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Carlson seeks distance from Buffalo shooting

The Hill logo The Hill 5/17/2022 Dominick Mastrangelo
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Fox News host Tucker Carlson on his Monday night show criticized the man accused of killing 10 people in a racist attack in Buffalo, N.Y., as “paranoid” and a “mental patient.”

He also sought to blame Democrats, President Biden and the media for politicizing the shooting at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood by a suspect seemingly motivated by the racist “great replacement theory” that poses there is an intentional effort to supplant the white population and its power in the United States with members of minority groups.

Carlson has come under criticism for advancing the conspiracy theory, but in his opening monologue on Monday, he noted the shooter accused Fox News of being part of a “global conspiracy” against him in a 180-page document posted online before the attack.

“He writes like the mental patient he is. Irrational, disjointed, paranoid,” Carlson said. “Now that’s true, not that it makes the atrocities he committed easier to bear. If your daughter was murdered on Saturday you wouldn’t care why the killer did what he did or who he voted for.”

Carlson eventually pivoted to arguing the racist attack would serve as a “pretext” for political leaders to suppress speech.

“So what is hate speech? Well, it’s speech that our leaders hate,” Carlson said. “So because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views out loud. 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 and a justification.”

The Buffalo shooting is just the latest in a string of killings by white supremacists targeting Blacks, Hispanics and Jewish people.

Video: Under pressure: Tucker Carlson’s debunked conspiracy theory cited by Buffalo shooting suspect (MSNBC)


In 2019, a shooter posted a manifesto of white supremacist and anti-immigrant views before killing 19 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The suspect’s writings signaled the attack was intended to victimize Latinos.

In 2018, 11 people were killed and seven wounded at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in one of the deadliest antisemitic crimes in U.S. history.

The attacks have intensified the scrutiny on Carlson and a number of GOP politicians who have amplified the idea of the replacement theory in various ways.

Carlson did not mention replacement theory in his monologue on Monday but decried racism.

The New York Times in an analysis last month reported that Carlson had mentioned variations on the replacement theory idea in more than 400 episodes of his top-rated show since 2016.

Earlier on Monday, a Fox News spokesperson pointed to statements before Saturday’s attack from Carlson condemning political violence.

Carlson on Monday played clips from various talk shows a day after the attack featuring politicians and pundits criticizing social media companies for not doing more to monitor disinformation and hateful content on their platforms.

The shooter in Saturday’s attack briefly livestreamed the mass killing on Twitch before it was taken down by the company shortly after it began.

Carlson also predicted President Biden would “use” the attack to paint Republicans in a negative light. Biden is scheduled to visit Buffalo on Tuesday.

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