Jim Acosta argues that there’s plenty of blame to go around in how the media has covered Afghanistan’s fall to the Taliban, but he singles out Tucker Carlson, in particular, calling him Fox News’ “Ayatollah of Paranoia” for attempting to incite fear of being “invaded” by Afghan refugees.
On Acosta’s Saturday show, the CNN host took aim at conservative media personalities for what he feels are inappropriate responses to the crisis in Afghanistan.
“The pictures of Afghans clinging to military planes are not what riles up the Fox audience — it’s these images of Afghans loaded onto those planes,” Acosta said, showing a crowded C-17 cargo plane loaded with refugees. “And leave it to Tucker Carlson, Fox’s ‘Ayatollah of Paranoia’ to take it one step too far.”
“If history is any guide, and it’s always a guide, we will see many refugees from Afghanistan resettle in our country in the coming months, probably in your neighborhood,” Carlson said in a clip from his show. “Over the next decade, that number may swell to the millions. So first we invade and then we’re invaded.”
Acosta had other right-wing media personalities on his radar, as well, commenting on similarly inflammatory remarks made by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and Newsmax host Steve Cortes.
“Is it really our responsibility to welcome thousands of potentially unvetted refugees from Afghanistan?” Ingraham asked in a clip from her show. “All day we’ve heard phrases like we promised them — well, who did? Did you?”
Acosta also shared a statement Cortes (who he identified as “another pro-Trump propagandist”) made on Twitter this week. “Raise your hand if you want this plane landing in your town,” Cortes had written, sharing a photo of the Afghan refugees crowded onto a U.S. military plane.
“I can think of somebody raising her hand. Anybody ever heard the line, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?’” Acosta responded, referring to the Statue of Liberty poem, New Colossus.
“America has a long and proud history of welcoming refugees from war-torn countries,” he continued, adding that the Statue of Liberty has “always symbolized that beacon of hope to the world.”
These Afghans, Acosta said, came to our aid, and “we can’t leave them behind.”
“The images out of Afghanistan are hard to look at,” he concluded. “There’s no question about it. Perhaps that’s to be expected when you try to end what’s been called the forever war. But if we want to end that forever war, if we really want to get home from Afghanistan, I know one light showing us the way.”