Earlier this week, returning to his late night show after a second bout with Covid-19 in a month, The Late Show‘s Stephen Colbert came out hot with his take on the Buffalo grocery store shooting from last weekend:

“While I am happy to be back, I am sad to say that as you know, the #1 story today is not only tragic, it is tragically common. Because the attack in Buffalo this weekend is not the first overtly racist mass shooting this country has witnessed in recent years.”

via Twitter / @HuffPost

Colbert continued:

“It’s a truly horrific crime. And of course our hearts are with the victims and their families and their community. In this case, a predominantly black neighborhood that the suspect targeted after spelling out his motivations clearly in an online rant in which he referred to something called ‘replacement theory’.”

The “Replacement Theory” is a white supremacist conspiracy asserting that white people in America will be replaced by people of color and become the minority race.

Colbert added “Obviously that is racist and hateful and crazy…Also, if you think white people are being replaced, then who’s shopping at Vineyard Vines?”

“Tucker Carlson” by Gage Skidmore is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The host continued:

“Where does anyone get an idea that monstrous? Well, it used to be only from the farthest rightwing fringe organizations – your Storm Fronts, your neo-Nazis. But these days, you can see it every night on TV thanks to Fox News and host Tucker Carlson, who has advanced the idea that a “cabal of elites want to force demographic change through immigration” in more than 400 episodes of his show. According to the New York Times, producers sometimes found raw material for his show from the same internet corners that the Buffalo shooter did.”

“That doesn’t mean Tucker’s responsible for what happened,” Colbert continued, “But I would hope it would give anyone pause to find out that their browser history matches that of a mass murderer.”

Stephen Colbert via Flickr / @ John S Quarterman https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Some polls have found recently that nearly half of Republicans agree with replacement theory, with Colbert pointing to the number three Republican in the House, House GOP conference chair, Elise Stefanik.  Stefanick published a series of Facebook advertisements in 2021 claiming “radical Democrats” were planning to grant amnesty to immigrants to “overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”

Colbert mocked Stefanik’s claim:

“Oh, and you know what those liberals will do with their powerful permanent majority?. Beg Joe Manchin for paid family leave, and then when he doesn’t vote for it say, ‘oh, OK then, is there something else we could do for you? What if we fed coal directly to dolphins?’”

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Christopher Powell