Fox hosts Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, and Tucker Carlson
Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

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Fox News’ “invasion” rhetoric by the numbers

  • On August 3, a shooter opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, TX, killing 22 individuals and injuring dozens more. The alleged shooter reportedly released a manifesto just prior to the massacre stating, “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Similar rhetoric invoking an invasion of the United States by migrants has become increasingly prevalent and mainstream in large part due to Fox News and President Donald Trump

    In 2019 alone, Fox News’ fearmongering about a migrant invasion prior to the El Paso massacre included:

  • Over 70 on-air references to an invasion of migrants

  • At least 55 clips of Trump calling the surge of migrants an invasion

  • 24 references to an invasion on Fox & Friends, Fox & Friends First, and Fox & Friends Weekend, combined 

  • 21 uses of invasion rhetoric by hosts Tucker Carlson, Brian Kilmeade and Laura Ingraham. Calson spoke of the United States being invaded on nine occasions, including stating, “This is an invasion, and it’s terrifying.” Fox & Friends host Kilmeade used the rhetoric on seven occasions, twice calling it a “flat-out invasion.” And Ingraham used invasion language five times, including during a segment with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. 

  • 4 elected Republicans using invasion rhetoric: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), Rep. John Rose (R-TN), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who invoked an invasion on two separate occasions 

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  • 2 “Breakfast with Friends” segments on Fox & Friends featuring diners calling migrants coming to the United States an “invasion.” In one segment, the interviewed diner, who was running for city council, claimed migrants crossing the border were “a threat to our way of life and the safety of our families.” 

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  • 2 Rush Limbaugh appearances on so-called “straight news” shows in which he pushed invasion rhetoric

  • At least 1 example of a Fox host doubling down on the use of invasion rhetoric following the El Paso shooting. Kilmeade argued, “If you use the term 'an invasion,' that's not anti-Hispanic. It's a fact."