Why White Supremacists Like Richard Spencer Can't Get Enough of Tucker Carlson

Fox News host Tucker Carlson became the new cable news king in May of last year, just one month after replacing Bill O'Reilly.


"Fox viewers love him because he takes on the liberal elite, and Fox executives love him because he’s not embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal," explains Vox correspondent Carlos Maza. "But there’s someone else who really likes Tucker Carlson." 

Richard Spencer, David Duke and the Daily Stormer website have all given Carlson's anti-immigrant segments an enthusiastic thumbs-up. 

"American history is full of demagogues who used the myth of immigrant crime to smear marginalized groups," adds Maza. "But what makes Tucker different, and what makes white supremacists like him so much, is that aside from the haircut, he doesn’t look the part of a David Duke." Instead, Carlson "makes anti-immigrant propaganda look mainstream."

"Tucker Carlson is kind of a restatement of all of these things in a kind of neat, well-dressed package," explains Chip Berlet, the co-author of Right Wing Populism In America. "His whole way of packaging information is designed to give plausible deniability while cementing the bad idea in the minds of the viewers."

"This is a common trick that demagogues use to shape the already entrenched prejudices of the audience," Berlet continues.

In March, Carlson's coverage of two undocumented immigrants accused of raping a classmate—a case that was eventually dropped—helped catalyze his rise to the top.

"It was the perfect Tucker Carlson story, because it let him peddle an old-school, racist trope about immigrants being rapists without having to actually say it outright," Maza explains.

Instead, the Fox News host borrowed from Trump's memorable presidential campaign announcement in June 2015. 

"Sometimes, when foreign countries send their people here," prefaced Carlson, "They are not sending their very best."

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