Pat Buchanan Wrote That the El Paso Shooter’s claim That There’s an “Invasion” of the Country is “an Accurate and Valid Description." His Reward for White Supremacy, a Show on PBS.
August 21st 2019
By Bill Berkowitz
Since Pat Buchanan hasn’t been completely banished from appearing on television blab-fests, it probably would be incorrect to attribute Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator catchphrase, "I'll be back," to describe his return to PBS in a new incarnation of “The McLaughlin Group.” However, “He’s back!” from the Curse of Chucky might come to mind with the news that Buchanan will be a featured panelist on the reprise of the program. That’s right, Pat Buchanan, one of America’s original twentieth century culture warriors, will be back on the scene on your television/iPod/Android/iPhone screen coming January 2020.
In a recent Buchanan-penned column he wrote that the El Paso shooter’s claim that there’s an “invasion” of the country is “an accurate and valid description.” Upon hearing the news about Buchanan, Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted: “Especially as white supremacist violence surges, it is irresponsible and dangerous to give Pat Buchanan a public platform for his repugnant #antiSemitic, white supremacist and homophobic views. Public TV stations must keep this hate off the airwaves.”
According to Media Matters For America’s Eric Hananoki, “Buchanan himself has repeatedly labeled undocumented immigration an ‘invasion.’ His 2006 book is titled State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. His 2001 book is titled The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. He used the ‘invasion’ rhetoric in his presidential campaigns.
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“He’s also been a frequent promoter of the white supremacist ‘great replacement’ theory, to which the alleged El Paso shooter subscribed. In a January 2018 column, for example, Buchanan warned against admitting non-white immigrants, saying that ‘Americans have the sovereign right to discriminate in favor of some continents, countries and cultures, and against others’ and concluding: ‘Mass immigration means an America in 2050 with no core majority, made up of minorities of every race, color, religion and culture on earth, a continent-wide replica of the wonderful diversity we see today in the U.N. General Assembly. Such a country has never existed before. Are we on the Yellow Brick Road to the new Utopia — or on the path to national suicide?’”
The McLaughlin Group -- one of the early right-leaning television shout-fests, hosted by the late John McLaughlin, which aired on PBS stations from 1982 until McLaughlin’s death in 2016 – is set to return to public television in January 2020.
In 2018, Tom Rogan hosted a revival. That was followed by an online-only broadcast, which went on hiatus from January through August 2019. The show is scheduled to return to the air on Maryland Public Television in September 2019 and nationally in the United States in January 2020. According to Salon’s TV critic, Melanie McFarland: “The revived ‘McLaughlin’ is hosted by Washington Examiner columnist and McLaughlin’s mentee Tom Rogan, who will be joined by the original panelist team of Page, Clift and yes, [Pat] Buchanan” (https://www.salon.com/2019/08/18/pat-buchanan-back-on-pbs-really-why-we-dont-need-a-mclaughlin-group-revival-now/).
Although it is hard to imagine that television, let alone PBS, needs another gabfest, McFarland pointed out that “At the moment the main point of contention with the program’s return is that Buchanan is coming back. Any person still in touch with their conscience should have a problem with that, given Buchanan’s long history of being a segregationist, an anti-Semite, a sexist and a homophobe, to list some of his finer qualities.”
Media Matters for America received the following statement from Maryland Public Television: “Public media provides a big tent for the expression of many points of view. ‘The McLaughlin Group’ has been a long-time staple on public TV. It’s a program series viewers appreciate for its wide range of views and perspectives, as well as the lively debate on issues that takes place among its panelists.”
How is it that Buchanan continues to appear on television? Twenty years ago Jake Tapper, now the host of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper," explained in Salon: “In between his racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic rhetorical outbursts, Buchanan speaks cogently and with conviction about a number of subjects -- including trade, abortion and foreign policy -- that clearly resonate with voters.”
“And while the Buchanan of the ‘80s and ‘90s might have been excused as a Nixonian paleoconservative who went against Republican party orthodoxy, today his views are completely in line with the white nationalism has become the conservative brand,” McFarland pointed out. “His strain of conservatism is incapable of honest, illuminative, useful debate. A few years ago I would have called his rhetoric dangerous, but now it’s dangerously mainstream, completely in-step with the administration’s stated views and goals, which means ‘The McLaughlin Group’ probably won’t be offering anything different than what’s on cable news.”
John McLaughlan was brash, loud, and showy ringmaster who questioned his four panelists, which included such liberals as Jack Germond, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page. McLaughlin himself was a strong supporter of all things Ronald Reagan. In 1997, Christopher Hitchens wrote that The McLaughlin Group “was firmly aligned with the Reagan administration,” an entry on Wikipedia pointed out. “Not only did it accept all sorts of preconditions for access to official guests …, it actively assisted the White House – McLaughlin's wife Ann served in the cabinet, and Pat Buchanan was ‘hired straight off the set’ to be Reagan's director of communications. As for McLaughlin himself, Hitchens said, ‘he likes to canvass all opinions from the extreme right to the moderate right.’”
McLaughlin was also the object of numerous parodies, most notably by comedian Dana Carvey of Saturday Night Live.
The newly revivified McLaughlin Group will give Buchanan another shot at a wider audience. Why Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce recently wrote: that while white supremacy is “literally getting people killed, a public television station has decided to roll back the stone and bring back Pat Buchanan, who is responsible more than most people for injecting this poison into the body politic generally and into the Republican Party in particular.”