‘There’s nowhere I feel safe’: Georgia elections workers describe how Trump upended their livesShaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, testified how Trump and his allies fueled harassment and racist threats In powerful and emotional testimony about the sinister results of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, a mother and daughter who were Georgia elections workers described how Trump and his allies upended their lives, fueling harassment and racist threats by claiming they were involved in voter fraud.Giuliani told Arizona official ‘We just don’t have the evidence’ of voter fraudRead moreTestifying to the January 6 committee in Washington, Shaye Moss said she received “a lot of threats. Wishing death upon me. Telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.’”That was a reference to lynching, the violent extra-judicial fate of thousands of Black men in the American south.Moss also said her grandmother’s home had been threatened by Trump supporters seeking to make “citizen’s arrests” of the two poll workers.No Democratic presidential candidate had won Georgia since 1992 but Joe Biden beat Trump by just under 12,000 votes, a result confirmed by recounts.Tuesday’s hearing detailed Trump’s attempts to overturn that result via pressure on Republican state officials and vilification of Moss and her mother over video supposedly showing them engaged in voter fraud, a claim swiftly debunked.Moss’s mother attended the hearing. In taped testimony, she said: “My name is Ruby Freeman. I’ve always believed it when God says that he’ll make your name great. But this is not the way it was supposed to be.”“For my entire professional life, I was Lady Ruby. My community in Georgia, where I was born and lived my whole life, knew me as Lady Ruby. I built my own business around that name: Ruby’s Unique Treasures. A pop-up shop catering to ladies with unique fashions.”“I wore a shirt that proudly proclaimed that I was and I am Lady Ruby. I had that shirt in every color. I wore that shirt on election day 2020. I haven’t worn it since and I’ll never wear it again.“I won’t even introduce myself by my name anymore. I get nervous when I bump into someone I know in the grocery store who says my name. I’m worried about people listening. I get nervous when I have to give my name for food orders. I’m always concerned of who’s around me.“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security, all because a group of people starting with [Trump] and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye, to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.”Freeman also said: “There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?“The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American. Not to target one. And he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stood up to help Fulton county run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”Freeman said she had been forced to leave home for two months.Moss described threats also made to her grandmother.“That woman is my everything,” she said. “I’ve never even heard or seen her cry, ever in my life. And she called me screaming at the top of her lungs, like ‘Shaye, Shaye, oh my gosh, Shaye’, freaking me out, saying that people were at her home.”“And they knocked on the door and of course she opened it, seeing who was there, who it was, and they just started pushing their way through, claiming they were coming in to make a citizen’s arrest. They needed to find me and my mom, they knew we were there.“And [my grandmother] was just screaming and didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t there so I just felt so helpless and so horrible for her. And she just screamed and I called her to close the door. Don’t open the door for anyone.”Moss was asked how her own life had been affected.She said: “My life was turned upside down. I no longer give out my business card. Don’t want anyone knowing my name. Don’t want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store anymore.“I haven’t been anywhere. I’ve gained about 60lb. I don’t want to go anywhere, I second-guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way, every way.“All because of lies.”TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsUS elections 2020US politicsGeorgiaRepublicansDonald TrumpRudy GiulianinewsReuse this content More
‘There’s nowhere I feel safe’: Georgia election workers on how Trump upended their livesShaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, testified how Trump and his allies fueled harassment and racist threats In powerful and emotional testimony about the sinister results of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, a mother and daughter who were Georgia elections workers described how Trump and his allies upended their lives, fueling harassment and racist threats by claiming they were involved in voter fraud.Giuliani told Arizona official ‘We just don’t have the evidence’ of voter fraudRead moreTestifying to the January 6 committee in Washington, Shaye Moss said she received “a lot of threats. Wishing death upon me. Telling me that I’ll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.’”That was a reference to lynching, the violent extra-judicial fate of thousands of Black men in the American south.Moss also said her grandmother’s home had been threatened by Trump supporters seeking to make “citizen’s arrests” of the two poll workers.No Democratic presidential candidate had won Georgia since 1992 but Joe Biden beat Trump by just under 12,000 votes, a result confirmed by recounts.Tuesday’s hearing detailed Trump’s attempts to overturn that result via pressure on Republican state officials and vilification of Moss and her mother over video supposedly showing them engaged in voter fraud, a claim swiftly debunked.Moss’s mother attended the hearing. In taped testimony, she said: “My name is Ruby Freeman. I’ve always believed it when God says that he’ll make your name great. But this is not the way it was supposed to be.”“For my entire professional life, I was Lady Ruby. My community in Georgia, where I was born and lived my whole life, knew me as Lady Ruby. I built my own business around that name: Ruby’s Unique Treasures. A pop-up shop catering to ladies with unique fashions.”“I wore a shirt that proudly proclaimed that I was and I am Lady Ruby. I had that shirt in every color. I wore that shirt on election day 2020. I haven’t worn it since and I’ll never wear it again.“I won’t even introduce myself by my name anymore. I get nervous when I bump into someone I know in the grocery store who says my name. I’m worried about people listening. I get nervous when I have to give my name for food orders. I’m always concerned of who’s around me.“I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation. I’ve lost my sense of security, all because a group of people starting with [Trump] and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter Shaye, to push their own lies about how the presidential election was stolen.”Freeman also said: “There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States target you?“The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American. Not to target one. And he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen who stood up to help Fulton county run an election in the middle of the pandemic.”Freeman said she had been forced to leave home for two months.Moss described threats also made to her grandmother.“That woman is my everything,” she said. “I’ve never even heard or seen her cry, ever in my life. And she called me screaming at the top of her lungs, like ‘Shaye, Shaye, oh my gosh, Shaye’, freaking me out, saying that people were at her home.”“And they knocked on the door and of course she opened it, seeing who was there, who it was, and they just started pushing their way through, claiming they were coming in to make a citizen’s arrest. They needed to find me and my mom, they knew we were there.“And [my grandmother] was just screaming and didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t there so I just felt so helpless and so horrible for her. And she just screamed and I called her to close the door. Don’t open the door for anyone.”Moss was asked how her own life had been affected.She said: “My life was turned upside down. I no longer give out my business card. Don’t want anyone knowing my name. Don’t want to go anywhere with my mom because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don’t go to the grocery store anymore.“I haven’t been anywhere. I’ve gained about 60lb. I don’t want to go anywhere, I second-guess everything that I do. It’s affected my life in a major way, every way.“All because of lies.”TopicsJanuary 6 hearingsUS elections 2020US politicsGeorgiaRepublicansDonald TrumpRudy GiulianinewsReuse this content More
A Way Out of No Way review: Raphael Warnock, symbol of hope for America The Democratic Georgia senator has delivered an inspiring memoir, well-timed as the US tears itself apart We live in an age of miracles but we spend very little time noticing that. After four years of Donald Trump, two years of Covid and four months of vicious war in Ukraine, it’s hardly surprising many feel overwhelmed by seemingly relentless bad news.Seen and Unseen review: George Floyd, Black Twitter and the fight for racial justiceRead moreRaphael Warnock’s inspiring memoir arrives just in time to remind us that even in our darkest days, America offers at least as much hope as despair.Warnock was at the center of the most recent set of miracles, which came about in large part because of the registration and activism of Black voters in key states in 2020. In Georgia it began when a former state house minority leader, Stacey Abrams, identified 800,000 eligible but unregistered voters and formed the New Georgia Project to get as many on the rolls as possible.Warnock joined Abrams’ campaign. Despite the outrageous efforts of then secretary of state (now governor) Brian Kemp, who falsely accused them of voter fraud, by 2019 they had registered 500,000 voters. That made three miracles possible: Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia in 28 years and Warnock and Jon Ossoff became the first Black and Jewish senators elected from the state, miraculously giving Democrats (tenuous) control of the Senate.Nothing is more filled with hope than the trajectory of Warnock’s life. He was the 11th of 12 children. His father made his living collecting scrap metal and preaching while his mother was a homemaker until she became the preacher in the family.Warnock’s life is proof that the federal government has done important things to level the playing field in crucial ways. Warnock got his first leg-up through Head Start, one of the greatest legacies of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Then he got enrolled in Upward Bound, a federally financed summer college preparatory program that strengthened his confidence “and provided the path for the pursuit of my dreams”. For a kid growing up in a neighborhood where no one had a bachelor’s degree, this “demystified the idea of college and gave me a clear vision of what was possible”.But the advantages he started with were even more important, especially a mom who is “a preacher with a God-given sense of spiritual discernment”, who “could read people and situations better than anyone I’ve ever known”. Warnock grew up in a housing project devastated by crack and Aids, “but in a place where there were too many missing fathers, I had two devoted parents at home, and they kept church at the center of our lives”.His parents never let him forget that while we live in a nation “in need of moral surgery”, with “hope, hard work, and the people by our side anything is possible”.The college he chose was Morehouse, a vital Black institution with alumni justly famous for “world-changing accomplishments” including the former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson, civil rights leader Julian Bond, Spike Lee, theologian Howard Thurman and of course Martin Luther King Jr.Although Warnock was born a year after King’s assassination, “more than anybody or anything else” it was King who “recruited” him to Morehouse.Warnock is particularly proud that he can trace his own development directly to the greatest American civil rights leader of the 20th century. During college he interned at Sixth Avenue Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was mentored by the Rev John Thomas Porter, who had been a pulpit assistant to Martin Luther King Jr and his father.The civil rights pioneer Jesse Jackson was another role model, one of many “courageous souls” who laid “the groundwork for candidates of color and women to run and win high political offices presumed out of reach”. These pioneers showed Warnock “that to be effective, you have to be willing to put your body in the game – show up, give what you have (your time, your money, your skills), and do what you’re asking of others”.Morehouse was the beginning of Warnock’s introduction to the elite Black establishment nourished by historically Black colleges and universities and Black churches. While greedy, racist born-again Christians get most of our attention, this book reminds us there is another religious network which has been hugely important to America’s progress, strengthening and nurturing the Black community.A brilliant natural preacher who gave his first sermon at 11, a sincere servant of God, Warlock had a meteoritic rise, going from Morehouse to Union theological seminary in New York and then to Manhattan’s most famous Black house of worship, the Abyssinian Baptist church, where he quickly became an intern minister. There he had another crucial mentor, the Rev Dr Calvin O Butts III, an alumnus of both schools Warnock attended.Race at the Top: white and Asian Americans and the push for equity in educationRead moreAt 31, Warnock became senior pastor at Douglas Memorial Community church in Baltimore, where he demonstrated remarkable courage by starting with an attack on church homophobia. He built his installation ceremony around activities designed to heighten HIV/Aids awareness, “to signal to my church … the kind of ministry we would build together”.Just a couple of years later, in 2005, he got the greatest honor of all when King’s Ebenezer Baptist church elected him senior pastor, by the vote of 90% of the congregation. Sixteen years later, he was a United States senator.May Warnock’s unlikely success and irrepressible optimism be enough to remind all of us that the only thing needed to rescue our beleaguered democracy is a genuine willingness by the enlightened citizens who are still a majority to put our bodies back in the game. If the rest of us can be half as courageous as Warnock is, he reminds us, we can still “build a future that honors the sacrifices of those who came before us and is worthy of the promise that lives in all our children”.
A Way Out of No Way: A Memoir of Truth, Transformation and the New American Story is published in the US by Penguin
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I’m a Black gun owner. I have mixed feelings about gun controlAkin OllaI don’t have much faith that the state will protect me from violence – and I know that gun control laws have historically been used to target Black people, socialists and people who challenge the status quo The mass murder of elementary school students in Uvalde, Texas, and a white supremacist attack on Black residents of Buffalo, New York, have reignited the American gun control debate. Both atrocities have left me feeling more broken than I thought possible. As a Black, leftwing gun owner, however, I’m also struck by a feeling of unease.I believe in many forms of gun control, but the conversation about guns on the left often lacks complexity as we scramble for a simple answer to an extremely complicated problem. I don’t have much faith that the government will protect me or other minority Americans from the kind of violence that the police ostensibly exist to combat, and I know that gun control laws have historically been used to target Black people, particularly Black socialists like myself.I’m also not convinced that most current gun control proposals will even solve the problem. Consider the country’s deadliest school shooting, the Virginia Tech murders of 2007. The perpetrator passed his background check and used weapons that most gun control bans wouldn’t affect. A waiting period might have delayed his attack but his level of premeditation implies it was nearly inevitable. I feel sorrow for what happened. Yet I feel that as a society we tend to fight over specific gun control policies – some effective, some not – while ignoring the violent nature of the country we live in and the culture that drives almost exclusively men to commit mass murder.I never thought I’d be a gun owner. I’m not particularly fond of guns. If anything, they terrify me. I’ve generally hoped my charming personality and acumen at fisticuffs would be enough to deter would-be aggressors; it wasn’t until the terror that I experienced during the George Floyd uprising that I, like many Black Americans, was moved to become a first-time gun owner.I’d participated in protests and witnessed the sheer brutality of the Philadelphia police as they attacked my partner, threatened an elderly woman, and enveloped the entirety of my neighborhood in teargas. I watched Black parents flee their homes, gagging, eyes red, small children in tow. When I and others working as medical volunteers tried to evacuate the injured and elderly, we were met with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and batons. On the other side of the city, police officers let white vigilantes with baseball bats patrol the streets. None of this buttressed my belief that the police existed to protect me from violence.Around this time I, like other socialist organizers, received written threats. After a series of them, as well as a direct, in-person threat to my life made in front of my home, I buckled and decided I needed a weapon, and soon. Even without the specific threats, I was wrestling with a sense that society was on the brink. It may sound paranoid now, but to be Black in the midst of the George Floyd uprising and the tail end of the Trump presidency was a time to be paranoid. Guns and ammunition were sold out across the country. More than 5 million new gun owners purchased weapons in 2020, a more than 100% increase from the previous year. After a background check and a few days for the order to be processed, I picked up a gun from a store located in a man’s home in a dreamlike suburban cul-de-sac.America is steeped in violence. And the roots of that violence go deep | Moustafa BayoumiRead moreDespite owning a gun, I do think gun control is overdue and necessary. But I also can’t ignore the history of American gun control. Much of the modern debate around gun control began in the 1960s, after the state of California – with support, ironically enough, from the NRA – pushed through legislation in response to the Black Panther party and other armed militant groups. We must ensure that any new gun control laws do not disproportionately limit minority communities’ ability to own arms for reasons of legitimate self-defense, which may be impossible given that most laws in a country as steeped in racism as ours will inevitably be exploited to oppress the already oppressed.There are moments in US history when the right to own weapons made the difference between life and death for communities of color, such as the armed resistance against the Ku Klux Klan by the Lumbee Tribe in 1958. And despite the common perception of the civil rights movement, many activists kept guns in their homes or were protected by those who did. There was a time when Dr Martin Luther King Jr was described as having an arsenal in his home.To honestly address mass shootings, we must be willing to have difficult conversations about the complexity of all of this, and also accept that some solutions will involve restructuring our society. We have to accept that gun control may mean some people that reasonably fear for their lives will be left at the whim of fascists and police. We have to accept that mass shootings will absolutely still occur. We have to accept and analyze the reality that one of the most common denominators among shooters is their hate for women – as the Texas shooter, who shot his grandmother before carrying out his school massacre, sadly reminded us.And we have to realize the racist nature of this country and its violent roots. The founder of Uvalde, Texas, was shot and killed in 1867, probably not too far from where the elementary school shooting occurred. His alleged offense was opposing southern secession and supporting the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. His blood stains that town just as the blood of millions of Indigenous people and enslaved Africans stains the entirety of the United States.Gun control may be a good start to saving lives, but this country must be made new, and the lives of women, little children, and Black families made valuable. Until then, I sit uneasy.
Akin Olla is a contributing opinion writer at the Guardian
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BTS visited the White House to discuss hate crimes targeting Asians with the US president.
The band members J-Hope, RM, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin and Jimin joined the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, at her briefing with reporters before their meeting with Joe Biden.
Jimin said the group had been ‘devastated by the recent surge’ of hate crime and intolerance against Asian Americans and others that has persisted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It’s not wrong to be different,’ Suga said through an interpreter. ‘Equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences’
BTS-mania sweeps the White House as band speaks on anti-Asian hate More
Seen and Unseen review: George Floyd, Black Twitter and the fight for racial justiceMarc Lamont Hill and Todd Brewster’s brilliant book considers the history of communications technology in a racist society Nearly all the books I have read about the internet have deepened my fears about the net effect of social media on the health of our body politic. For example, I thought three facts from the congressman Ro Khanna’s recent book, Dignity in a Digital Age, were enough to scare anyone concerned about the future of democracy.Dignity in a Digital Age review: a congressman takes big tech to taskRead moreKhanna reported that an internal discussion at Facebook revealed that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendations”; he revealed that before 2020, “QAnon groups developed millions of followers as Facebook’s algorithm encouraged people to join based on their profiles”; and he pointed to a United Nations report that Facebook played a “determining role” in events in Myanmar that led to the murder of at least 25,000 Rohingya Muslims and the displacement of 700,000 others.Seen and Unseen, a brilliant new book by Marc Lamont Hill, a Black professor, and Todd Brewster, a white journalist, certainly doesn’t ignore those dangers. But the authors’ focus is overwhelmingly on the positive effects of Twitter and Black Twitter, which they argue have democratized access to information, and the power of the smartphone to provide the incontrovertible video evidence needed to prosecute the murderers of men like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.The book is a brisk, smart, short history of the effects of new communication technologies, from the photographs of the 19th century to the movies and television of the 20th and the internet of our own time.It includes terrific mini-portraits of many of the heroes and several of the villains of the Black-and-white battle which has dominated so much of American history, including the great Black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, who turns out to be the most photographed American of the 19th century, and the white supremacist Thomas Dixon Jr, whose novel The Clansman was the basis for the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation.There is a great section about the impact of The Birth of the Nation, which single-handedly revived the Ku Klux Klan and did more to rewrite the history of Reconstruction than any other book or movie. Its director, DW Griffith, was frank about wanting to give white southerners “a way of striking back”.“One could not find the sufferings of our family and our friends – the dreadful poverty and hardships during the war and for many years after – in the Yankee-written histories we read in school,” Griffith wrote. “From all this was born a burning determination to tell … our side of the story to the world.”As the authors note: “His movie did that spectacularly.”The book also reminds us that this was the first movie shown in the White House and the host, Woodrow Wilson, was a friend and Johns Hopkins classmate of Thomas Dixon Jr. Wilson, of course, was also the president who allowed the segregation of the federal government.But what makes this volume especially valuable is the authors’ capacity to see the good and the bad in almost everything.WEB Du Bois said The Birth of the Nation represented “the Negro” either “as an ignorant fool, a vicious rapist, a venal or unscrupulous politician, or a faithful but doddering idiot”. James Baldwin called it “an elaborate justification of mass murder”.And yet the film was so egregious it also had a tremendous positive effect – it “did more to advance the NAACP”, which had been founded six years earlier, “than anything else to that date. In essence it jump-started the movement for civil rights.” At that time, that term did not yet have any meaning.Du Bois and the NAACP hoped to hit back “in kind” with a movie called Lincoln’s Dream but were stymied by “the lack of enthusiasm” of white capital.In our own time, Hill and Brewster identify the unique power of the video of the murder of George Floyd, which “resonated with whites because the cruelty inflicted on him was so undeniable, so elemental … and so protracted (nine minutes 29 seconds) that it could be neither ignored nor dismissed”.For Black people of course it was much more personal: as they watched “the last breaths being squeezed from Floyd’s body, they could see themselves in his suffering; or an uncle, or a sister, or even a long-departed ancestor”.A beautiful mini-biography of James Baldwin includes many of his most pungent observations, including, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” And, “To be a Negro in this country, and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time”.A Lynching at Port Jervis review: timely history of New York race hateRead moreIt turns out that “one of the most frequently cited BLM counterpublic voices is Baldwin’s”. He is “the movement’s literary touchstone, conscience, and pinup” as well as its “most tweeted literary authority”.That is the most positive contribution of Twitter – and particularly Black Twitter – I have ever heard of.The authors write that Baldwin “was impatient with America because he saw it as trapped in its own history”, and wanted America to admit “that it owed its very existence to an ideology of white supremacy”.There was a time in my life when I considered that an exaggeration. But once you have acknowledged that ours is a nation that was literally founded on genocide and slavery, Baldwin’s judgment becomes an indisputable truth.
Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice is published in the US by Atria Books
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In a week when a teenager shot dead 10 Black people in Buffalo New York, apparently motivated by the ‘great replacement’ theory, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Michael Harriot and Anne Applebaum about why this racist ideology has become mainstream in rightwing circles in the US, and why we shouldn’t be surprised
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Archive: Fox News, ABC News, CNN Follow The Guardian’s reporting of the shooting in Buffalo Listen to the first episode of the third series of Comfort Eating with Grace Dent Send your questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support the Guardian by going to gu.com/supportpodcasts. More
What is ‘great replacement’ theory and how did its racist lies spread in the US?Buffalo gunman is suspected of posting a 180-page racist diatribe in which he repeatedly referenced the extremist conspiracy theory Why are we talking about the ‘great replacement’ theory?On Saturday, a white man armed with an AR-15-style rifle entered a supermarket in Buffalo in New York state and killed 10 people, almost all of whom were African American. The gunman is suspected of having posted a 180-page racist diatribe in which he repeatedly referenced the extremist conspiracy theory known as the “great replacement”.The Buffalo shooter drew heavily on the white supremacist rantings of the gunman in the 2019 massacre at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 51 people were killed. His similarly hate-filled statement was titled “The Great Replacement”.At its heart, the theory claims falsely that white people are being stripped of their power through the demographic rise of communities of color, driven by immigration. The lie has been integral to many of the most horrifying recent acts of white supremacist violence in the US.Far-right protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to the killing of a woman, chanted “You will not replace us”. Replacement theory featured in the rants of mass shooters at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018 in which 11 people were murdered; a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in which 23 were killed in 2019; and a synagogue in Poway, California, the same year in which one person died.What is the theory and how did it emerge?Replacement theory is a set of racist and antisemitic paranoid lies and delusions that has cropped up around the world in the past decade. In the US it is expressed as the false idea that an elite cabal of Jews and Democrats is “replacing” white Americans with Black, Hispanic and other people of color by encouraging immigration and interracial marriage – with the end goal being the eventual extinction of the white race.The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) traces replacement theory back to early 20th century French nationalism. It began to receive popular attention in 2011 with the writings of the French critic Renaud Camus.In the US, the racist ideas were initially adopted by fringe websites including the chat boards 4chan and the technically now defunct 8chan.How has it spread through US society?More recently, the idea has been enthusiastically embraced by rightwing news outlets that have injected these hate-infused falsehoods into the mainstream of American public life.In particular attention is now falling on Tucker Carlson, the most avidly watched host on Fox News. A recent deep exploration by the New York Times found that his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, had on occasion drawn inspiration from white supremacist sites such as the neo-Nazi Stormfront.The newspaper found that in more than 400 episodes Carlson took up the idea that immigration was being exploited by elites to change the demographics of the US. Last year the ADL called for the TV host to be fired after he accused the Democrats on-air of “trying to replace the current electorate … with more obedient voters from the third world”.What has the theory done to American political debate?Having metastasized from fringe websites to Fox News, the idea of the imperiled white voter has spread its tentacles through the nation. An opinion poll last week by the Associated Press and the NORC center for public affairs research found that one in three US adults now subscribe to the false idea that a plot is under way to replace US-born Americans with immigrants, and that those US-born citizens are losing influence and power as a result.The notion has been taken up by Republican politicians at the highest levels. In the wake of the Buffalo shooting Liz Cheney, the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, accused the leadership of her own party in the House of enabling “white nationalism, white supremacy, and antisemitism”.Cheney did not mention by name Elise Stefanik, who took over the number three role in the Republican House leadership from her after Cheney was ousted for having criticized former president Donald Trump. Stefanik has promoted a politicised version of replacement theory, claiming that Democrats are attempting a “permanent election insurrection” by seeking citizenship for undocumented immigrants in order to “overthrow our current electorate”.Other prominent Republicans who have amplified the lie include Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, and far-right members of Congress, including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar.Is pressure mounting for something to be done about this?Cheney has called for Republican leaders to “renounce and reject” white supremacy. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of Congress from Illinois, has gone further, calling for several top Republicans themselves to be replaced.“The replacement theory they are pushing/tolerating is getting people killed,” he said.Charlie Sykes, a moderate conservative commentator who edits The Bulwark, wrote that responsibility for the Buffalo murders “lies with the murderer himself … But as conservatives once understood, ideas also have consequences; and poisonous demagoguery can have deadly results”.Such comments reflect a growing unease about the accommodation with replacement theory within rightwing politics and media. So far though the criticism is coming from individuals who have been pushed into the margins of the conservative movement, with no sign of change coming from the top.TopicsBuffalo shootingRepublicansRaceNew YorkUS politicsThe far rightexplainersReuse this content More
Fox News suddenly goes quiet on ‘great replacement’ theory after Buffalo shooting Suspect was allegedly motivated by the theory, but network has barely mentioned gunman’s reasoning, even after Tucker Carlson pushed the concept in more than 400 of his shows As details of the Buffalo mass shooting emerged over the weekend, much of the media focussed on the shooter’s self-stated motivation: his racist belief that white Americans are being deliberately replaced through immigration in a “great replacement” theory.Over at Fox News, however, there was barely any mention of the white gunman’s alleged reasoning for opening fire at a supermarket, killing 10 people and wounding three more, in a predominantly Black area.The absence of coverage of the motive was revealing, given Fox News’s most popular host, Tucker Carlson, has pushed the concept of replacement theory in more than 400 of his shows – and has arguably done more than anyone in the US to popularize the racist conspiracy.Fox News, according to Oliver Darcy, a media correspondent for CNN, “largely ignored” the fact that the shooter had been inspired by replacement theory. Darcy searched transcripts from Fox News’s shows, and found one brief mention, by Fox News anchor Eric Shawn.As Americans absorbed news of the shooting and struggled to understand why it had happened, it seemed a glaring thing for the network to disregard. But given Carlson and his colleagues’ promotion of the theory, which has been unchecked by Fox News’s top executives, experts see the network as being left in a bind.“What can they say?” said Matt Gertz, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a watchdog of rightwing media. “There’s no way for anyone at Fox News to really issue a convincing and compelling, forthright denunciation of great replacement theory, because it’s being discussed on the network’s primetime hour on a near constant basis.”Great replacement theory, or white replacement theory, states that a range of liberals, Democrats and Jewish people are working to replace white voters in western countries with non-white people, in an effort to achieve political aims.It is not a new concept. But Carlson has led the charge in reintroducing it to mainstream rightwing thought. In April a New York Times investigation found that in more than 400 hundred of his shows Carlson had advanced the idea that a “cabal of elites want to force demographic change through immigration”.In a monologue on his Monday night show, Carlson did not directly address replacement theory. He claimed the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto was “not recognizably left wing or right-wing: it’s not really political at all”, despite the rambling document referencing a number of right-wing conspiracy theories.Carlson referred to the gunman as “mentally ill” and launched an attack on “professional Democrats” who had “begun a campaign to blame those murders on their political opponents.”In April 2021, after Carlson claimed on his show that Democrats were “diluting” his vote by “importing a brand-new electorate”, the Anti-Defamation League wrote to Fox News to sound the alarm.“Make no mistake: this is dangerous stuff. The ‘great replacement theory’ is a classic white supremacist trope that undergirds the modern white supremacist movement in America,” wrote Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL.“It is a concept that is discussed almost daily in online racist fever swamps. It is a notion that fueled the hateful chants of ‘Jews will not replace us!’ in Charlottesville in 2017. And it has lit the fuse in explosive hate crimes, most notably the hate-motivated mass shooting attacks in Pittsburgh, Poway and El Paso, as well as in Christchurch, New Zealand.”The ADL called for Carlson to be fired for his comments, but instead the rightwing host – whose show is the most-watched on cable news – has thrived, and his passion for the topic of replacement has spread to his colleagues.But Carlson is not alone on Fox.Laura Ingraham, who hosts an hour-long show at 10pm, has told her viewers that Democrats “want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens and an ever increasing number of chain migrants”, while Jeanine Pirro claimed on a radio show that liberals were engaged in “a plot to remake America, to replace American citizens with illegals who will vote for the Democrats”.“To be clear, Fox News is far from the only place where you might hear such dangerous rhetoric,” wrote Tom Jones, a senior media writer at the Poynter institute.“[But] the size of Fox News’s audience is what is notable. Fox News is the most-watched cable news network, and Carlson’s show is the most-watched on cable news, routinely drawing more than 3 million viewers a night.”Fox News declined to comment when asked if it planned to condemn the idea of white replacement or take action against Carlson. A spokeswoman pointed to examples of Carlson denouncing violence on his show. Fox News was one of six media organizations which the gunman claimed, in his manifesto, were disproportionately influenced by Jewish people.The network’s popularity has given it an outsized influence over the Republican party, an influence and relationship which was revealed recently when leaked text messages from the phone of Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former White House chief-of-staff, showed Meadows in frequent communication with Fox News hosts as supporters of Trump besieged the US Capitol on 6 January.It should perhaps be little surprise, then, that Trump-supporting Republican politicians like Elise Stefanik and JD Vance have also embraced replacement theory.“It’s been gradually moving from the fringes into the mainstream,” Philip Gorski, a professor of sociology at Yale, told the Washington Post. “First it was the entertainment wing of the GOP. Now it’s the political wing as well.”The Buffalo shooter did not mention Fox News as an influence on his political beliefs, but said he had been radicalized through the extremist online forum 4chan, where he had found “infographics, shitposts, and memes that the White race is dying out”. From there, the gunman said, he had discovered sources including the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer.Curiously, the founder of the Daily Stormer has called Tucker Carlson “literally our greatest ally”, and praised the Fox News host in 2021, in the wake of his replacement theory comments.“[Carlson was] dropping the ultimate truth bomb on his audience: Jews aggressively lobby for the same demographic policies in America that they openly declare would destroy their own country,” Anglin wrote.Since the shooting Carlson and his fellow Fox News hosts have justifiably drawn criticism for their promotion of replacement theory. But Gertz said the issue ultimately runs deeper, all the way to the Murdoch family which controls the channel.“Everyone knows the score here,” Gertz said.“Tucker Carlson is doing his job. He is providing the content that the Fox News brass, the Murdochs, want out of their 8pm slot.“If they didn’t want him to do this, they could make him stop – but they’ve decided not to. And they have decided not to do that because he is still profitable for them.”TopicsBuffalo shootingFox NewsUS television industryUS politicsRaceThe far rightfeaturesReuse this content More