Media critic

Thursday saw a number of important stories surface in the national conversation. So Fox News host Tucker Carlson decided to open his show by slandering immigrants. “Our country’s economy is becoming more automated and tech-centered by the day, it’s obvious that we need more scientists and skilled engineers,” said the host on Thursday evening. “But that’s not what we’re getting. Instead, we’re getting waves of people with high school educations or less. Nice people, no one doubts that. But as an economic matter, this is insane.”

With that, Carlson had established his argument — immigration costs the country economically. But still he couldn’t steer himself from calumny: “It’s indefensible, so nobody even tries to defend it. Instead, our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poor and dirtier and more divided.”

Bolding added to highlight a noneconomic argument.

Over the balance of his opening topic, Carlson aired complaints from people in Tijuana, Mexico, about the impact of the caravan; one referred to an “invasion.” Carlson commented, “Well, it sounds like a Trump rally. When did Mexican citizens start talking like this? It’s confusing. And, of course, it’s also deeply hilarious and pretty satisfying to watch.” He also interviewed/scolded Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño from the United Methodist Church, who preached compassion for people coming into the United States from countries in turmoil.

“Why don’t you as a church make certain that every person you encourage to come here is fed and housed and educated and healed at your expense?” Carlson asked Carcaño, who denied encouraging immigration.

At the commercial break came an ad for Pacific Life.

On Friday morning, the Sleeping Giants Twitter account, which seeks to “make bigotry and sexism less profitable,” tweeted at Pacific Life:

And on Friday afternoon, Pacific Life announced that it was taking action:

Though the Erik Wemple Blog isn’t a big fan of advertiser pressure campaigns, we’d never want to place a spot for the Erik Wemple Life Insurance Blog in proximity to Carlson’s programming, which veers into bigotry as a matter of reflex, not to mention audience appeal. Go ahead — watch Carlson (video below) assert that immigration makes the United States “dirtier,” and observe the ease and hateful fluency with which he does so.

Pressure campaigns on advertisers are nothing new to Fox News. They account for the cancellation of Glenn Beck’s show in 2011 and Bill O’Reilly’s in 2017. Laura Ingraham’s prime-time show has suffered advertiser pullouts since she mocked David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting.

Media Matters for America spokeswoman Laura Keiter tells the Erik Wemple Blog that Pacific Life is “the first company that we’ve seen proactively announce that they’re reevaluating their relationship with Tucker’s show.” It’s unclear what the company’s reevaluation will entail. However, it should know that Carlson’s brand of immigration-bashing, airing of white grievances, questioning of diversity, factually compromised hyping of racial issues in South Africa and other random nastiness explain why white nationalists have taken a liking to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

A request for comment sent to Fox News didn’t fetch a response. However, a “Fox News spokesperson” did tell the Hollywood Reporter: “It is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs’ weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech. We continue to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions."

With that, Fox News accomplished a couple of things: (1) It declared that it wouldn’t be apologizing for the demonization of immigrants — doing so is too central to the network’s ethos — and (2) It carried forth the ideological battle themes that late founder Roger Ailes instilled in Fox News. When in trouble, always blame liberals.

Read more from Erik Wemple:

Tucker Carlson, the Daily Stormer’s favorite

Face it, Tucker Carlson: Your anti-diversity segment was racist

Trump echoes Fox News talking point on Fox News

Here’s the vandalism that protesters left at Tucker Carlson’s house

Stop threatening Tucker Carlson