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John Oliver Outlines Tucker Carlson’s White Supremacy In New Last Week Tonight Video
Adding to the impassioned chorus of Tucker Carlson criticism in light of the Fox News host’s most recent inflammatory comments, John Oliver took a deep dive into Carlson’s career on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight. Oliver illustrated the white supremacism ingrained in the rhetoric of Carlson’s widely-viewed show, and why Carlson cannot be dismissed as a simple troll, looking for attention by spewing his anti-woke bullshit, as much as people may want to. Because despite the undeniable attention-seeking and trollness, Oliver argues that Carlson is a dangerous voice for white supremacy in American media. “Of all the things that Tucker is—a conspiracy theorist, a misogynist, Islamophobe, a troll,” Oliver said, “one of the most dangerous is that he is the most prominent vessel in America for white supremacist talking points.”
The Last Week Tonight host went on to point out just how popular Carlson’s show really is. For instance, according to Oliver, the night Carlson said pregnant servicewomen make a “mockery” of the U.S. military, Tucker Carlson Tonight was the most-watched show on cable TV. Oliver points out the way in which Tucker Carlson disguises white supremacist rhetoric as simply asking the tough questions. He pointed to the fact that white supremacists revere Carlson’s show because, in essence, he does their job for them. Oliver showed a clip of Derek Black, a former white supremacist whose father started the white supremacist website Stormfront, discussing how his members of his family are devoted Tucker Carlson Tonight fans. “They feel that he is making the white nationalist talking points better than they have, and they’re trying to get some tips on how to advance it,” Black said in the clip.
Oliver goes on to illustrate, through Carlson’s own segments, words, and tactics—from his refusal to engage with the meaning of white supremacy, to his popularity among neo-Nazis and former KKK leader David Duke—exactly what white supremacism is, and how Carlson’s rhetoric advances its poisonous beliefs throughout the country. Using Carlson’s own quotes, Oliver said:
“He is scared of a country that ‘looks nothing like the one he grew up in’ because diversity ‘isn’t our strength,’ immigrants make our country ‘poorer, dirtier, and more divided,’ and any attempt to change that culture is an attack on Western civilization. All of which is really just a long way of saying that when Tucker asks, ‘What is white supremacy?’ the answer is: basically that. It’s a belief that in a country where white people are dominant, that’s all down to their natural and innate abilities, and any effort to change that is an affront to the natural order of things.”
Throughout the 25-minute segment, Oliver makes the damning case for what many of us already knew: Carlson’s transition in recent years to full-on white nationalism has garnered him a platform as large, and as dangerous, as it is today. He highlights the way Carlson advances racist and xenophobic ideas through his twisted narratives. For instance, Oliver points out that Carlson downplayed the insurrection at the Capitol yet denounced the summer 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.
“It is interesting to see who gets to be ‘American citizens who came to their own conclusions,’ and who gets to be ‘criminal mobs who destroy what the rest of us have built.’… In both instances, his clear takeaway is that white people should be terrified of the idea of any situation where they aren’t in power,” Oliver said.
Oliver’s segment is a clear analysis of the way in which Carlson’s show incites its conservative audience into believing that diversity is a “threat” to America, and insidiously does so under the guise of being a “respectable” (or something close to it) news talk show. You can watch Oliver’s full analysis in the segment below.
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Anna Grace Lee
Anna Grace Lee is an editorial fellow at Esquire, where she covers pop culture, music, and entertainment.
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