If you watched the country’s most popular cable news network this weekend, you would have littleidea what motivated the terrorist attack in Buffalo and certainly no idea it was one the the network’s favorite hate points:
Fox News programming went virtually silent on the racist conspiracy theory that reportedly inspired a mass shooting over the weekend, largely refusing to mention the so-called “great replacement” theory by name in its coverage of the massacre. Fox’s decision to avoid the topic stood in stark contrast to its cable news competitors, which discussed the shooter’s racist motivations at considerable length. It also represented an about-face for Fox, which has previously been more than happy to spread racist “replacement” paranoia.
On Saturday afternoon, an 18-year-old man entered a supermarket in a majority-Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, and shot 13 people, killing 10. The alleged shooter broadcast his attack on the livestreaming service Twitch and published a 180-page manifesto detailing his beliefs and motivations, including the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory.
The conspiracy theory, originally popularized in right-wing online communities before joining the conservative mainstream, claims that a cabal of liberals and Jews are trying to “replace” white Americans in the population and remove them from positions of power. The theory has been routinely promoted by Fox News personalities, including prime-time stars Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.
On Fox, coverage in the immediate aftermath of attack took on a stalled quality, while other cable news networks dedicated wall-to-wall coverage to the act of terrorism. Between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., the most watched “news” network in the country aired reruns and pretaped programming, limiting coverage of the shooting to a handful of short news bulletins. When live coverage resumed at 10 p.m., it was clear that Fox’s on-air talent had received their marching orders that the network’s coverage would do its best to omit references to the conspiracy theory.
Epistemic closure gets more closed all the time.
A reminder that the network’s star host thinks that eliminating racial hierarchy in immigration law was the “worst attack on American democracy in 160 years”:
3. What was the “Immigration Act of 1965”? It repealed the racially discriminatory National Origin Formula, that ensured almost all immigrants were white people from Northern and Western Europe.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 15, 2022
5. Greenwald says there is “no racial hierarchy” in Carlson’s view of immigration.
Carlson says the elimination of a racial hierarchy in our immigration system was the worst attack on the country in 160 years.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 15, 2022