The racist conspiracy theory embedded in the manifesto of the mass killer who shot 11 Black people in Buffalo on Saturday was mentioned hundreds of times by Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, reports show.
According to a New York Times investigation, no other public figure has championed the theory that white people will be replaced by Black people and other minorities more than Carlson.
The paper found that from 2018 to 2021, Carlson pushed the idea that Democrats and elites want to change the population to dilute the white vote and empower “more obedient voters from faraway countries” on 400 episodes of his popular show.
Many decried Carlson after the shooting. Some called him “a national disgrace” and demanded that he be removed from the air for “inciting violence.”
“The Buffalo killer’s manifesto reads like a job application for a junior producer on Tucker Carlson,” political strategist and “never-Trump” former Republican Rick Wilson said in May 14 tweet.
Despite the uproar and findings, Carlson absolved himself from responsibility on his show on Monday night. Carlson distanced himself from the “mentally ill” shooter, Payton Gendron and dispelled the idea that the 180-page document the shooter posted online was a manifesto. Carlson said the coverage of the masscre is being used to push Democrats’ attack on freedom of speech and purport race politics.
“The document is not recognizably left-wing or right-wing. It’s not really political at all. The document is crazy,” Carlson said. “It’s the product of a diseased and disorganized mind. At one point, Gendron suggests that Fox News is part of some global conspiracy against him. He writes like the mental patient he is — disjointed, irrational, paranoid.”
The full document that outlines Gendron’s plan to go on a shooting rampage in a Tops Friendly Markets store in East Buffalo has been held back from the public. In it, Gendron harped on low fertility rates among whites to back the concept of white replacement.
The replacement theory evolved from French writer Renaud Camus’ “Great Replacement Theory,” promoted in his 2012 book with the same name in 2012, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Camus wrote that a mass migration of Black and Muslim immigrants would replace traditional European culture. The theory was reproduced in America in 2015 by white supremacist groups, the ADL says.
It fueled the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. A swarm of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen and other white supremacists held banners and flags with the slogans, infamously carried torches and chanted, “You Will Not Replace Us” and “Jews Will Not Replace Us.”
Different adaptions of the replacement theory have been cited by other mass killers: Patrick Wood, who targeted Latinos in El Paso, Texas; Dylann Roof, who killed nine Black worshipers at a South Carolina church; and Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand.
Gendron doted on Roof and expressed special admiration for Tarrant in the document that he referred to his manifesto. The 18-year-old said Tarrant was the person “who had radicalized him the most.” He reportedly watched the live stream of Tarrant’s terror attack on the mosques and read his writings.
Gendron wrote that he first read about the racist conspiracy theory on 4Chan, an anonymous forum, during the COVID-19 shutdown. His plans for the attack “actually got serious in January,” he said.
Gendron researched neighborhood demographics before targeting the area closest to home to “kill as many Black people as possible.”
“If there’s one thing I want you to get from these writings, it’s that White birth rates must change. Every day the White population becomes fewer in number,” the document says. “To maintain a population, the people must achieve a birth rate that reaches replacement fertility levels in the western world that is about 2.06 births per woman.”
The producers of the Tucker Carlson Tonight also visited the same online channels as the Buffalo shooter, a former Fox News political editor told The New York Times. The show averaged 3.2 million viewers and was the No. 1 show on cable in 2021, according to Adweek.
According to the paper’s analysis of Google data, Google searches for “replacement theory” jumped after the New Zealand and El Paso shootings and when the ADL and other groups demanded Carlson be fired for pushing the theory on Fox.
“Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it, ‘Ooh, the white replacement theory,'” Carlson said in the April 2021 episode. “No, no, no, this is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they are importing a brand-new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American, guaranteed at birth, is one man, one vote. And they are diluting it.”
GOP lawmakers have also spewed the theory, according to reports.
U.S. Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York alleged that Democrats planned to grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants to “overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
Stefanik’s office rebutted criticism of the resurfaced ad.
“Despite sickening and false reporting,” the congresswoman “has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement,” a spokesperson for Stefanik said.
Carlson on Monday night referred to racism as “immoral.” He then flipped the narrative, saying that “professional Democrats” coordinated a plan “to blame those murders on their political opponents.”
“‘They did it!’ They said immediately. ‘Payton Gendron was the heir to Donald Trump.’ They told us ‘Trumpism committed mass murder in Buffalo,’ and for that reason, it followed logically, ‘we must suspend the First Amendment,'” Carlson said, showing footage of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York Attorney General Leticia James rebuking hate speech on social media.
“So what is hate speech? Well, it’s speech that our leaders hate. So because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views out loud,” Carlson told his viewers. “That’s what they’re telling you. That’s what they’ve wanted to tell you for a long time. But Saturday’s massacre gives them a pretext, a justification.”