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In Tucker Carlson’s final show on Fox News, he covered topics that might make any of his 3 million viewers anxious.
More Black people will be selling weed in the nation’s cities, he said. Democrats are inviting immigrants to pour across the border to help them win elections, he said. Low-income housing is being forced on American suburbs, he warned.
Carlson seemed to have no knowledge the April 21 show would be his last, but he reprised themes viewers who have watched "Tucker Carlson Tonight" over the last seven years would recognize: Crime. Race. LGBTQ+ topics. He portrayed a United States under attack and falling into mayhem under the leadership of Democrats, including President Joe Biden.
His guests included a pizza delivery person who returned to the show for a second time, this time speaking only briefly about an injury he sustained stopping a car thief. The implication: You could be a victim of crime, unless, of course, you have the luck of being saved by a guy carrying a cardboard box of pizza. (The driver later brought Carlson sausage and pineapple pie.)
On his show, Carlson regularly used what critics derided as coded language, particularly when speaking about race. This last show was no different: When discussing the federal government’s efforts to expand housing in the suburbs, Carlson lamented "demographic change." As he spoke, an image of a large crowd of people appeared on screen. Biden’s image was superimposed over the crowd, and he held his arm outstretched in a summoning motion. "Let Them In and Let Them Vote," text across the photo read. "To win elections, you need people to vote for you," the chyron at the bottom of the screen said.
Throughout the episode, Carlson revisited familiar narratives, including Hunter Biden’s laptop, as well as pop culture outrage — this time, triggered by what Carlson described as Netflix’s attempt to "rewrite history" by suggesting Cleopatra was Black in an upcoming film.
With another guest, Chadwick Moore, a gay conservative writer who lives in New York, Carlson ridiculed the LGBTQ+ acronym and community. After showing a store display for "LGBTQIA+" Mother’s Day cards, Carlson asked, "Do I qualify in the ‘plus’ category? And if not me, who?" Chadwick replied, "Oh, you absolutely 100% do!" Carlson and his guest broke into laughter.
Without giving a reason, Fox News announced April 24 that it had "agreed to part ways" with Carlson. Carlson gave no hint it would be the last time he would address his Fox audience as he signed off, munching pizza.
"We’ll be back on Monday," he said, moments after encouraging viewers to stream his less-appetizing special, "Let them Eat Bugs," a series that suggests environmental activists are pushing Americans to consume insects rather than meat. "In the meantime, have the best weekend with the ones you love, and we’ll see you then."
After years of debunking Carlson’s false claims, here’s what we found to fact-check in Carlson’s last Fox show.
Carlson: "Marcia Fudge’s lived experience tells her that there is racism in home appraisals — but there’s still no data on that. There’s no evidence whatsoever. It is, at this point, completely made up."
Carlson repeated the claim three times in slightly different ways, but it’s false. Data and research contradicts Carlson’s claim, which he framed as a rebuttal to the experience of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, who is Black.
An analysis of 47 million appraisal reports released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in October 2022 found widespread racial bias in home appraisals.
And according to a 2022 analysis by researchers from the housing and finance nonprofit Eruka and Washington University in St. Louis, when similar homes were appraised in neighborhoods with comparable socioeconomic status and amenities, homes in white neighborhoods were appraised "at double the value of homes in communities of color."
The Brookings Institution, a U.S. policy research group, also found in December 2022 that "homes in Black neighborhoods are valued roughly 21% to 23% below what their valuations would be in non-Black neighborhoods."
All across the country, there have been numerous instances of Black homeowners receiving lower appraisals for their homes until after the homes have been "whitewashed," or made to look as if a white family lived there.
Carlson: "The only job training program this administration has gotten behind in two and a half years is getting Black people to sell more weed in the cities. Literally! We’re legalizing weed, and we’re going to make sure the weed dispensaries have African American owners."
We found no evidence that the Biden administration has taken action to get Black Americans to sell more marijuana.
Some states have passed "social equity" laws to help some groups, including minorities, get licenses to open marijuana dispensaries.
Cannabis has been legalized for medical or adult use in 36 states, and about 15 states have social equity programs, a 2022 report by the Minority Cannabis Business Association shows.
Many states with social equity programs use criteria that are not about race. New York’s 2021 law says it will award half of the licenses to a long list of groups including:
minority- or women-owned businesses
members of communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition
people who are low-income
those convicted of cannabis-related offenses prior to the effective date of this chapter or who had certain family members convicted.
Experts on the marijuana industry say that these efforts at diversifying the industry have not paid off. MJBizDaily, an online source of cannabis business industry news, found that nonwhite ownership of cannabis businesses shrank in 2022 to 15.4% from 20.7% in 2021.
Maritza Perez Medina, federal affairs director at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group promoting alternatives to the war on drugs, said, "The Biden administration has done nothing to help marijuana dispensaries have African American owners."
A bill in Congress included grant money to diversify the marijuana industry, Medina said, but Biden didn’t weigh in on the bill, which did not become law.
"Tucker is full of it," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, an advocacy group for legalizing responsible use of marijuana by adults. "It is absolutely up to states, the federal government has no bearing or influence on this policy whatsoever."
The Biden administration issued an order in February about racial equity that mentioned the "country’s failed approach to marijuana," but it did not call for helping more Black Americans sell marijuana.
Carlson’s comment also ignored the Biden administration’s encouragement of job growth in other industries, including infrastructure. The administration has designated millions of dollars for employers to train job seekers in the energy, transportation and broadband infrastructure sectors.
Carlson: Fentanyl is "here because our southern border is open."
About halfway through the episode, Carlson turned his focus to immigration and the southern U.S. border. On screen, viewers were shown a graphic that appeared to show migrants crossing a river overlaid with the text "Breakdown at the Border" in big, red letters.
His alarmist claim that the southern border is "open" is false. The border is not open. A combination of physical barriers such as fences, surveillance technology such as drones and about 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents help limit who and what comes into the United States.
Immigrants encountered by border agents are routinely expelled by the use of a public health order, Title 42, that was put in place by Trump. In March 2023, immigration officials recorded 191,899 encounters at the southern border, including 87,661 expulsions.
Title 42 is slated to expire May 11, but U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will continue to prevent migrants from coming into the country without permission.
In 2022, PolitiFact reported that the funding requests and staffing for Customs and Border Protection were comparable and remained consistent under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Laws and policies that prevent immigrants who cross the southern border illegally from remaining in the U.S. are still in place.
PolitiFact Staff Writer Maria Ramirez Uribe contributed to this report.
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TVNewser, These Are the Top-Rated Cable News Shows of 2022, Jan. 3, 2023
Brookings, State cannabis reform is putting social justice front and center, April 16, 2021
Congress.gov, H.R.3617 - Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, House vote April 1, 2022
New York Office of Cannabis Management, What is in the Law Social and Economic Equity, February 2022
MJBizDaily, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry, 2022
Minority Cannabis Business Association, MCBA National Cannabis Equity Report, 2022
Email interview, Maritza Perez Medina director of the Office of Federal Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, April 25, 2023
Telephone and email interview, Paul Armentano, deputy director at NORML, April 25, 2023
The New York Times, Widespread Racial Bias Found in Home Appraisals, Nov. 2, 2022
Eruka & Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy, Appraised: The Persistent Evaluation of White Neighborhoods as More Valuable Than Communities of Color, November 2022
Brookings, How racial bias in appraisals affects the devaluation of homes in majority-Black neighborhoods, Dec. 5, 2022
NPR, Black couple settles lawsuit claiming their home appraisal was lowballed due to bias, March 9, 2023
NPR, A lawsuit in California says homes of Black families are being under-valued, December 12, 2021
WUSA-TV, Black Maryland couple says house appraised higher after it was 'Whitewashed.' Now they want justice, Aug. 25, 2022
KING-TV, After a low appraisal, Black Seattle family 'whitewashes' home, gets higher price, Nov. 15, 2022
CNN, A Black family says they ‘whitewashed’ their home to get a higher appraisal. They’re not the only ones, April 20, 2023
PolitiFact, JD Vance’s ad about ‘open border’ and immigrant voters is wrong, April 8, 2022
Fox News, Tyler Morrell on helping cops stop a runaway suspect: 'That felt like the right thing,' April 19, 2023
PolitiFact, Title 42 is not ‘the last tool’ Border Patrol has to prevent illegal immigration, Aug. 31, 2022
PolitiFact, Nevada Senate GOP candidate Adam Laxalt falsely claims Biden has ‘dismantled border security,’ April 25, 2023
PolitiFact, A surprising number of Americans believe these false claims about immigrants. Here are the facts, Sept. 6, 2022
The Washington Post, Fox News host Tucker Carlson uses racist, homophobic language in second set of recordings, March 11, 2019