The conversation took place between Mr Smith and the Fox host on Thursday; Mr Carlson, appearing virtually, was said by other journalists like Jeff Jarvis to have “steamrolled” the Semafor co-founder during the interview.
At one point during the discussion, Mr Carlson denied that he had any animosity towards Black Americans, and insisted that if you “read [his] mind”, “one hundred per cent of the people I’m mad at are well-educated white liberals”.
“In my mind, the sort of archetype of a person I don’t like is a 38-year-old female white lawyer with a barren personal life,” he explained.
“I’m not mad at Black people,” he noted at another point, and answered “of course not,” when asked if he believed white people had some unique claim on America or American culture.
He even took the opportunity to call out one such liberal enemy of his: Taylor Lorenz, tech columnist for the Washington Post, whom he noted was interviewed earlier in the event by Mr Smith.
“Check your privilege,” he cheekily advised the Semafor co-founder.
The moments preceded a question from Mr Smith about Mr Carlson’s past comments about “replacement theory”, a nebulous term for the idea that Democrats and the left in general are trying to “replace” or lessen the influence of white voters in America through immigration policies. Variations of the theory veer sharply into white supremacism and were cited by the suspected shooter as a racist motive for the massacre at a Buffalo, New York shopping center last month.
Mr Carlson has long been accused of directly promoting sanitised versions of the view on his show, which remains one of the most popular cable news programs in the country. Mr Smith attempted to confront him on this issue on Thursday by playing a clip of Mr Carlson discussing.
“I found that clip disturbing,” Mr Smith said. “The language of replacement theory, which you popularized—the language of replacement theory is, like, specifically the language used by neo-Nazis to recruit people to their cause.”
Mr Carlson refused to apologise for taking the view, insisting during the discussion that the fringe theory was the “actual strategy of the Democratic Party”.
The Fox host (and others’) embrace of the idea that there is some liberal plot to radically change the demographics of the United States via immigration has been roundly denounced by racism watchdog groups like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. The ADL as recently as May accused Mr Carlson by name of taking a “significant role [in] mainstreaming ideologies that normalize hate, foment fear and buoy extremists”. That same month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that "Tucker Carlson needs to stop promoting the racist, dangerous ‘Replacement Theory.’"
Mr Carlson has long denied that he harbours racist beliefs and frequently lashes out at those who criticise him for his rhetoric.
“Oh, great replacement theory, anyone? These people are lunatics. They are telling you what their strategy is. When you note it, they scream at you and call you a criminal,” the Fox Host complained in May.
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