Robert Reich: This Week’s Worst Influential American – OpEd


Call me old-fashioned, but I think people in public life need to be accountable for whatever damage they’re doing to public life. So from time to time I’m going to call out the person I consider to be the worst influential person in American public life.

Tough decision this week, given Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin’s efforts to torpedo Biden’s (and America’s) one shot at reversing widening inequality and combatting climate change, but this week’s winner isn’t either of them. He’s not even a politician. He’s the most popular talking head on Fox News, with 3 million viewers — and the most dangerous demagogue since Donald Trump. His name: Tucker Carlson.

He gets the prize because he recently played a 2015 clip of then-Vice President Joe Biden discussing America’s long history of benefiting from immigration. Then Carlson looked straight at the camera and said the reason Biden was in favor of immigration was “to change the racial mix of the country.”

Carlson continued: “That’s the reason, to reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here, and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the Third World.” And then added: “It’s horrifying. But there’s a reason Biden said it. In political terms, this policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries.”

Carlson has spewed this “great replacement” excrement before, but it’s particularly absurd now because the Biden administration is doing just the opposite – to my horror. It just deported thousands of Haitian refugees desperate to escape Haiti’s deathly chaos. (Oh, and the Obama administration set a record for deportations.)

A liberal “great replacement” conspiracy? Horse manure. If there’s any conspiracy it involves right-wing hate-mongers like Carlson — who are intent on sowing more anger and division in an America still reeling from four years of Trump.

My great grandparents came to this land from Russia and eastern Europe, mainly because their lives were endangered. They and other waves of immigrants have made America into what it is today, both the good and the bad. They didn’t “replace” anyone.

The only people entitled to complain about a “great replacement” are native Americans.

Tucker knows this but he doesn’t care. He’s just an opportunistic cynic who wants to drive up his ratings by feeding white resentment. For that, he’s this week’s worst influential American.

What do you think? 

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

2 thoughts on “Robert Reich: This Week’s Worst Influential American – OpEd

  • October 6, 2021 at 10:30 am

    I used to like this guy, almost to the point of reverence. His book, “Saving Capitalism” is great.

    He sits in his ivory tower, immune from his policies of illegal immigration, other. His kids are not being beaten up by the nice friendly M13 guys, et al. He might have a few token (passive) minorities at his children’s private schools. while working class blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians are terrorized by young thugs ( overwhelmingly black, Hispanic ) in urban cites.

    He is the archetypical hypocrite, smug and safe in his gated community. He is fast and lose with the facts, He’s a skillful liar.

    Like I said, I used to like this guy, almost to the point of reverence. No more.

  • October 8, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    Robert Reich is one of the great minds of economics and public policy of our time. He is right about Tucker Carlson’s being a blight on our nation. Most Americans are ashamed of Fox News and want it gone. Unfortunately, our highest court holds tight to the ideology of the First Amendment. They tolerate hate speech and political lying, regardless of the harm it creates. Reich is one of us who speaks truth to power and more are on the way. Hopefully, the racist, anti-immigrant feelings are dying as our children step up with open minds to a global world where all are valued and welcome here. The street where I reside includes families of every race and many cultures. We love it here.


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