The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

It’s 8PM, Do You Know What Your Parents are Watching?


The following represents the opinion of the student reporter and does not represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhound, or Loyola University’s Department of Communication.

As we navigate the aftermath of the 2022 midterm elections, I think it’s important that we reevaluate the media that we and our loved ones consume. The way political figures and issues are covered naturally has an impact on the way that we vote, but I think that we often underestimate the extent to which it shapes our understanding of reality. 

One must look no further than the fact that 16% of American adults believe Q-Anon conspiracy theories to see this. You may even have a family member who lives in perpetual fear of the “other” and is convinced that nearly all global struggles can be traced back to a satanic club of wealthy elites. While the absurdity of it all might lead you to think that these are just fringe views held by a minority of gullible people, we must consider the extent to which these ideas are featured in mainstream political media–as well as the threat this misinformation poses to American democracy. 

One concept that is constantly peddled in right-wing media is the “great replacement” theory. This theory holds that an elite cabal, which is often defined in anti-semitic terms, is actively working to replace the “real” Americans: White, straight, Christian, and born in the country. It often appears in political rhetoric, warning the public about marginalized groups who threaten to redefine American society, but often extends beyond the political realm inspiring more covert violence. For example, the core tenets of the “great replacement” theory have notably appeared in the manifestos of numerous mass shooters of the last few years, inspiring the carnage in cities like El Paso, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. When faced with a diversifying America, right-wing conspiracy theorists have portrayed migration as an existential threat with cries of “white genocide” and forced “radical demographic change”. 

And who is among the most prolific promoters of this narrative today? Fox News host, Tucker Carlson. Carlson utilizes his prime-time show to tell his viewers, over 3 million per night, that they are under attack. A series of New York Times articles, from this spring, found that in the five years the show had been running, Carlson had:

  • increasingly excluded opposing viewpoints, down to just 4 dissenting guests in 2021 
  • warned of politically motivated “radical demographic change” in 400+ episodes and for upwards of 50 hours
  • stoked fears of shifting gender roles and falling birth rates in 200 episodes
  • warned of the impending/ongoing  “rot” or “destruction” of Western civilization in 600+ episodes
  • invoked “anti-White discrimination” in 600+ episodes

Carlson has cultivated a distorted view of America, one that must return to the principles of the past before “They”–being both wealthy elites and poor people seeking refuge–destroy civilization, rob everyone of their civil liberties, and complete their attack on the White race. By platforming authoritarian Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and parroting the anti-democratic tenets of the Trump platform, he suggests that America needs an autocrat to accomplish this. 

Fact matters little to Carlson. In fact, a Fox News lawyer once argued in court that Carlson does not deal with “actual fact”. Instead, he engages in “non-literal commentary” that “any reasonable viewer” watches with “an appropriate amount of skepticism”. What does it say about the state of American Media when the most popular cable news host admittedly lies to his audience on a daily basis? We can roll our eyes at family gatherings when a relative cites their favorite Fox News program, but we must realize that their fear is real and that it has the power to determine not only how they vote, but how they perceive reality. News opinions like Carlson’s have consistently inspired mass violence, and if we are not careful, American democracy might be the next casualty. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Tim Schluth

More to Discover
Activate Search
It’s 8PM, Do You Know What Your Parents are Watching?