YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN (HOOST): Since the tragic shooting of ten innocent Black civilians in Buffalo last week, conversations about replacement theory – that racist conspiracy that allegedly motivated this gunman – have been front and center. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the only place you have – you may have not heard much about it is Fox News. And that is more than likely because Fox host Tucker Carlson is the theory's most conspicuous promoter. A New York Times investigation published this month found that Carlson amplified this theory in more than 400 episodes on his primetime show. So you would think that someone like Tucker, who has promoted this theory literally hundreds of times wwould know replacement theory when he sees it. But that wasn't the case last week.
TUCKER CARLSON (FOX NEWS HOST): You've heard a lot about the great replacement theory recently. It's everywhere in the last two days, and we're still not sure exactly what it is.
VOSSOUGHIAN: So that's interesting. And here is what he said exactly 30 seconds later.
CARLSON: The Democratic Party has decided then, rather than convince you – people who are born here – that their policies are helping you and making the country better and stronger, they will change the electorate.
VOSSOUGHIAN:: So if that sounds familiar to you, it might be because you've heard it more than 400 times before. With me now to talk more about this is Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America. Angelo, as always, it's good to have you on the show. I kind of want to play two separate clips in which Tucker Carlson is talking about this replacement theory on his show, and then I'll have you react on the other side.
CARLSON: I mean, they're trying to change the population of the United States and they hate it when you say that because it's true. But that's exactly what they're doing.
CARLSON: The whole point of their immigration policy is to insure political control – replace the population, get a different outcome.
VOSSOUGHIAN: Angelo, And here's also what he said on January 3rd, 2020. As with illegal immigration, the long-term agenda of refugee resettlement is to bring in future Democratic voters. Obviously. Give me a reaction to those.
CARUSONE: I mean, this is pretty standard fare. And in fact, those are probably some of the lighter clips. The one that always jumps to my mind is when Tucker very explicitly embraced – explained great replacement theory to his audience last April, and said that Democrats were importing specifically people from South America, Central America, and Mexico because they were obedient – that was the word that he used – and therefore would reflexively vote for Democrats or do what they wanted. And when he got blowback from that, he got a very rare thing from Fox News, which is that Lachlan Murdoch actually came out and defended him. He basically gave him the green light to intensify his use of the great replacement theory as opposed to repudiating and admonishing for being an advocate for it.
VOSSOUGHIAN: What I think is interesting and incredibly worrisome is, in a way, Tucker Carlson is kind of denying that he's putting this out there and he's instead trying to make it more palatable, right, to his conservative viewing audience by pretending it's not necessarily this white replacement theory. Instead, you look at some of the polling here from the Associated Press. One-third of all American adults fear they are losing their economic, political, and cultural influence to immigrants, making it in a way this idea that is more palatable to people that are watching him. Tthat I think is more worrisome than anything.
CARUSONE: It is because right now a big part of the Republican strategy is to organize power on what used to be considered the fringes. So this kind of wink and a nod approach to taking what should be a really far out there and fringe ideology and pulling it into the center. I mean, some recent polling has said that nearly half of Republicans believe in some core tenets of the great replacement theory. You know, that is scary because it is a continuation of their strategy of escalating power on the fringes.
And Tucker obviously has the ability to do it. Remember, Rush Limbaugh is not around anymore. You know, he was the single largest get-out-the-vote operation for Republicans for about the last 30 years. And he's not here. So somebody has to fill that void. And so that void is being filled not just by a generalized bigot who basically went after everything, but somebody who is really taking something from the fringes and really organizing power around this one major conspiracy theory. And by the way, we call it a conspiracy theory because it says they're not just doing this thing, but that it's actually Jewish people that are the ones that are orchestrating it in order for them to perpetuate their power through the Democratic Party.
VOSSOUGHIAN:: Well, you honestly, outside of just Tucker Carlson, you take a look at the rundown of any of the shows on Fox News and I say rundown – that's basically if you're watching it on television, it's basically the setup of your show, what every segment is, right? And if you're looking at the kind of tick tock of any show on Fox News, for the most part right now, for instance, are leading with the immigration story. Right. This kind of fear-mongering, you think back to the former president talking about the caravan of immigrants that are coming towards the Mexican border and what that would mean for Americans and their jobs and their safety here.
CARUSONE: Yeah. I'm so glad you pointed that out, because one thing that kind of gets missed in this conversation sometimes and you pulled it right in is that it isn't just that Fox promotes great replacement theory, is that they also buttress it with other things. So, for example, in the last seven days, Fox News ran across the Network 55 demonstrably false claims that American babies were starving to death because Democrats were withholding formula from them to give it to immigrants.
VOSSOUGHIAN: All right. Angelo Carusone, thank you. Good conversation.