the Texas Eagle Forum. (A prominent member of Hands Across the Aisle, Meg Kilgannon, was recently interviewed on Fox’s The Ingraham Angle about the group’s opposition to transgender athletes.)

    One prominent TERF has also connected with extremist movements overseas to support reactionary movements seemingly unrelated to her anti-trans agenda. Kellie-Jay Minshull, who goes by Posie Parker, recently traveled to Norway for a conference where she posed with far-right Hungarian politician, Holocaust denier, and Islamophobe Hans Lysglimt Johansen.

    Additionally, Parker has repeatedly expressed support for far-right anti-Muslim activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson. Robinson, another former Tucker Carlson Tonight guest, has also expressed anti-trans views in a video for far-right media outlet The Rebel.

    Right-wing media misleadingly suggest TERFs demonstrate a division within the LGBTQ community

    The idea that TERFs are liberal feminists -- bolstered by right-wing media -- helps create the illusion of a growing division within the LGBTQ community over transgender civil rights. In reality, mainstream LGBTQ rights organizations support and campaign for transgender civil rights, and lesbian institutions such as the Dyke March explicitly champion issues impacting transgender and gender-nonconforming people while also preserving pride events as a form of radical protest. Civil liberties advocates have also taken on the Trump administration’s anti-trans agenda and sued on behalf of transgender people for their right to access public accommodations. There is no such “divide” among mainstream feminists and LGBTQ advocates regarding the inclusion of transgender people in the queer community, as TERFs would like us to believe.

    In a piece about U.S. TERFs for Bitch Media,Tina Vasquez wrote that the debate over transgender rights “is not just feminist-theory inside baseball. Though outspoken, politically active trans-exclusionary radical feminists are relatively few in number, their influence on legislation and mainstream perceptions of transgender people is powerful and real.”

    Right-wing media figures like Carlson -- who has time and again demonstrated his intimate familiarity with extremist movements and a willingness to champion their causes -- are pushing a larger agenda that is anti-transgender, which includes denying trans people health care, expelling them from the military, and legally undermining their existence. And along the way, they’ll undoubtedly continue to uplift TERFs’ viewpoints under the guise of progressive feminism. But other media outlets and media consumers should be aware that nothing could be further from the truth; without transgender people leading the way, LGBTQ liberation cannot take place.

  • In an unaired segment, Tucker Carlson had a meltdown after a guest exposed his hollow criticisms of the super rich

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT & MADELINE PELTZ

    Dutch historian Rutger Bregman has released a video of an unaired interview he gave to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, in which host Tucker Carlson has a meltdown and uses profanity against Bregman after the historian mentions Carlson’s wealth as a reason why he doesn’t discuss certain topics on his show.

    On February 11, Bregman tweeted that Carlson “just called me a ‘fucking moron’ during a prerecord for his show for pointing out that he’s a millionaire funded by billionaires.” He later tweeted a screenshot of a message that said “below is a message from Tucker Carlson directly” and quoted Carlson as calling Bregman “an asshole” and “far dumber, more dogmatic and less impressive than I expected.” The next day, Bregman asked Carlson on Twitter why he didn’t air the interview on his show the night before and advised him to air it and “try to resist the temptation to edit, I've recorded the full thing - including that moment when you start swearing profusely.” One of Carlson’s producers released a statement to Splinter News that said Bregman turned the segment “into an obviously calculated personal insult campaign” and that “we … respect our audience’s time too much to consider airing it.”

    Bregman eventually gave the video to NowThisNews, and the outlet released it on February 20. According to Bregman, he “chose to release it, because I think we should keep talking about the corrupting influence of money in politics. It also shows how angry elites can get if you do that.”

    The unaired segment shows that Carlson’s recent attempts to distinguish himself as a supposed critic of capitalism are nothing more than empty platitudes. After Bregman proposed higher taxes on the wealthy as a means to mitigate the harms of inequality, the Fox host pivoted to avoid endorsing or rebutting the idea. But when Bregman said to him, “You are a millionaire funded by billionaires and that’s the reason you’re not talking about these issues” Carlson went off the rails and began cursing: “Why don’t you go fuck yourself, you tiny brain -- and I hope this gets picked up because you’re a moron. I tried to give you a hearing but you were too fucking annoying.”

    When Tucker Carlson criticizes “elites” like corporations, he ultimately brings it back around to ethno-nationalism and demonizes immigrants. Bregman has done a tremendous service: By showing that the real problem is the wealth gap, he exposed Carlson’s position as a fraud. Carlson’s ongoing campaign to mainstream white nationalism is fundamentally incompatible with the project of reducing inequality.

    The only shame is that Carlson’s audience will never hear about it.

  • On abortion and women in the workforce, Tucker Carlson sounds a lot like white supremacists

    Blog ››› ››› MADELINE PELTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    After a state legislator in Virginia proposed a bill to remove barriers to abortion access, right-wing media went on the attack. Fox News and other outlets have blatantly lied about the bill (which has since been tabled), calling it legalized “infanticide” and levying other false and misleading accusations, all as part of a campaign to delegitimize attempts to protect or expand abortion access. Fox host Tucker Carlson, himself a booster of anti-choice extremists, argued that “the investor class” pushes abortion on regular people because its members want women to “stop breeding” and join the workforce, adding that “pro-choice means pro-corporate.”

    TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): In other words, abortion boosts markets. It frees women from the tiresome demands of motherhood and allows them to fulfill their higher duty, which is to corporations. Childless women make more dutiful, obedient workers. They can work longer hours. They take less time off. They are loyal to company first. This is all great for GDP. Chelsea Clinton and the rest of the investor class strongly approve of it. Stop breeding and get to work. That’s how they feel.

    So this is the real reason our elites so enthusiastically support abortion. It doesn’t set you free; it won’t make you happier. But it will make companies more profitable and that’s what matters most to them. Pro-choice means pro-corporate. Whatever else he’s done, [Virginia Gov.] Ralph Northam has made that clear.

    His argument that liberal elites want women to have access to abortion so they can enter the workforce is false, sexist, and paternalistic -- and it overlaps with the rhetoric of racist extremists in the “alt-right” world online. Carlson’s misogynistic view that women should not have control over their own bodies also tracks with his efforts to mainstream white supremacist talking points, as there are clear connections between racism, anti-choice activism, and virulent misogyny. There’s significant overlap between Carlson’s rhetoric and the views expressed by white nationalist online media personalities, who, in turn, love Carlson for his on-air racism.

    After President Donald Trump lied about abortion and made a hollow appeal to women in the workforce in his State of the Union speech, Richard Spencer, a white nationalist credited with coining the phrase “alt-right,” lamented that increased employment meant fewer children will “be born and cared for.”

    Faith Goldy, an “alt-right” online personality who in 2018 ran a failed mayoral campaign in Toronto and earned Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) endorsement, quoted Trump’s comments on working women, then added, “Meantime, US birth rate has hit an all-time low” quipping sarcastically that it’s probably “unrelated.”

    White nationalist YouTube personality and men’s rights activist Stefan Molyneux claimed it’s “very sad” that more are women working -- which Carlson said is the result of abortion access -- because it leaves them “little time for play and connection” with children at home.

    Carlson also said that abortion proponents want women to “stop breeding,” which dovetails with a dog whistle meant to stoke fear of demographic change in America. Molyneux echoed this sentiment on Twitter earlier this month, saying that immigrants and their children are dependant on welfare funded by white people and this is driving down white birthrates.