Angelo Carusone and Dean Obeidallah discuss Tucker Carlson's normalization of white supremacy on Fox News
Carusone: "You stick a slightly-too-small blazer on it...you’re saying literally the exact same thing but it’s much more palatable"
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From the September 13 edition of Sirius XM Progress' The Dean Obeidallah Show:
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DEAN OBEIDALLAH (HOST): Let’s talk about Fox News' mainstreaming of white supremacy through a couple people, but specifically Tucker Carlson, who I refer to, Angelo, I call him Tucker Klansmen -- I'm not sure if that’s correct or not, but that’s the name I’ve given him. And I want to play a clip for you that -- we didn’t talk about it last week on the show, and I'm glad you’re on to talk about him slamming diversity. But that’s a subtle thing. I had another clip of him and I’ll play it in a few minutes once we talk about this one from the spring which was literally jaw-dropping how off the charts -- But first, let’s play a little bit from Tucker Carlson last week attacking diversity in America, clip five please.
OBEIDALLAH: A lot of questions there by Tucker, but clearly the idea of "tell us why diversity is a strength," he attacked diversity. What’s your reaction when you first heard that -- it's a part of a longer run, his attack on diversity?
ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT OF MEDIA MATTERS): The big thing is really what, him being a translator for what people -- if you show somebody something from the KKK, you know, they say, "Oh yeah, that’s obviously bad, it’s from the KKK and it's super racist, yeah, of course. It’s terrible, I don’t support that." But if you take that exact same idea, right, and you stick a slightly-too-small blazer on it, you put it on television, and you put a chyron under it, and then you put the right production around it and you just modify the language enough, right, you’re saying literally the exact same thing but it’s much more palatable. And so what I -- what my reaction to this, especially the big reaction to that clip, was that this has been Tucker Carlson’s role and strength for the larger right-wing movement, in particular the white genocide movement, since day number one. When he was first announced as Bill O’Reilly’s replacement, the headline on Daily Stormer, which is the largest white nationalist publication --
OBEIDALLAH: Oh, I know them, they’ve come after me.
CARUSONE: They are -- the headline, the big thing was "Tucker Carlson is literally our greatest ally, I don’t believe that he doesn’t hate the Jews."
OBEIDALLAH: Are you serious? How come I didn’t see that anywhere?
CARUSONE: Oh yeah, completely, and that was the day that he was announced to take over the show.
OBEIDALLAH: I can’t believe it.
CARUSONE: So there was an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm. And one thing that was very obvious from the beginning was that part of his approach was actually to directly extract the notions from the white genocide movement, which is sort of white supremacists, ethnonationalists, white nationalist, kind of all believing that white culture is dead, so they kind of fit under this big umbrella. His producers, the very first couple of weeks of the program, you could actually see the producers going into parts of the alt-right and white nationalist-adjacent online message boards, some of the subreddits that are extraordinarily racist, and saying, "I’m a producer from Tucker Carlson." We’ve checked, it was legitimate, they were actually Tucker Carlson’s producers -- they were saying, "We want your ideas, we want to know what the show topics are." And if you go back and track, you can actually see very clearly why, for the majority of the time that Tucker Carlson has been on the air so far, many of his segments are actually echoes from things that are taking place that -- it’s the latest men’s rights outrage of the day, or it's, "This thing on my college campus happened so my free speech is being suppressed," or it is these -- it is the top-line narratives from the white genocide movement. And what he is really doing is taking the core ideology and distributing it, infecting it to a much larger audience. And if you go back and look, you can take segments that he has done over the year and line them up with very, very prolific YouTube videos or podcasts from prominent white nationalists, and he has literally -- at some points he has literally verbatim sections are being ripped entirely from these programs and he is just putting them on air. So that was my reaction, it was, "Oh boy, this is exactly what he was going to do from day one, and he’s doing it pretty effectively."