tags: Press Releases

“White Supremacy is a Poison” and “Silence is Complicity”: Republicans and Fox News Are Complicit on Both Counts

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Washington, DC – Regarding the white nationalist conspiracy theories that motivated the Buffalo gunman, President Biden stated yesterday:

I call on all Americans to reject the lie.  And I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit … White supremacy is a poison.  It’s a poison — (applause) — running through — it really is — running through our body politic … Silence is complicity.  It’s complicity.  We cannot remain silent.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York spoke on the Senate Floor and wrote a letter to Rupert Murdoch and Fox News executives, calling on them to stop peddling the lies, fear, and hate embedded in replacement theory:  

I write to urge you to immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called ‘Great Replacement Theory’ on your network’s broadcasts. Proponents of this white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theory believe that a complicit or cooperative class of elites are advancing a plot designed to undermine the political power and culture of white Americans. For years, these types of beliefs have existed at the fringes of American life. However, this pernicious theory, which has no basis in fact, has been injected into the mainstream thanks in large part to a dangerous level of amplification by your network and its anchors.

The response? Senator Mitch McConnell dodged questions. Rupert Murdoch said nothing. Meanwhile, Elise Stefanik doubled down, saying Democrats are scheming to replace Republican voters. Ted Cruz doubled down, saying that those seeking asylum at our southern border constitute an invasion, as if they are a hostile enemy rather than desperate neighbors seeking refuge. And Tucker Carlson started his show last night with a sneering, taunting and defiant recitation of the Great Replacement Theory.

The call for accountability is growing louder. Below are just a few of the many commentators who are calling out the leadership of the Republican Party and the leadership of Fox News for being silent as colleagues mainstream hate and fear that leads to murderous terrorist attacks on innocent Americans:

  • Michael Gerson in Washington Post, “GOP leaders ought to banish officials who embrace ‘replacement theory’”: “The perpetrator of this mass murder will not be given impunity. But the racist ideas closely associated with such killing are being granted impunity daily within the Republican Party. The problem is not just that a few loudmouths are saying racist things. It is the general refusal of Republican “leaders” to excommunicate officials who embrace replacement theory. The refusal of Fox News to fire the smiling, public faces of a dangerous, racist ideology.”
  • Renée Graham column in Boston Globe, “With the Buffalo massacre, Fox News has blood on its hands — again”: “For decades, Fox News has stirred racism, seething white animosities, and conspiracy theories. And every time that pot inevitably boils over, the network pretends it was nowhere near the kitchen. Carlson won’t own his responsibility for injecting into the mainstream beliefs that ended Black lives in Buffalo just as surely as their assassin’s hail of bullets. As the body count of innocents continues to grow, another American city prepares to bury its dead, and Carlson’s unvarnished doses of the baseless white grievance that killed them remain just a click away.”
  • Jamelle Bouie in the New York Times, “The Slaughter in Buffalo Hasn’t Quieted the Great Replacement Caucus”: “Republican politicians and conservative media personalities who traffic in this rhetoric did not create the idea of the ‘great replacement,’ but they have adopted it. They have chosen to swim in the same ideological waters as the people responsible for these shootings and have chosen to amplify the ‘great replacement’ theory to the world even as it poisoned minds and produced violence. It is clear that some of these politicians have made a cynical decision to adopt this rhetoric for the sake of gaining power.”
  • Elvia Díaz column in the Arizona Republic, “Why is Rep. Liz Cheney the only Republican telling the truth about the Buffalo shooting? “U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is calling out her own, saying that House Republican leadership ‘has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism.’ … calling out fellow Republicans’ white nationalistic tendencies that fuel violence like the horrific shooting over the weekend that left 10 dead in Buffalo, N.Y. … It has happened too many times before to excuse it as anything other than violence, fueled by a white nationalism that, unfortunately, the Republican Party has embraced … Of course, not all Republicans and Republican leaders are white nationalists. But even the sensible ones have fallen into the grips of that horrific movement by staying silent – purely for personal political ambitions.”
  • Alex Shephard in The New Republic, “The Great Replacement Theory Is Just Republican Orthodoxy Now: “Whether for ratings or votes, these ideas are now central to the Republican Party’s political messaging: that they are the one thing holding the country back from total chaos; that voting for Democrats will inevitably lead to policy shifts that will, in quick succession, lead to the downfall of the white race.”

The following is a statement from Zachary Mueller, America’s Voice Political Director:

President Biden is right. White supremacy is a poison, silence is complicity, and we  must reject the lie. Yet as Elise Stefanik, Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson throw gasoline on the fire, Mitch McConnell and Rupert Murdoch say nothing. 

The silence is deafening. Instead of excommunicating or condemning their candidates and elected officials who are peddling white supremacist conspiracies, leaders of the GOP and right wing media care more about the grievances of their MAGA base than the safety of all Americans from terrorist attacks. They care more about their power than our democracy.

Let’s be clear: the lies of “replacement” and “invasion” are a direct attack on the American people and American democracy. Those who refuse to denounce and marginalize those attacks are promoting them. Enough is enough.