The great replacement

Fresh Air did a conversation about Tucker Carlson of Fox “News” yesterday.

If you follow cable TV at all, you probably know that Fox News host Tucker Carlson is one of the most influential commentators in conservative media and one of the most provocative. He’s known for praising authoritarian leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and warning his viewers about the dangers of foreign immigrants and elites who want to control their lives. Our guest, New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore, recently wrote a series of articles about Carlson drawing on an analysis of more than 1,100 episodes of his show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” conducted by Confessore and a team of Times reporters as well as interviews with dozens of current and former Fox executives, producers and journalists.

One thing they found, to the surprise of no one, is that Carlson isn’t careful about truth.

CONFESSORE: Well, I thought it was important to capture his whole story. And I set into this with an open mind. On many occasions, I asked myself, so what is Carlson correct about on his show, and what’s he wrong about on the facts – not on the opinions but on the facts? And what we found, first of all, was just a long pattern of overhyping and wrong facts and misleading statements on the show. You could pick almost any show and find one.

“Wrong facts” are not facts at all. (Again, as with Tatchell, this is just the product of live interview-having to think on your feet: flubs are inevitable.)

Upshot: they found a lot of racism.

And I’ll give you one example, which we can come back to. This idea of replacement theory – you’ve probably heard about it. And even if you’re not paying much attention to cable news, you’ll probably recall that last spring he got in some hot water for saying, yeah, the elites in this country are trying to replace Americans with obedient people from what he called the Third World.

Now, that is a direct borrowing of language and concept from white nationalists and not just conservatives. I’m talking about people who are neo-Nazis, open nativists, white nationalists, people who get together in dark corners of the internet, mostly, and propound theories about how a cabal of elites – sometimes Jews, sometimes broader – are trying to replace Americans. Now, that theme hadn’t just popped up on the show last April. A version of it has been present in 400-plus episodes of the show.

But then what is it to “replace Americans”? It’s a nation of immigrants. The immigrants mostly displaced (and abused and genocided) the people who had been living here for centuries. Americans who aren’t Native Americans are all the product of immigration. (I suppose you could say the same about the people who moved in when the Bering Sea wasn’t a sea, but that was a hella long time ago.)

Then they play a sampler of Carlson saying The Thing. The breaks indicate different shows.

TUCKER CARLSON: They can embrace the issues the middle class cares about, or they can import an entirely new electorate from the Third World and change the demographics of the U.S. so completely they’ll never lose again.

Democrats know if they import enough new voters, they’ll be able to run the country forever.

Dramatic demographic change means many Americans don’t recognize where they grew up.

As with illegal immigration, the long-term agenda of refugee resettlement is to bring in future Democratic voters.

Illegal immigrants are the key to their power.

The point is to import as many new Democratic voters as possible.

The whole point of their immigration policy is to ensure political control, replace the population.

This policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.

That last one startled me a bit. Legacy? Wtf? In the cutthroat world of university admissions, legacy students are children of alumni/ae who wouldn’t otherwise get in. I guess “Legacy Americans” are the ones who get to be here because their very preppy ancestors got here before them? Something like that?

CONFESSORE: Well, we went and looked. We were like, so where does he get that? Where did that come from? We could find no trace of that phrase in mainstream media until he started using it. Where we found it was far-right sites. It was VDARE, which is a nativist site also popular with white nationalists, with some other corners of the internet. He literally plucked that phrase from the racist right and started using it on the air on Fox News.

DAVIES: And it means what?

CONFESSORE: You know, it’s a little bit of code, right? It doesn’t explicitly mean white Americans, although certainly it suggests people who are already here – right? – or have been here for some generations. And it harkens back to an earlier era, Carlson’s childhood and mine, when America was not just majority white but disproportionately and overwhelmingly composed of white citizens. So when I hear legacy Americans, I hear a dog whistle.

Preppy. Preppy, white – same thing.

(Not really. Preppy just assumes white; it’s much more about class. Class, money, and class.)

More later.

5 Responses to “The great replacement”