Some on Fox News are refusing to back down from using hateful rhetoric warning of an immigrant invasion, even though the gunman in El Paso, TX, cited this inflammatory rhetoric as his motivation for killing 22 people, most of whom were Hispanic.
Minutes before the gunman opened fire on a Walmart in El Paso, he published a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto online. He wrote of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and warned that immigrants were replacing America’s white population, drawing from the white supremacist theory of “great replacement.” The gunman’s rhetoric in his manifesto can be regularly head on Fox News and from others in conservative media. A Media Matters study found that in 2019 alone, Fox News referenced an invasion of migrants over 70 times; Fox personalities have also repeatedly warned that immigrants are coming to “replace” Americans.
Since the shooting, President Donald Trump and Fox News have faced broad accusations of mainstreaming white supremacy. Still, the network is clearly not offering much self-reflection. While anchor Sandra Smith at one point pushed back on a guest using the term “invasion,” others on the network have continued to use that rhetoric -- including a different guest speaking on America’s Newsroom alongside Smith. Some have also defended their prior use of the term and denied that such language had anything to do with the El Paso shooting, insisting instead that it is simply a factual description of what is happening at the border.
Three days after the shooting in El Paso, Fox host Laura Ingraham defended calling migration an “invasion,” saying that “a lot of people have called it an invasion over the years.” Her guest Michael Meyers, president of the New York Civil Rights coalition, agreed that “it is an invasion.”
Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade insisted that using the term “invasion” isn’t “anti-Hispanic. It’s a fact.”
Fox Nation host Todd Starnes insisted that “we have been invaded by … a rampaging horde of illegal aliens,” adding that he thinks “that’s a fair description.” He compared the perceived “invasion” of immigrants to “Nazis invading France and Western Europe.”
Frequent Fox News guest Brad Blakeman insisted that “there is an invasion on our southern border” and complained that “Democrats are trying to weaponize that word.”
Fox host Tucker Carlson went even further when he referred to the problem of white supremacy in America a “hoax.”