As noted by The New York Times, Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show may be the most racist show in the history of cable news. But the right-wing host on Thursday insisted that he is not a racist and swatted away suggested ties to white supremacist ideology, arguing that the people he hates are well-educated white liberals, especially educated “barren” women.
During a tense interview at an event on Thursday, Carlson was pressed by journalist Ben Smith about his racist rhetoric on his nightly show on matters of immigration, race relations and demographic changes in the American electorate.
The journalist played a widely shared clip from one of Carlson’s recent shows in which the host argues that Democratic politicians are working to “replace” what he called “legacy” Americans with new voters from other countries.
Critics have likened comments like those to so-called great replacement theory, a racist ideology that suggests white people are being deliberately replaced by minorities.
A recent analysis conducted by The Times found Carlson has mentioned variations on the replacement theory idea in more than 400 episodes of his show since 2016. But Carlson denies he’s pushing the racist theory.
“If you were to look at my texts, or listen to my personal conversations or read my mind, you would find no instance where I’m like, I’m mad at black people,” Carlson said. “one hundred percent of the people that I’m mad at are well educated, white liberal, in my mind, the sort of archetype of person I don’t like is as a 38-year-old, female white lawyer with a barren personal life.”
Smith pressed Carlson specifically about a number of staffers that formerly worked on his show who were found to have posted on white supremacist message boards, something Carlson argued at the time he did not know about.
“Why have you been flypaper for racists?” Smith asked Carlson at one point during the testy back-and-forth about the Fox host’s comments on race.
“I’ve never had a white supremacist work for me. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to a white supremacist,” Carlson said “I’m not sure what that means. I know it’s a slur and the worst thing that a person can be. I don’t really understand the terms.”
He added; “I believe that people are not defined by their race, any race,” Carlson said. “People are defined, their value is derived from the fact that they were, A, created by God, and, B, by what they do, by the choices they make. They’re not part of some larger group, they’re individuals. I believe in the individual, and I say that virtually every night.”
To critics who assert that Carlson is a racist, he said, “I don’t know what to say to you.”
Smith also asked Carlson about Fox’s place in the American political discourse and the pressures of the cable news ratings race that underpins the industry.
“I’ve been in TV for 27 years, I don’t know how to read a ratings chart. Ask anyone who works for me,” Carlson said. “I never look a the ratings, I’m not on the ratings e-mails. … I don’t know what my ratings are, and I mean that, you may not believe me, I don’t own a TV. That’s true. So I’m actually never thinking about ratings.”
Carlson during the interview called smith “a propagandist” for questioning his racist rhetoric.
Watch the full interview HERE (begins at 1:26).