How Tucker Carlson lied about a video of Joe Biden to push the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory
The “unrelenting stream of immigration” didn’t just begin recently, as the Fox host suggests — it goes back to the nation’s founding
Time and again, Fox News prime-time host and leading network voice Tucker Carlson has gone all-in to promote the white nationalist “great replacement” theory. But Carlson went even further still on Wednesday, accusing President Joe Biden of using “the language of eugenics” in an effort “to change the racial mix of the country” for political gain. And in order to attribute this supposed plot to the president, the Fox host also dishonestly edited a 2015 speech in which Biden extolled America’s virtues — along with the fact that immigration goes back a lot further than Carlson would ever want to admit.
The so-called “great replacement” theory posits that white people are being systematically “replaced” by people of color through mass immigration. The Guardian explained that the theory attributes this plot to “a shadowy group” planning to rule the world: “This group is often overtly identified as being Jews, but sometimes the antisemitism is more implicit.” The conspiracy theory has also been linked to far-right terrorists who committed mass shootings in both Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas, in 2019.
Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch has previously given Carlson the network’s full corporate support for his advocacy of the conspiracy theory, which had brought both praise from white nationalists and calls for his firing from the Anti-Defamation League.
On the September 22 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host showed his viewers what he described as a video of Biden “explaining the entire point of mass immigration back in 2015, when he was vice president.” The video then cut in on Biden seeming to describe “an unrelenting stream of immigration, nonstop, nonstop,” and noting that white people would soon no longer make up a majority of the U.S. population.
“In political terms, this policy is called the great replacement,” Carlson said. “The replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries.”
But actually watching the latest video as Carlson presented it, something becomes clear: The video began mid-sentence, as shown by the way in which Biden said “an unrelenting stream of immigration, nonstop, nonstop.”
So what else did Biden say, and what was he talking about in the first place? For that, it’s worth watching the entire speech from February 17, 2015.
Biden spoke at a White House summit on countering violent extremism, taking place in the context of ISIS-related terrorism, during which he touted the United States’ ability to include immigrant communities as offering an advantage over Europe. In explaining this, he actually used the term “an unrelenting stream of immigration” twice during the speech. (Carlson’s clip began at the second instance, even further separated from the original context.)
In fact, Biden spoke about the fact that America began as a nation of immigrants going back centuries — not just some recent policy, as Carlson dishonestly presented it to his viewers, but to the very foundation of the country itself.
“The God's truth is, we are a polyglot, we are a melting pot. It is the ultimate source of our strength, it is the ultimate source of who we are, what we've become,” Biden said. “And it started all the way back in the late 1700s, there's been a constant, unrelenting stream of immigration. Not in little trickles, but in large numbers.”
(Full transcript available here.)
Biden then recounted a conversation he had with the former Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew, who said that countries like China were looking for the figurative “black box” that “allows America to constantly be able to remake itself, unlike any other country in the world.”
After proposing that the relative lack of individual conformity in the U.S. education system was a key first element in America’s success, Biden then explained a second aspect — and it was here that Carlson’s production team cut the video to enter in mid-sentence. (Emphasis added on the words that Carlson clipped.)
“I said, ‘There's a second thing in that black box — an unrelenting stream of immigration, nonstop, nonstop.’ Folks like me who are Caucasian, of European descent, for the first time in 2017 we'll be in an absolute minority in the United States of America, absolute minority. Fewer than 50% of the people in America from then and on will be white European stock. That's not a bad thing, that's a source of our strength.
And so, we have been — we haven't always gotten it right. I don't want to — I don't want to suggest we have all the answers. But we have a lot of experience of integrating communities into the American system, the American Dream.
On a side note, Biden actually flubbed the key statistic he mentioned here: It was in the late 2010s that non-whites became an overall majority among children in the United States, though the population as a whole is not projected to reach that milestone until 2045.
But the talking point was enough for Carlson to twist even further, which really sums up his approach: dishonestly presenting Fox viewers with an image of fear and bigotry — and erasing America’s diversity from the American Dream.