Schumer Calls on Murdoch and Fox News Executives to Stop Amplifying Replacement Theory

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, urged Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and the network’s top executives in a letter on Tuesday to “immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called ‘Great Replacement’ theory on your network’s broadcasts” in the wake of a deadly racist rampage in Buffalo.

The letter, which followed remarks Mr. Schumer gave on the Senate floor Monday, may signal a new effort by Democrats and others to raise pressure on the cable network and its top-rated host and moneymaker, Tucker Carlson.

Mr. Schumer cited a recent Times investigation showing that Mr. Carlson has for years used his show to relentlessly promote “replacement,” which is the belief, rooted in racist conspiracy theories, that an elite cabal is seeking to replace native-born populations in the United States and Europe with immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

A 180-page document posted online by the accused Buffalo killer is laden with racist images and references the most extreme versions of replacement theory, holding that not only immigrants but also Black Americans are “replacers” seeking to drive white people out from their rightful place in the United States.

There is no indication that the killer adopted his ideas from cable news. But Mr. Schumer criticized Fox and Mr. Carlson for promoting related ideas about Democrats and immigration policy, which he said had helped to popularize replacement ideology among a broader swath of Americans.

“For years, these types of beliefs have existed at the fringes of American life,” Mr. Schumer wrote in his letter, which was also copied to Mr. Carlson personally. “However, this pernicious theory, which has no basis in fact, has been injected into the mainstream thanks in large part to a dangerous level of amplification by your network and its anchors.”

The poll also found that people who mostly watched right-wing media outlets like Fox News, One America News Network and Newsmax were more likely to believe in replacement theory than those who watched CNN or MSNBC.

Democrats and liberal groups have sought for years to pressure Fox News, urging cable providers — whose fees provide much of the network’s revenue — to take action and pressuring advertisers to disassociate themselves from it.

Last year, in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, the NAACP took aim at the Murdochs’ valuable football broadcasting business, urging the National Football League to consider Fox News’ criticism of Black players protesting for civil rights when negotiating for broadcast rights with the Murdoch-owned Fox Sports.

In remarks on his show on Monday night, Mr. Carlson denied responsibility for the Buffalo suspect and distanced himself from his rhetoric, dismissing the document as “a rambling pastiche of slogans and internet memes.”