— Fox News host Tucker Carlson, remarks during his evening news show, Sept. 22
We tend to focus on statements made by politicians, not pundits. But Carlson has such an outsized influence on the political rhetoric within the Republican Party that we are going to make an exception here.
At issue here is how Carlson used a 2015 clip of then-Vice President Joe Biden to make the claim that Biden has some sort of secret plan to flood the United States with undocumented immigrants to accomplish what Carlson called “the great replacement” — what he describes as “the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.”
Never mind that Biden’s special envoy for Haiti just resigned to protest the Biden administration’s “inhumane” deportation of Haitian migrants. Carlson is not describing correctly what Joe Biden said six years ago.
Carlson snipped just half a minute from a six-minute riff that Biden had made at a 2015 White House global conference on confronting global extremism. The three-day event, with representatives from more than 60 nations, was hosted by then-President Barack Obama after a wave of terrorist attacks in Paris, Sydney, Copenhagen and Ottawa.
This is a good example of manipulated video, as defined by The Fact Checker’s guide. It’s what we label “isolation” — sharing a brief clip from a longer video that creates a false narrative that does not reflect what happened.
Here’s Biden’s comments in the clip that Carlson played:
“An unrelenting stream of immigration, nonstop, nonstop. Folks like me who were Caucasian, of European descent for the first time in 2017 will be in an absolute minority in the United States of America, absolute minority. Fewer than 50 percent of the people in America from then and on will be White European stock. That’s not a bad thing. That’s as a source of our strength.”
As the video above shows, this clip takes Biden’s remarks out of context. In fact, Carlson even clips out the first part of the “unrelenting stream” sentence. Biden had started by saying “So the second thing in that black box,” which would have indicated that Biden was midstream in a thought.
It was a long thought — about six minutes of commentary, beginning with the fact that the city of Boston came together as a community after the bombing during the Boston Marathon. “I’m not suggesting to the press or any of our guests that I think America has all the answers here,” Biden said. “We just have a lot more experience. By that I mean, we are a nation of immigrants. That’s who we are.”
Then, he observed, “it started all the way back in the late 1700s. So there's been a constant, unrelenting stream of immigration, not in little trickles, but in large numbers.”
Biden noted he had been in Singapore with Lee Kuan Yew, the legendary former “president” — he meant prime minister — who died about a month after these remarks, and they had discussed China.
“What are the Chinese doing now?” Biden says he asked Lee.
“He said to me, and speaks perfect English, he said, ‘They’re in America looking for the buried black box,’ ” Biden said, adding that he was initially puzzled by the comment. Lee explained: “They’re looking for that secret that allows America to constantly be able to remake itself unlike any other country in the world.”
Biden replied that the first part of the secret is “there is an overwhelming skepticism for orthodoxy.” (This is pretty much the opposite of replacement theory, which is presumably why Carlson did not air this section of Biden’s remarks.)
The second part was the “unrelenting stream of immigration” which he said was a source of U.S. strength. (This is the brief section Carlson aired.)
“I don’t want to suggest we have all the answers, but we have a lot of experience of integrating communities into the American system,” Biden continued after the clip aired by Carlson. “The American Dream. … It’s not merely that we’re a melting pot, but we’re proud to be a melting pot.”
He added that “the most important lesson we’ve learned — we don’t always practice it — is that inclusion counts.” Here Biden made a reference to the fact that his Irish forebears were met with skepticism when they arrived in the United States in the late 1800s, encountering signs that said “No Irish need apply” and anti-Catholic prejudice.
“We still have problems,” Biden concluded. “But I’m proud of the American record on culture and economic integration, of not only our Muslim communities but African communities, Asian communities, Hispanic communities.”
Somehow Carlson paraphrased this as Biden saying “that non-White DNA was the source of our strength” — which he declared was “the language of eugenics, it’s horrifying.” But that’s not what Biden said at all. It’s just an invented interpretation by Carlson.
Carlson also casts this as part of a plot to eliminate White America but note that Biden referred to “White European stock” no longer being a majority. The Census Bureau counts Muslims and Iranians as Whites, which is one reason the White, non-Hispanic population is 57.8 percent of the U.S. population in the 2020 Census.
The Pinocchio Test
Through manipulative clipping¸ Carlson grossly misrepresents Biden’s immigration remarks in service of attempting to prove a baseless conspiracy theory. He earns Four Pinocchios.
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