The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion How do the immigrants who run Fox feel about Tucker Carlson’s anti-immigrant rants?

Tucker Carlson. (Richard Drew/AP, File)
Placeholder while article actions load

Tucker Carlson, the top-rated host on Fox “News” Channel, has been attracting attention for a while with his vile rhetoric against immigrants. Yet now he’s reached a new low.

Carlson is a child of privilege: His father is a wealthy businessman and former ambassador, his stepmother an heiress to the Swanson frozen food fortune, and he grew up in the tony precincts of La Jolla, Calif.. And now he is becoming richer and more famous than he already was by consistently abusing some of the least fortunate and most vulnerable among us — especially immigrants from non-European countries.

As the left-leaning Media Matters for America has chronicled, Carlson has a long history of ugly statements. He has called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and said that Afghanistan is “never going to be a civilized country because the people aren’t civilized.” He has complained that an influx of poor immigrants “makes our own country poor and dirtier and more divided.” He has repeatedly described immigration as an “invasion,” and called the urgent threat posed by white supremacists a “hoax” and “a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

The Guardian noted in 2019 that there were already disturbing parallels between Carlson’s rhetoric and that of white supremacist killers in El Paso, Tex., and Christchurch, New Zealand. For example, in one of his books, Carlson wrote: “When confronted or pressed for details, [proponents of diversity] retreat into a familiar platitude, which they repeat like a zen koan: diversity is our strength. But is diversity our strength? The less we have in common, the stronger we are? Is that true of families? Is that true in neighborhoods or businesses? Of course not.”

Follow Max Boot's opinionsFollow

And here is what the fiend who killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques said in his manifesto: “Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength? Does anyone even ask why? It is spoken like a mantra and repeated ad infinitum …. But no one ever seems to give a reason why. What gives a nation strength? And how does diversity increase that strength?”

On Thursday night, Carlson moved even closer to white supremacist ideology by explicitly endorsing the Great Replacement theory, which holds that shadowy elites are orchestrating a plot to replace native-born White people with immigrants of color. The New Zealand shooter’s manifesto was literally headlined “The Great Replacement,” and the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

Carlson knows exactly how toxic the word “replacement” is when used in the context of immigration, but he nevertheless put his imprimatur on it: “Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

It is certainly accurate, as Media Matters writes, that “every Fox News advertiser bears responsibility for the beaming of this vile rhetoric to millions of people.” I would add that cable systems also have responsibility for beaming out this bigotry. But do you know who else bears responsibility? The top management and the directors at Fox. Ironically, many of those individuals are immigrants themselves.

The founder and co-chairman of Fox Corp. is, of course, Rupert Murdoch, a mogul who was born in Australia and now spends a lot of time in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The co-chairman and CEO is his son, Lachlan Murdoch, who was born in London and now lives in Australia. The person who is often said to be the most powerful day-to-day executive at Fox is Viet Dinh, a Vietnamese refugee born in Ho Chi Minh City who is now the corporation’s chief legal and policy officer. The lead outside director is Jacques Nasser, a former Ford CEO who was born in Lebanon and grew up in Australia. Another Fox director is Anne Dias-Griffin, the founder and chief executive of Aragon Global Holdings, who was born and educated in France.

This is not a comprehensive list. No doubt there are other senior directors and managers of Fox who are immigrants — and even more who are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. How do they feel about Carlson’s odious aspersions on Americans who weren’t born here? Are they okay with profiting from what Carlson is saying? And is Carlson okay with their presence in America? Isn’t he worried that they are taking the jobs of native-born media executives? Or does his hostility to immigrants exclude those who are his bosses?

Of course, responsibility for Carlson’s vile rants extends to native-born Americans too — people such as former House speaker Paul D. Ryan, who also sits on Fox’s board. They too must be made to answer whether they think that it’s acceptable for a major cable network to spread white supremacist rhetoric at a time when (contrary to Carlson) the threat from white supremacist terrorists has never been higher. The irony, of course, is that, by their very success in America, so many senior Fox leaders disprove Carlson’s bigoted assumption that immigration is a source of weakness for this country.

Read more:

Erik Wemple: Fox News would be in trouble without ‘actual malice’ standard

Greg Sargent: Josh Hawley’s ugly rant unmasks the fraudulence of the anti-‘wokeness’ crusade

Max Boot: In office, Trump was the greatest threat to U.S. democracy. Now it may be Tucker Carlson.

Max Boot: Tucker Carlson should stop pretending he cares about the women and men in uniform

Erik Wemple: Never forget Fox News’s promotion of the ‘Big Lie’