Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center was a promoter and defender of the right-wing replacement theory conspiracy well before the racist perpetrator of the mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store spouted it -- as we noted when it rushed to the defense of Fox News host Tucker Carlson for spoiuting it. In an April 2021 post, Duncan Schroeder criticized CNN's Don Lemon for calling out Carson as pushing a racist theory:
Lemon is lying about Carlson making his argument about race, as Carlson explicitly stated in the segment in question that his point about Democrats wanting mass immigration has nothing to do with race but that it is instead “a voting rights question.”
Lemon is also lying about Carlson’s argument being “complete nonsense” because Democrats have acknowledged that winning elections is part of why they support mass immigration. In a 2013 interview with CBS, former Obama cabinet member and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro predicted that Texas will turn blue due to “the population growth of folks from outside of Texas.”
Of course, just because Carlson denies it's a racist theory doesn't mean it's not racist.He's not complaining about white people replacing white people, after all. Further, taking note of already-occuring demographic changes is not the same thing as spouting a conspiracy theory.
The MRC labored hard to defend Carlson following his embrace of replacement theory. Five days later, Curtis Houck spent a post whining about the fact that Carlson was being criticized by the Washington Post; he didn't deny Carlson's remarks were racist, but he reframed them as Carlson would, insisting they were merely "about immigration and liberals wanting to create a system in which new immigrants would become dependent upon the state and the Democratic Party for their well being."
A couple days after that, Jeffrey Lord gushed over Fox chief Lachlan Murdoch's "serious leadership in defending both Tucker Carlson and Fox News itself," insisting that Carlson was merely "pointing to the obvious. Which is to say the American left is deliberately creating and using the chaos at the US southern border as a way of re-populating the US, in this case with poor illegal immigrants who would presumably be the political pawns of the Democratic Party." Lord offered no proof that Carlson's conspiracy theory was factual.
That was followed by a post from Joseph Vazquez hyping how the Coalitiion for Jewish Values defended Carlson and bizarrely attacked the head of the ADL for criticizing him. As we've noted, the CJV is a hotbed of pro-Trump right-wing rabbis, so perhaps their opinion isn't worth much.
In a May 2021 post, Mark Finkelstein defended replacement theory, approving of Carlson's "statement that the Democrat party [sic] is seeking to replace the current US electorate with more Dem-friendly immigrant voters from Third World countries. Question: how hard do you think Biden-Kamala would be clamping down on the border if, say, millions of Republican-leaning Poles were trying to enter the country?" Finkelstein didn't say whether he thought the Poles should be treated theway he demands darker-skinned migrants be treated.
In October, Houck complained that MSNBC's Joy Reid accused Republicans of "'normalizing and rubbing elbows with open white nationalism, white replacement theory, some really dangerous ideologies that are designed to whip up, you know, particularly white men' to do harm," complaining that she was engaging in "the demonization and other-izing of conservatives and Republicans." After the Buffalo massacre, that complain stopped aging well.
The MRC's resident New York Times-basher, Clay Waters, then took up the banner of defending replacement theory. He did his best to, uh, whitewash replacement theory in a Nov. 5 post complaining that ah Times article accurately pointed the racist foundation of Carlson's replacement theory:
Carlson used the term "replacement theory," but it sounds less like a conspiracy theory about a globalist cabal trying to replace current U.S. voters, and more like he thinks the Democrats favor massive immigration for political reasons, believing "demography is destiny," with more young (and grateful) new voters from elsewhere. The liberal media cannot stand that accusation, but it's easy for them to accuse Fox of airing neo-Nazi theories. Then Williamson notes Carlson was praised for these remarks.
In a Nov. 26 post, Waters groused that the Times "rounded up anecdotes from the left’s Public Enemy No. 1, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, conflating concerns over immigration with conspiratorial 'replacement theory'" in discussing the rise of right-wing racism. Then, in a May 2 post -- a couple weks before the Buffalo shooting -- Waters again insisted that replacement theory was a legitimate, mainstream conservative concept and that "'replacement theory' twists conservatives’ justified concern that Democrats want to import immigrants into America and give them citizenship – Democrats who would then dutifully pull the lever for the big-spending party who fought to get them into the country."
After the shooting, the MRC had no choice but to double down on replacement theory and pretend it's not racist. More on that soon.