On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that busing for the purposes of racial desegregation “wrecked” the country’s school system, suggesting that it’s morally tantamount to a government overthrow.
The pundit’s comments came just days after thousands of protesters stormed the Sri Lankan capitol building in protest of poor living conditions, leading to the impending resignation of the country’s president this Wednesday.
Carlson, not a known expert in Sri Lankan politics, blamed the upheaval on liberals and environmentalism.
“So we know what you’re thinking: ‘Oh, so pampered, lifestyle liberals just destroyed something else.’ They did to Sri Lanka what busing did to American education, just absolutely wrecked it and walked away like it never happened. That’s the downside. People’s lives were destroyed. It happened a lot,” Carlson said as the Fox News chyron suggested this was a result of the so-called Green New Deal, a proposal to tackle climate change that has stalled in the U.S. Congress.
Busing, the practice of transporting kids outside their school districts to attend class, first began in the 1950s as a way to racially integrate schools during the civil rights movement. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled that courts could formally mandate the practice, escalating white flight from urban areas.
Since then, conservatives have repeatedly argued that that busing was a political failure, since it led to further segregation in certain segments of the country. But overall, while the program has hardly ended school segregation, the policy was broadly effective in diversifying America’s educational system.
This isn’t the first time that Carlson has used his Fox News platform to push such skepticism of desegregation.
“Forced busing was a disaster from the beginning to the end. Nobody liked it,” Carlson claimed in 2020.
Over the years, Carlson has consistently denied allegations of racism, saying in 2018, “I’m not a racist. I hate racism.” However, the conservative pundit consistently promotes claims and conspiracy theories that critics have argued are plainly problematic.
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For one, Carlson is an ardent believer in the “Great Replacement” theory, which baselessly holds that congressional Democrats are deliberating loosening the nation’s borders in order to change the racial makeup of the country. This demographic shift, by his account, is designed to help Democrats create an easily manipulable voting bloc from various Third World countries.
Carlson has also called white supremacy “a lie,” saying it’s “a hoax, just like the Russia hoax. It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country.”
And in 2019, on the subject of reparations, Carlson boosted a guest who told Black Americans that they need to “move on from slavery,” resulting in a mass exodus of advertisers from the show.
In an exhaustive review of his broadcasts this April, The New York Times concluded that Carlson’s segment “may be the most racist show in the history of cable news.”