White supremacist commentator Pat Buchanan endorsed the rhetoric of the alleged El Paso, TX, mass shooter in a recent column, writing that his claim that there’s an “invasion” of the country is “an accurate and valid description.” That type of toxic commentary could be a preview of what’s coming soon to public television: Buchanan is one of the co-stars of the upcoming relaunch of The McLaughlin Group.
Maryland Public Television (MPT) recently announced it will “market, promote, and distribute the program nationally through an agreement with American Public Television.” The weekly public affairs program will start airing in the Washington, D.C., and Maryland markets next month and then “exclusively on public television stations nationwide and digital platforms in January 2020.” Buchanan was a panelist on the prior iterations of the program, including when it briefly aired on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Washington, D.C., affiliate last year.
Numerous writers have criticized Buchanan’s inclusion in the relaunch. Buchanan has a history of openly pushing white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted on Monday: “Especially as white supremacist violence surges, it is irresponsible and dangerous to give Pat Buchanan a public platform for his repugnant #antiSemitic, white supremacist and homophobic views. Public TV stations must keep this hate off the airwaves.” McLaughlin Group host and conservative writer Tom Rogan responded to Media Matters' criticism of Buchanan's role on the relaunch by tweeting: “Media Matters being insane as usual.”
Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce noted that while white supremacy is “literally getting people killed, a public television station has decided to roll back the stone and bring back Pat Buchanan, who is responsible more than most people for injecting this poison into the body politic generally and into the Republican Party in particular.”
MPT told Media Matters last week: “Public media provides a big tent for the expression of many points of view. The McLaughlin Group has been a long-time staple on public TV. It’s a program series viewers appreciate for its wide range of views and perspectives, as well as the lively debate on issues that takes place among its panelists.”
Buchanan penned an August 9 syndicated column just days after the shooting in which he criticized Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden for saying that Trump has encouraged and emboldened white supremacy. Buchanan wrote: “What had Trump done to invite such a charge? The key piece of evidence linking Trump to the mass murderer of El Paso, is a single phrase out of a 2,000-word screed posted on social media, allegedly by the gunman minutes before carrying out his atrocity.” Buchanan added: “[The El Paso shooter] said he was striking this blow against the ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas.’ And Donald Trump has often used that term, invasion, to describe the crisis on the border.”
He then defended the anti-Hispanic and white supremacist rhetoric of the alleged shooter, writing:
Yet the word “invasion” to label what is happening on America's Southern border long predated Trump, and, moreover, is both an accurate and valid description.
Consider. There are, by most estimates, at least 11 million migrants in the United States illegally, the equivalent of the entire population of Cuba. Lately, migrants have been crossing the Mexican border at a rate of 100,000 a month. If one had to choose a word to describe graphically what is going on, would it not be invasion?
What a panicked establishment, and its stable of candidates, is doing is transparent. By declaring “invasion” — a legitimate description of what is transpiring on the Southern border — to be inherently racist, it is conceding the word has power and is an effective weapon in the political arsenal of those the establishment seeks to censor, stigmatize and silence.
Buchanan himself has repeatedly labeled undocumented immigration an “invasion.” His 2006 book is titled State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. His 2001 book is titled The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. He used the “invasion” rhetoric in his presidential campaigns.
He’s also been a frequent promoter of the white supremacist “great replacement” theory, to which the alleged El Paso shooter subscribed. In a January 2018 column, for example, Buchanan warned against admitting non-white immigrants, saying that “Americans have the sovereign right to discriminate in favor of some continents, countries and cultures, and against others” and concluding: “Mass immigration means an America in 2050 with no core majority, made up of minorities of every race, color, religion and culture on earth, a continent-wide replica of the wonderful diversity we see today in the U.N. General Assembly. Such a country has never existed before. Are we on the Yellow Brick Road to the new Utopia — or on the path to national suicide?”
In 2011, he appeared on the “pro-white” radio show The Political Cesspool, which is hosted by white nationalist James Edwards. Buchanan warned the audience about the dangers of the United States losing its white majority. From the show:
JAMES EDWARDS (HOST, WHITE NATIONALIST): Moving on to another aspect of your excellent new book, which I have a review copy right here on my desk in the studio, you write that white America is an endangered species. Pat, what's America going to look like if indeed whites do become extinct?
PAT BUCHANAN: Well, I don't think whites are going to become extinct. But certainly not in the near future. But what is happening, as you see in California, where Americans of European descent are already a minority and that is true in Texas and it is true, I believe, there is one other, New Mexico and Hawaii. And in this decade, I think, six more states will pass the tipping point where whites become a minority.
I think the best way to understand what America will look like is to look at California today. I think that is pretty much what America will look like. The Hispanic population will be immense. A 150 -- excuse me, 135 million, according to the Census Bureau statistics, and if you look at California, the golden land, which used to have -- I mean everybody went there, it was paradise. The soldiers who went out to the Pacific came home, went through there, and then went out and made their homes. And what is happening out there, James, is that -- I mean, look at the bond ratings, it's at the lowest in the country. The taxes are enormously heavy, they're on the well-to-do and the successful. It is what they're doing in the country now and these folks are leaving the state and many of the poor, illegal immigrants, one-third of them head for California, you've got a black-brown war of the underclass going on in Los Angeles, according to Sheriff Lee Baca, in the gangs and in the prison, and of course the welfare state is bankrupting California. And they've got some of the highest taxes in the nation. So I think--this is what the country is going to look like.
In 2011, a white supremacist murdered 77 people in Norway and also had online writings about his worldview. Buchanan responded to that by writing that the killer is “evil” but added that when it comes to “a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one,” the killer “may be right.” Buchanan has also repeatedly defended Adolf Hitler, including writing that “though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core,” he was “an individual of great courage.”