Tucker Carlson distances himself from Buffalo suspect Payton Gendron’s replacement theory

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Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has distanced himself and the network from the alleged shooter in Saturday’s killing of 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket, who allegedly wrote a paper supporting the “great replacement theory,” a a once-fringe racist idea that has been a refrain for Carlson and other prominent conservative media figures.

In doing so, Fox News’ most-watched host argued Monday night that the lengthy document allegedly released by Payton S. Gendron that invoked the idea that white Americans were at risk of being “replaced” by people of color because of immigration and higher birth rates was politically unmotivated, and that the Democrats’ response to the mass shooting was an attack on free speech.

“What he wrote doesn’t add up to a manifesto,” Carlson said, noting that what Gendron allegedly wrote was racist. “It is not a model for a new extremist political movement, much less the inspiration for a racist revolution. Anyone who claims he is lying or hasn’t read it.”

Carlson did not directly mention the racist theory during the monologue at the top of his show. The host, who denounced racism and described the 18-year-old Gendron’s alleged document as “an incoherent pastiche of catchphrases and internet memes, some of which flatly contradict each other,” said: “The document is not recognizably from left or from right. to the; it’s not really political at all. The document is crazy.

Carlson, who has faced scrutiny from critics such as Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) in the days after the shooting for repeatedly promoting parts of the replacement theory on his show, lashed out at media outlets and President Biden, accusing Democrats of using mass shootings to curb conservative free speech.

“So what is hate speech? Well, it’s a speech our leaders hate,” she said. “So, because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, he can’t be allowed to voice his political views out loud. That’s what they’re telling you. That is what they have wanted to tell you for a long time, but the massacre on Saturday gives them a pretext, a justification.”

Carlson’s comments come as a Washington Post review of more than 600 pages of messages found that Gendron, who is white, decided in February to target Buffalo’s Tops grocery store based on its local black population. In the 180-page document that Gendron, of Conklin, New York, is suspected of writing, he indicated that he became radicalized online. Gendron’s alleged document does not mention that he saw Carlson or his program.

Suspect in Buffalo shooting wrote about plans 5 months ago, messages show

Gendron has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with an attack on Saturday that was streamed live online.

The replacement theory once espoused by white far-right extremists has gained attention in recent years thanks in part to Carlson promoting it to millions of viewers. She has mentioned variations on the idea in more than 400 episodes since 2016, according to a New York Times analysis of his show.

Conservative media are familiar with alleged Buffalo suspect ‘theory’

Hours before Carlson’s show on Monday, Schumer directly accused Fox News and Carlson of fomenting hate in the nation by “spewing” the “poison” of the racist “great replacement theory.” In a speech before the Senate, Schumer also accused Republicans, who espouse the philosophy of former President Donald Trump, of spreading this dangerous rhetoric “that people of color and minority communities somehow pose a threat … to the style of American life.”

“This is replacement theory in a nutshell”, Schumer saying. “It is dangerous and a deeply anti-American worldview. It is poisoning the minds of people who spend hours wandering the darkest wasteland of the internet. And let’s be clear, it’s a message that has also found a special home in various right-wing outlets and on one cable news channel in particular, Fox News.”

Schumer, who called on Fox News to “stop spreading ideas like the replacement theory on its shows,” repeated the Times’ analysis that Carlson has mentioned versions of the theory more than 400 times.

“Four hundred times,” Schumer repeated. “This is poison being spread by one of the largest news organizations in the country.”

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois) echoed Schumer, saying on the Senate floor: “Ten people died in Buffalo. Will Tucker Carlson take 10 minutes to say that he regrets any role he played in that outcome? We’ll see.”

On his Monday show, Carlson opened the show by highlighting gun violence in the United States over the weekend, including the massacre in Buffalo. Calling the alleged document racist but not political, Carlson pointed to how Gendron allegedly suggested that Fox News was “part of a global conspiracy against him.”

“He writes like the mental patient he is: disjointed, irrational, paranoid,” he said, calling Gendron a “sick” mind. “Now that’s true, not that it makes the atrocities he committed any easier to bear. If his daughter was killed in Buffalo on Saturday, he wouldn’t care why the killer did it or who he voted for.

Carlson then turned his attention from the replacement theory and Gendron’s alleged writings to the reaction of Democrats who, he said, “coordinated a campaign to blame these murders on their political opponents.”

“‘They did it!’ they said immediately. ‘Peyton Gendron was Donald Trump’s heir,’ they told us. Trumpism committed mass murder in Buffalo,'” Carlson said.

The host also took aim at Biden, citing a Politico report on how the president “has begun telling his aides that he no longer recognizes the Republican Party, which he now sees as an existential threat to the nation’s democracy.” Carlson claimed that Biden, who visited families in Buffalo on Tuesday, was using “racial slurs to make his point.” On a chiron saying, “It’s time to treat people like human beings,” Carlson invoked the words of Martin Luther King Jr. before criticizing Biden for using what he described as “racial politics.”

“There is no worse behavior than this,” he said. “All racial politics is bad, regardless of the flavor of that politics.”

The Fox News host faced criticism on social media for not directly addressing the great replacement theory. Among those critics was Joe Walsh, the former Republican congressman from Illinois who has since become a vocal critic of Trump and his allies in the GOP.

[email protected] telling his audience that THEY are the victims. Not the 10 innocent souls killed in Buffalo,” Walsh wrote. “No, Tucker’s audience are the real victims here.”

Paul Farhi contributed to this report.

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