Bias Watch

Tucker Carlson is afraid gun-toting trans people will start “political violence”

Tucker Carlson, transgender, rainbow reload, guns, LGBTQ, bigot, phobia, firearms
Tucker Carlson Photo: Fox News Screenshot

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has claimed that National Public Radio (NPR) is over-hyping anti-transgender violence to encourage the trans community to arm themselves with military-grade weapons.

As “proof,” Carlson pointed to a recent NPR segment about Rainbow Reload, an LGBTQ+ gun club based in New Hampshire. The segment mentioned how “mass shootings targeting LGBTQ spaces and a rise in anti-trans rhetoric have inspired some queer people to take up arms.”

Carlson considers this hypocritical because he believes NPR is solidly anti-gun.

“This is the same NPR that … routinely run[s] segments calling for more gun control … Here’s that same National Public Radio — state radio, state media controlled by the Biden administration — encouraging people to go to the gun store immediately, but not all people, just trans people. Guns are bad except in the hands of trans people. Wow,” Carlson said in the Thursday night installment of his show.

Carlson is lying. NPR is not “controlled” by the president. According to Influence Watch, it is a non-profit that receives less than 1 percent of its budget directly from the federal government. It is overseen by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and supported by local and state NPR members who contribute to its funding and reporting.

Regardless, Carlson then mocked NPR for referring to new trans firearm owners as “gun-curious,” implying that some are also likely “pedophile-curious.” This comment repeats right-wing “groomer” rhetoric that has inspired violence against trans people, drag performers, and LGBTQ-inclusive schools, hospitals, and performance venues.

“What’s going on here is that NPR has decided that guns are bad, except when the enforcers of its ideology have guns. You can’t have guns, but faithful servants of the Democratic Party can,” Carlson said. His proof of the Democrats’ anti-gun stance included clips of President Joe Biden (D) encouraging a ban on assault weapons to stop mass shootings.

“The trans community, of course, is a vehicle for something else and it’s always the same thing, which is political power and political power made possible by political violence,” Carlson said. “They want to be able to commit it and they want you defenseless so you can’t fight back.”

Carlson also disavowed “claims of violence and genocide against the trans community” by citing gay rightwing agitator Andy Ngo. Ngo said that trans identity is “a contagion spread by social media fads and youth peer pressure,” a common right-wing claim debunked by a recent study.

Ngo also said, “The few dozen trans people tragically killed in America each year are usually murdered by Black men in the course of prostitution activities.” This is both racist and untrue. While some murdered Black trans women have been sex workers, the “genocide” currently unfolding against trans people isn’t just about these murders.

Foremost, the violence occurs when right-wingers like Carlson claim that trans people are pedophiles and people like Michael Knowles call for eradicating “transgenderism” — a stance that has been espoused historically and in the current day by literal Nazis. Secondly, this genocide occurs as Republican legislators try to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth, increasing the likelihood of suicide among trans youth.

Nevertheless, Carlson said NPR is creating “political hysteria, fear ginned up on purpose with maximum dishonesty in order to get … armed people in a state of agitation.”

“How do you think that ends… if we’re following the logic here?” Carlson continued. “Why wouldn’t we be arming them as we are, say, Ukraine’s trans army? … Why stop with AR-15s? I mean, why not F-35s or tanks?”

It’s important to note that, in a 2020 slander case, Fox News’s lawyers said that Carlson is not a journalist and that his words should not be “taken by reasonable listeners as factual pronouncements.” In 2022, he suggested making men more masculine through “testicle tanning,”

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