Conservative media described immigration as an 'invasion' hundreds of times before the El Paso shooter echoed the same language
- Conservative media outlets including Fox News have described immigration as an "invasion" and "replacement" on hundreds of occasions over the past few years.
- The gunman suspected of killing 22 people in an August 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas warned of a "Hispanic invasion" of Texas and said that in committing the shooting, he was "simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement" in a manifesto published to 8chan.
- A recent New York Times analysis of conservative media found "hundreds of examples of language, ideas and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer's written statement."
- Even after the El Paso shooting, Fox News hosts have continued to use the language of "invasion" to describe immigration, with host Tucker Carlson further arguing that white supremacy is "a hoax" that doesn't exist.
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Conservative media outlets including Fox News have described immigration as an "invasion" and "replacement" on hundreds of occasions over the past few years, using the same language invoked by the suspected El Paso mass shooter.
On August 3, the suspected gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas Wal-mart, killing 22 people and injuring dozens of others. In a 2,300-word manifesto the shooter is believed to have posted on the website on 8chan, he warned of a "Hispanic invasion" of Texas and said that in committing the shooting, he was "simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion."The shooter is believed to have traveled from the Dallas area to El Paso - a 9-hour drive - specifically to target Mexican and Latino people in the shooting, which authorities are investigating as a hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism.
A recent New York Times analysis of cable news clips, radio segments, and online articles from conservative media outlets found "hundreds of examples of language, ideas and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer's written statement," sentiments they said were previously "relegated to the fringes of the nationalist right."
The Times found over 30 examples of hosts and guests using the term "invasion" on Fox News alone, including hosts Steve Doocy, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and prominent commentator Ann Coulter.
In some notable examples highlighted by The Times, Ingraham said last month that "calling it anything but an invasion at this point is just not being honest with people."
She was also heavily criticized for a segment last summer where she argued that both legal and unauthorized immigration from Central America constituted "massive demographic changes" that she argued were "foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like."
The Times also found that beyond Fox News, prominent conservative radio hosts and conservative websites including Breitbart and the Gateway Pundit have echoed similar language, including Rush Limbaugh, who frequently describes immigrants as "flooding" the border on his show.
Even after the El Paso shooting, Fox News hosts continued to use the language of "invasion" to describe immigration, with Carlson further arguing that white supremacy is "a hoax" that doesn't exist.
On August 5, two days after the massacre, "Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade said, "if you use the term 'an invasion,' that's not anti-Hispanic - it's a fact."
And on August 11, host Jeanine Pirro - who was criticized earlier this year for suggesting a Muslim congresswoman wasn't loyal to the United States because she wears a hijab -similarly defended the use of the term on her show "Justice with Judge Jeanine."
When Democratic strategist Jonathan Harris argued the language of invasion was "dangerous," the other guest on the show rolled her eyes and Pirro pushed back, saying, "we all use the same language. We all speak English, so what? I watch cartoons, they talk about invaders from Mars, stop with this craziness!"
As The Times noted, however, much of the aforementioned incendiary language used to describe and stoke fear of immigrants is primarily deployed by opinion hosts like Pirro, Carlson, and Ingraham.Other Fox News hosts including Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith have used their platforms to fact-check and debunk claims that there is an "invasion" of dangerous immigrants, with Wallace recently challenging White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney over President Donald Trump's racist tweets targeting non-white members of Congress.