As the nation continues to process the news of a mass shooting that occurred at a Buffalo, New York supermarket, many have drawn attention to the fact the shooter—who is reported to have written a 180-page manifesto released prior to the attack—subscribed to the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory often touted by Fox News personality Tucker Carlson.
Replacement theory is a conspiracy theory that states White European populations and their descendants are being demographically and culturally replaced with non-European peoples.
Several key facts came to light after the shooting.
Firstly, 10 people were killed during the shooting and three others were injured. 11 of the victims were Black.
Secondly, the shooter, who was arraigned in a Buffalo court and entered a not guilty plea to multiple charges of first-degree murder, identified as a White supremacist and voiced support for the conspiracy theory in his manifesto, which dedicates significant time to criticizing mass immigration.
Thirdly, the shooter had a racist slur written on his weapon and shouted some during the shooting, according to survivors. The shooter, who livestreamed the attack on Twitch, is shown in a viral video clip apologizing to a White man in the supermarket before sparing his life and continuing to shoot others.
So how does Carlson fit in?
Carlson has been accused of using his program to stoke resentment against people of color and a recent New York Timesseries noted he has "constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news."
Critics of Carlson pointed out he has pushed numerous racist conspiracy theories on his program, including replacement theory. He has often railed against liberal immigration policies, providing an enormous platform for White nationalist rhetoric.
When Carlson hasn't been using his program to spout his own rhetoric, he invites others to do it for him, such as when he generated controversy last month hosting University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Amy Wax, who claimed Black people and “Third World” immigrants hold “resentment and shame and envy” against White people because of their "outsized achievements and contributions.”
Many pointed out these racist beliefs have become a major part of mainstream conservatism and voiced harsh criticism of Carlson and his program, noting his long history of promoting racist rhetoric.
The Republican Party has shown it is significantly fractured in regard to the shooting.
Earlier today, Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney had harsh words for Republican leadership, saying her party enables the “White nationalism” that led to the shooting.
Cheney said "House GOP leadership has enabled White nationalism, White supremacy, and antisemitism," and stressed Republicans "must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them."
By contrast, New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik, who replaced Cheney as the House Conference Chair after Cheney pushed back against former President Donald Trump’s lies about the integrity of the 2020 general election, suggested the shooting had nothing to do with White nationalism even though the shooter espoused multiple White nationalist talking points in his manifesto.
The Washington Post called out Stefanik, noting she also pushed replacement theory on more than one occasion.