Conservative media figures dismissed an analysis from The New York Times showing hundreds of instances in which they used the same sort of anti-immigration rhetoric as the manifesto of the gunman who shot and killed 22 people in El Paso, TX, in early August.
El Paso mass shooter’s white supremacist manifesto echoed language used by prominent Fox News figures and other conservative media personalities
Multiple Fox News personalities have pushed rhetoric that white Americans are going to be “replaced” by non-white immigrants -- the same white supremacist conspiracy theory referenced by the El Paso shooter. The shooter wrote in his manifesto that he wanted revenge against “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” and warned of “cultural and ethnic replacement.” Media Matters showed that multiple Fox News personalities, including prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, had spread similar rhetoric on the channel. [Media Matters, 8/5/19]
NY Times: “There is a striking degree of overlap between the words of right-wing media personalities and the language used by” the shooter. The New York Times conducted its own analysis of the manifesto written by the El Paso shooter and found that his numerous references to an “invasion” by Hispanics and cultural “replacement” of white people overlapped in hundreds of instances with comments from prominent Fox News and other conservative media personalities, including Carlson and Rush Limbaugh.
Tucker Carlson went on his prime-time Fox News show in April last year and told his viewers not to be fooled. The thousands of Central Americans on their way to the United States were “border jumpers,” not refugees, he said. “Will anyone in power do anything to protect America this time,” he asked, “or will leaders sit passively back as the invasion continues?”
When another group approached the border six months later, Ann Coulter, appearing as a guest on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, offered a dispassionately violent suggestion about what could be done to stem the flow of migrants: “You can shoot invaders.”
A few days after, Rush Limbaugh issued a grim prognosis to his millions of radio listeners: If the immigrants from Central America weren’t stopped, the United States would lose its identity. “The objective is to dilute and eventually eliminate or erase what is known as the distinct or unique American culture,” Mr. Limbaugh said, adding: “This is why people call this an invasion.”
There is a striking degree of overlap between the words of right-wing media personalities and the language used by the Texas man who confessed to killing 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso this month. In a 2,300-word screed posted on the website 8chan, the killer wrote that he was “simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”
It remains unclear what, or who, ultimately shaped the views of the white, 21-year-old gunman, or whether he was aware of the media commentary. But his post contains numerous references to “invasion” and cultural “replacement” — ideas that, until recently, were relegated to the fringes of the nationalist right.
An extensive New York Times review of popular right-wing media platforms found hundreds of examples of language, ideas and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer’s written statement — a shared vocabulary of intolerance that stokes fears centered on immigrants of color. The programs, on television and radio, reach an audience of millions.
At the start of the El Paso suspect’s screed, he refers to the “great replacement,” a white supremacist conspiracy theory based on a French book that claims the migration of minority groups can lead to a “genocide” of white culture.
The El Paso suspect, who confessed to the mass shooting last week, claimed in the document he posted to be defending against a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The words “invasion” and “invaders” appear six times in the text, a stark parallel to the language heard on conservative television and talk radio today. [The New York Times, 8/11/19]
Conservative media respond by attacking NY Times and mocking concern over white supremacist rhetoric
Radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested a 14-year-old quote from then-Sen. Barack Obama was as incendiary as his own language. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed of the New York Times story that “they worried about me because I called this invasion a ‘flood’” and then played an audio clip of remarks then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) made in December 2005 in which he used the phrase “flood of illegals” to distance his own rhetoric from the shooter’s. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/12/19]
Limbaugh: NY Times story is just the latest attempt to sabotage me. During his second segment responding to the Times story, Limbaugh said it’s the latest in a long line of attempts to discredit him specifically and conservative media in general.
RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): I appreciate the emails that you have sent that I caught during the first breaks here in the program about not taking this thing in The New York Times today apparently seriously enough.
You know, when I know that there isn’t any truth to it, then that’s the primary reason I’m able to laugh at it. And I know the motivation behind it. They simply -- folks, they cannot defeat us on ideas or debates of ideas, in the arena of ideas.
It’s been a constant attempt by the left since I started this program to discredit me, to impugn me. And their purpose has been to make sure I don’t acquire an even larger audience. They are trying to poison the minds of people who don’t listen into never trying the program. That’s the objective of it, and that’s always been the objective.
Now we have an obviously deranged lunatic who is just part of the crowd that has been influenced, but only influenced, by conservative media. This guy apparently, according to The New York Times, was immune to being influenced by anybody else. He was incapable of making up his own mind or coming to his own deranged conclusions on his own. And this has been the baseline, or foundational, attack on me and all of conservative media since it began.
It’s actually an attack on all of you. That you’re dumb, uninformed hicks who don’t know anything and don’t think anything every day until you get marching orders after listening to this program or as a result of listening. This has always been absurd. And I think it’s always been a very weak and very, very telling admission on their part, and that is they hold average people in contempt. Average people are not smart enough to think on their own. They’re not smart enough to live life the right way. They’re not smart enough to make the right decisions, even with their own money.
So I don’t get worked up by it anymore because it’s been a feature of 30 years. And I’ll tell you this. By righteously opposing it and standing here -- sitting here -- pounding my fists on the table and acting out is not gonna stop it, either. I just mock it. I just try to make fun of it. And then I welcome other people to the montage. Now they’re adding -- you know, it used to just be me. Now they’re throwing a bunch of other people into it because conservative media has expanded and become so big that now their efforts to destroy conservative media go beyond me. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/12/19]
The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro dismissed those linking conservative media rhetoric to the El Paso shooter as a “conspiracy theory.”
BEN SHAPIRO (HOST): Again, I don’t like the language of “invasion,” and I don’t believe I’ve used it. If I had, I’m sorry I did, because I don’t think that it is correct. But I’m fairly certain I never did, because I never considered it a quote-unquote “invasion” when illegal immigrants cross our southern border. But -- and I certainly don’t believe in the idea of quote-unquote “racial replacement,” because I literally do not care about the races of people who live in America. I care about their ideas and their ideology.
But The New York Times decides that because there is language that sounds similar to stuff that Tucker Carlson has said, they’re now going to attribute this shooter to Tucker.
Again, this is a conspiracy theory. And a conspiracy theory, this one, is deliberately designed in order to link together basic conservative tropes about immigration with white supremacism. [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 8/12/19]
Breitbart News Daily's Alex Marlow: NY Times story is “such bad journalism,” and “they’re going to have blood on their hands” for taking the shooter’s manifesto seriously.
ALEX MARLOW (HOST): This is where I’m obsessed with this story from yesterday, where The New York Times had five bylines on how the El Paso killer echoed the incendiary words of conservative media stars and they cited something like 50 or 60 examples of [unintelligible] -- almost everyone on Fox News personalities using the term “invasion.” And this assumes so much -- it's such bad journalism because it is, it assumes a couple of key things.
First of all, it assumes that because the -- it takes the manifesto seriously, which I keep saying is a mistake that only will encourage more serial killers or more mass shooters. These are lunatic ravings that are designed to give attention. And to give attention to it, and to take it literally, it means that all you have to do is write something and then shoot people, and then you get a platform forever for whatever insane ideas you have. So I think the media taking these manifestos literally is actually going to -- they’re going to have blood on their hands if they keep doing this. But this has been the tactic of most of the media, to take the manifesto of the El Paso shooter seriously.
And the implication that if you used the word “invasion,” it means that you’re culpable for violence from one lunatic, who again, his idea of stopping the invasion was going to a Walmart and shooting a lot of people who were not invaders. That was his way of dealing with the invasion. So, it is -- and this just prints five bylines here. The New York Times. It takes five people to go through Fox News and say, “They used invasion,” the implication being this is why this guy shot people at a Walmart. It’s so stunningly irresponsible, even for The New York Times. [Sirius XM Patriot, Breitbart News Daily, 8/12/19]
Conservative blogger and pundit Erick Erickson mocked the Times’ analysis, saying it “blames the dictionary for El Paso shooting.”
Oh how awful. The shooter in Texas used the same language the President and Rush Limbaugh have used to talk about the caravans of illegal aliens flooding our southern border.
The particular word is “invasion.” That’s what the President called it. That’s what Rush Limbaugh called it. That’s what the dictionary calls it.
I realize many journalists and progressives will seal clap this story. They’ll get excited by it and might even go blind in the bathroom stall while reading it. But the technical term for a horde of people crossing the border without permission is “invasion.”
Has there been incendiary rhetoric? Absolutely. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused the United States of running a concentration camp and a leftwing radical used that same language to justify his firebombing of an ICE facility.
Most of the media has willfully ignored that.
They’d rather blame Rush, Tucker Carlson, Fox News, and Donald Trump.
They might as well blame the dictionary. [The Resurgent, 8/12/19]
Conservative radio host Mark Simone deflected to the Dayton, OH, shooter’s support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), calling the NY Times “a total joke.”
MARK SIMONE (HOST): Hey, the fake news has been -- you know, it’s been fake news for two years. Michael Goodwin wrote an incredible piece about The New York Times, how it went from being -- they used to call it the “Gray Lady,” the paper of record -- to being the sleaziest fake news organization ever. In fact, he’ll be with us later this hour and we’ll talk about it. But if you look at today's New York Times, they have an article, front page, above the fold, and it's a photograph of the El Paso shooter's manifesto with certain words underlined. It's a big -- right above the fold on the front page. The biggest place they could put it, and it's all about how look how the El Paso shooter's manifesto says similar things to the right-wing talking points. This is the big story. Now, nowhere in the paper does it mention that the Dayton shooter, his manifesto was all Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stuff. The Dayton shooter a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, quoting their stuff left and right. You think we'll see that article tomorrow? You think we'll ever see that article? This is why The New York Times has become a total joke. [WOR-AM, Mark Simone Show, 8/12/19]
Philadelphia talk show host Dom Giordano defended using “invasion” to describe the border situation and pushed the white supremacist “replacement” theory.
DOM GIORDANO (HOST): All right, the word of the day, according to The New York Times, front and center, is “invasion.” You can't say “invasion” anymore. Now they're going after not just Fox News, but talk radio, and they talk about how talk radio hosts and callers and others use this word “invasion.” Now, in fairness, I might start using it more now. I don't think I've used it enough. That's exactly what it is that's going on at the border. The numbers are staggering. It's a perfectly legitimate word.
Now the word they allege that the El Paso gunman used -- and they claim is being used a lot -- I guess Tucker Carlson -- and I see Tucker most nights -- is replacement. That’s the one you’re going to start to hear more. In other words, this plays into the big narrative that white working-class people believe they’re being replaced by people the Democrats, mainly open-borders crowd, want to bring into the country. And there are books, there are conspiracy theorists out there that this is an organized effort to do that exactly. Versus an outcome that comes out of this invasion. I mean, these people that were arrested in Mississippi -- did you see the outcome of this now?
Now these companies are going to be holding job fairs to have to replace these workers that were here illegally. And the theory is, and there seems to be some evidence of that, they’re going to have to up the wages and benefits. Bingo. So is that not a case of replacement, where they’re able to replace low-skilled high school graduates, or not even, that are in these tough jobs, meatpacking, and all that?
And by extension, even though I don’t think it’s a planned thing, it’s just an economic thing, they were replacing American workers in these industries. [WPHT-AM, The Dom Giordano Show, 8/12/19]