Fox News personalities have responded to the revelation that a white supremacist terrorist used language echoing their own in a manifesto explaining the reasons for his attack by defending their use of that language and denying that white supremacy poses a problem in this country.
On Saturday, a gunman massacred 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, TX. He wanted to stop a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas and prevent the political “replacement” of whites by people of color, according to a manifesto he reportedly posted on 8chan. Last October, another white supremacist obsessed with that purported “invasion” killed 11 people at a Pittsbugh synagogue.
This rhetoric was once restricted to the fringe domains of hardcore white supremacists and conspiracy theorists. But it is now eerily familiar to anyone who regularly watches Fox. The network’s commentators regularly describe migrants seeking asylum or a better life in the United States using the martial terminology of “invasion,” echoing President Donald Trump’s use of the same terminology. And hosts like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have mainstreamed the white supremacist “great replacement” theory to their audiences of millions of people, while issuing dire warnings about how immigration is “destroying America.”
Since the weekend’s massacre, the network has doubled down.
Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, who has used “invasion" rhetoric at least seven times this year, defended President Trump’s use of that verbiage on Tuesday. “When you have over 110,000 people coming a month, over a million last year, and then well over a million this year -- If you use the term an ‘invasion,’ that’s not anti-Hispanic. It’s a fact,” he said.
Ingraham responded similarly to criticism of the president’s use of the term on Tuesday night. “A lot of people have called it an invasion over the years -- that’s not all that surprising today,” she said. She also argued that it is the Democrats who are feeding “racist hate,” adding that they are “going to end up getting more people hurt” by “branding all Trump supporters as deplorable racists.”
On his program, Carlson argued that white supremacy “is actually not a real problem in America.” He termed the argument to the contrary a “lie” and a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”
“I've lived here 50 years. I've never met anybody -- not one person -- who ascribes to white supremacy,” Carlson concluded.
White supremacists frequently praise Carlson’s show for promoting their own talking points. The Daily Caller, the conservative news site Carlson founded, has fired multiple senior editors for their links to white supremacists. One of them appeared on Carlson’s show in 2017 to discuss the perils diversity causes to white men.