There are times when I watch Fox News to keep an eye on how much further they will push the envelope of racism. Their ridiculous fear-mongering narrative of scary black people, preparing to storm through suburban neighborhoods murdering white folks for sport, has reached a fever pitch. I swear there are some nights it seems I can literally see the phonetic of the letter “n” form on Laura Ingraham’s tongue, and I sense that she stops herself just in the nick of time before adding the remaining “…i-g-g-e-r.”
As far-fetched as that might seem, the reality of FOX News’ rhetoric of late goes beyond vitriolic boundaries. At this stage, the network appears to have become a white supremacist breeding ground where black people are demonized for merely asking America to give a damn that we keep dying at the hands of law enforcement officers with disproportionate numbers and often unarmed.
FOX News facilitates and allows a mockery to be made of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, that movement now spans across all 50 states, and globally, with people of varied ethnicities finally joining to demand an end to the systematic racism. FOX’s anchors – and I used that term loosely, such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, have falsely mischaracterized Black Lives Matter as a hate group of rioters out to get white people. Their rabid base, of mostly Trump supporters, have embraced this mistruth.
Well, even by FOX News’ bottom-of-the-barrel reporting standards, this past Wednesday, Carlson crossed a line by defending and sympathizing with Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse is the 17-year-old criminal who had his mother drive him 20 miles from Chicago, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, with an AR-15 rifle in the back seat to “help protect businesses from rioters.” His actual intension, we now know, was to hunt down and kill protesters. He did just that, murdering two people with shots to the head, and a third victim suffered gunshot wounds to the arm that resulted in amputation.
Today, the internet is all abuzz with rumors that Rittenhouse, though a juvenile, has quite a rap sheet of past criminal charges. Those crimes include multiple misdemeanors, drug possession, failure to comply with police commands, and a charge for firearm operation while under the influence. I have not confirmed these alleged charges, but even without confirmation, Rittenhouse broke the law by having a gun in his possession while under the age of 18, let alone crossing a state line with it in hand.
Instead of being angered by the murder of two people merely exercising their First Amendment rights, and rather than completely admonish and reject the hideous assault in general, Carlson instead aligned his sympathy with Rittenhouse – not the victims. On his popular, extreme-right, FOX News show he offered the following apologist’s position:
“So what does that amount to? We’re unsure. A court will decide whether what you just saw qualifies as self-defense. As of tonight, we really don’t have more details,” Carlson said on his show Wednesday. “We do know why it all happened, though. Kenosha is devolved into anarchy because the authorities in charge of the city abandoned it. People in charge, from the governor of Wisconsin on down, refused to enforce the law. They stood back and they watched Kenosha burn.”
“So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would? Everyone could see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour,” he continued.
Tucker Carlson reimagines the criminal Rittenhouse as a justified, romanticized hero –a vigilante who did what he felt he had to do. Of course, this assessment does not jive with the fact that the young wanna-be-cop was charged with first-degree intentional homicide following his arrest.
Thankfully, the public outcry has been immediate against FOX News for this dangerous attempt by Carlson to normalize murder – in this case, murder, fueled by hate. I won’t mince words here. Carlson’s comments were disgusting. He needs to be removed from the airwaves. Every one of his sponsors must feel the financial repercussions of national boycotts if they do not drop their sponsorship of his show that promotes dangerous white nationalist ideology.
It is is one thing to consider yourself either a liberal or a conservative, but when you justify murder in cold blood, that makes you deplorable, independent of party affiliation. The truth of the matter is Tucker Carlson is a fear-mongering race-baiter, and to me, he has always been deplorable. This latest occurrence only further proves he always will be.
Read more on this developing story at The Hill
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.