Fox’s Tucker Carlson falsely claimed that Texas’ 2011 voter ID law, SB 14, “has nothing to do with race.” When pressed by his guest, attorney Monique Pressley, Carlson dismissed the notion that the law was found to have “not just discriminatory effect, but discriminatory intent,” saying, “If you break down the numbers, it’s a lie.”
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, several courts found that the law not only discriminated against minority voters but also was created with the “intent to discriminate against minority voters.” In 2016, a federal appeals court explained that under the law, “Blacks were 1.78 times more likely than Whites, and Latinos 2.42 times more likely, to lack” the proper ID necessary to vote. Experts suggested the law could disenfranchise nearly 600,000 Texans who “lacked an acceptable ID under the law.” Additionally, studies found that Texas inadequately educated voters about the ID requirements ahead of the 2016 election, and many voters in Texas did not go to the polls because they did not understand the law.
Carlson is not the first right-wing media figure to lie in order to defend the law, many of whom rely on the myth of widespread voter fraud, which research has repeatedly debunked. From the May 10 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): To scream racist at somebody, which is the new motif on the left, is not a discussion. You’re not adding to the sum total of anything.
MONIQUE PRESSLEY: I don’t think racism is new. I think, calling someone a racist when they are one may be new in that there was a time when people are who were treated disproportionately negatively because of their color --
CARLSON: This is just getting too stupid. I’m sorry, but it’s too irresponsible to just run around and say -- to cast blood libel on people without evidence. That’s all I’m saying.
PRESSLEY: It’s not blood libel, and it’s not lacking in evidence.
CARLSON: Yes it is.
PRESSLEY: If you look at the comments [Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)] made about Attorney General Sessions, they weren’t based on zero evidence. I think that racism, if you look at it by definition, it’s determined not by what your private thoughts are, but by what your public actions are. So when you look at someone, just since he’s been attorney general, Texas voter ID laws, immigration, we’re talking about racism.
CARLSON: OK. I can’t even – look, that’s a totally – you know what? I think I’m rising to your bait, because the things you’re saying are so false. And I guess I’m just too caught up in this whole linear detail thing.
PRESSLEY: I’m just responding, Tucker. Facts.
CARLSON: The Texas ID controversy --
PRESSLEY: The minute he gets in office, he puts a halt to it.
CARLSON: -- has nothing to do with race.
PRESSLEY: Has nothing to do with?
CARLSON: There’s no way to back up what you just said. It’s just false.
PRESSLEY: Except for that the courts, four different ones, and then finally found not just discriminatory effect, but discriminatory intent.
CARLSON: If you break down the numbers, it’s a lie. It’s a lie.
PRESSLEY: Well, if the courts got it wrong, I support them.
CARLSON: They did, and they can’t support it with the numbers.