May 25, 2022

Commentary: Trump, GOP politicians and Fox News have mainstreamed hate

Fox News Channel has lost tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue since 2018, when host Tucker Carlson intensified his anti-immigrant vitriol.

Remember how shocking it was to see hundreds of angry men marching with Nazi symbols and torches in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017?

One of those men drove into counter-protesters killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more. That violence was a harbinger of today’s incidents of domestic terrorism. 

Former President Donald Trump emboldened white supremacists by referring to those neo-Nazis as “very fine people.”

At the time I was baffled by their chants, “You will not replace us,” but since 10 shoppers in Buffalo were murdered for simply being Black, the hateful meaning behind that white supremacist chant has become clear.

The 18-year-old white man accused of the Buffalo massacre claimed in his manifesto that he wanted to “kill as many Black people as possible,” and cited the “great replacement theory.”

That racist theory claims Jews are scheming to replace white people in this country with Blacks and immigrants.

In 2018, a gunman murdered 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He blamed Jews for helping migrant caravans from Central America. 

The refugee experience is a central part of Jewish history, and many Jews feel compelled to help migrants and asylum seekers. 

Tragically, because of their compassion and humanity, the gunman claimed: “I just want to kill Jews.” 

The next year a 21-year-old white man posted a hate-filled manifesto before killing 20 people and injuring dozens more at a Walmart in El Paso. 

He spoke of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and warned that white people were being “replaced” by foreigners.

Trump launched his presidential campaign with a hateful, racist rant calling Mexican immigrants drug dealers, criminals and rapists.

According to Media Matters, Fox News fearmongered about migrants and immigration in at least 693 segments in a 12-week period. 

Trump and some GOP lawmakers refer to immigration as an “invasion,” and Fox continues to use that term even after the El Paso tragedy.

The replacement theory isn’t new, but before Trump it wasn’t found in civil discourse because it was seen for the hateful, dangerous drivel that it is.

But now that despicable ideology has been “whitewashed” so nearly half of Republicans agree to some extent with that theory, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and NORC.

Fox host Tucker Carlson claimed it is absurd that “white nationalism is a mainstreamed position,” while playing a major role in sanitizing the racist theory.

The New York Times found Carlson claimed that left-wing elites encouraged immigration to reshape American politics more than 400 times. After the Buffalo massacre, he feigned ignorance of the replacement theory, then immediately espoused it

The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer loves Carlson and its founder said, “Tucker Carlson is literally our greatest ally.”

This theory is spewed not only by GOP fringe lawmakers who have spoken at white nationalist events, but also by Rep. Elise Stefanik, the No. 3 House Republican.

Stefanik replaced Rep. Liz Cheney who was ousted from her leadership position for telling the truth about Trump losing the election.

Cheney called out her colleagues after the Buffalo shooting saying, “The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism.” She asked GOP leaders to renounce those views, but that ain’t gonna happen.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused three times to renounce the theory, and Stefanik doubled down on it after the Buffalo massacre.

Last week, the House Democrats passed much needed legislation that would combat domestic terrorism, but only one Republican voted for it.

Whoever said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing,” was spot on.

Ashbrook is a contributing columnist for the Advertiser. She is a retired school teacher and may be reached at

Joni Ashbrook is a contributing political columnist for the Bastrop Advertiser.
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