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Tucker Carlson Has Been Whipping Up Anger And Fears Over Immigration For A While

"While you were grilling in the backyard last night, they were plotting, in effect, a coup," he once said about Democrats and immigrants.

Tucker Carlson’s namesake Fox News show is hemorrhaging advertisers after the host said that immigrants make America worse ― “poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

“The left says we have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor. Even if it makes our own country more like Tijuana is now, which is to say poorer and dirtier and more divided,” he said last week, before doubling down on the sentiment Monday night.

Carlson wasn’t always so crude. He used to advocate for the fact-based journalism of The New York Times. As Lyz Lenz notes in her smart Columbia Journalism Review profile of Carlson, the host “went from writing National Magazine Award–nominated articles to shouting about immigrants on Fox News” ― which he’s done a lot.

Carlson has earned praise from white nationalists for his anti-immigrant views, among others. 

Fox News said in a statement that it “cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants.”

“Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home,” the statement said. “He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view.”

Here are some examples of Carlson’s immigration rhetoric from the last year: 

In January, he couldn’t figure out why President Donald Trump’s “shithole countries” comment was bad. 

“Why can’t you say that?!” Carlson asked after it was reported that the president had referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” and wondered why the U.S. admits people from those places.

“President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with,” he said. The expletive was “not surprising” because Trump uses them “all the time.” 

In April, he came to the defense of racist troll Milo Yiannopoulos. 

Carlson couldn’t figure out why Yiannopoulos, whom he characterized as a “conservative journalist,” got heckled at a New York City bar and whined about the intolerance of the “aggressive left” and “elites.” (“Wonder how many of those Democratic Socialists have their own student loans? Probably none,” he said, bizarrely.)

Yiannopoulos has made such caustic remarks that the American Civil Liberties Union no longer defends his right to free speech.

In July, he said Democrats are using immigration to plot a “coup.”

The Fox host suggested that Democrats were driven “off the deep end” after the 2016 election and planned to use immigrants to “get their power back no matter what it takes.” His comments echoed Trump’s inflammatory claim that Democrats support immigrant rights because immigrants vote for Democrats.

“They’re going to tell you it’s about civil rights, or about some other principle that they pretend to care about, but they are lying,” Carlson told his viewers. “It’s about seizing power and holding it. That’s their only aim, and they’re deadly serious about it. While you were grilling in the backyard last night, they were plotting, in effect, a coup.”

In August, he refused to allow a guest to tell him he was misleading viewers on immigrant crime.

Carlson cut guest Alex Nowrasteh’s mic after the guest, a senior immigration policy analyst at the CATO Institute, challenged him in a debate on immigration. The debate came in the wake of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts’ murder by an undocumented immigrant.

When the Fox host said that 44 percent of federal inmates are non-citizens, Nowrasteh explained that misrepresented the full picture because federal prisoners account for less than 10 percent of all prisoners in the U.S.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump later backed Nowrasteh up and explained in detail why Carlson’s interpretation of the data was wildly misleading. Studies have shown immigrants are less involved in crime, and most non-citizens who are in prison are there on immigration charges. 

In September, Carlson said diversity hurts the fabric of the country.

“How, precisely, is diversity our strength?” Carlson asked on his show earlier this year. “Can you think, for example, of other institutions, such as marriage or military institutions, in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are? Do you get along better with your neighbors or co-workers if you can’t understand each other, or share no common values?” 

The military is a diverse group and a 2017 analysis showed how that quality improved its members’ decision-making and problem-solving abilities. Diversity in other groups is also associated with innovation.

Then he doubled down.

A few days later, Carlson defended himself from accusations of racism. He claimed that “they,” indicating the left, use diversity to “maintain power even as it destroys our country.” 

In October, he defended Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) had dismissed Trump’s suggestion that he could end birthright citizenship with an executive order. Carlson came to the president’s defense, mocking Ryan and blasting the entire concept, which is enshrined in the Constitution.

“It doesn’t matter if your parents were tourists or illegal aliens or foreign saboteurs, if their plane was forced down to refuel and you emerged. It doesn’t matter. If you were born on our property, you are a citizen,” said a disgusted Carlson.

This article has been updated with comment from Fox News.

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