Citizenship | PSHE

Grief and anger after US racist massacre

Is there a link to Fox News? No public figure has promoted “replacement theory” more loudly or relentlessly in America than Tucker Carlson, a host on Rupert Murdoch’s TV channel. A man buying treats for his young son’s birthday. A woman just back from visiting her husband at a nursing home. A security guard who knew every shopper by name. These are just three of the victims of a deadly mass shooting in the city of Buffalo in New York. On Saturday, 18-year-old Payton Gendron parked outside a supermarket, switched on a live stream and marched through the car park and into the shop, shooting 13 people. Ten died. In the wake of the attack, devastated Americans are debating its causes. For many, there is one culprit: the white supremacist conspiracy theory known as the Great Replacement. Gendron wrote a 180-page manifesto quoting it. The theory states that there is an international plot to eliminate White people. It suggests that perpetrators are “replacing” White people with people of colour, through migration and a drop in White birth rates. For years, replacement theory was not very well known. But it has recently gained more followers thanks to media stations like Fox News. One of the biggest draws on Fox is Tucker Carlson, presenter of the biggest cable news programme in history. Carlson has become a champion of replacement theory. He tells his 4.33 million nightly viewers that the Democratic Party is encouraging the growth of the non-White population because it sees them as guaranteed votes. Gendron says he was radicalised by online imageboards, not cable news. But some think Fox and Tucker Carlson are nonetheless responsible for bringing the theory into the mainstream. This is not the first attack motivated by that rhetoric, they say – and will not be the last. Is there a link to Fox News? Outfoxed Yes: Tucker Carlson’s critics say he has done more than anyone else to bring the Great Replacement into the mainstream. Millions of people now believe the same racist lies as the Buffalo shooter. No: Most White nationalist terrorists are still radicalised online, not by cable news. We need to be focusing much more on anonymous messaging boards, and not on cynical journalists pushing racism for ratings. Or... Fox News is probably not radicalising racist terrorists. But it might well be making an ever larger proportion of the US population sympathise with them. That should worry us just as much. KeywordsBuffalo - The second-largest city in the state of New York. It sits on the Canadian border.

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