14:30 GMT +312 December 2019
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    Honduran migrants help each other to cross over the U.S. border wall to San Diego, California, from Tijuana, Mexico, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018

    Critics of Fox News’ Tough Immigration Remarks Accused of ‘Stifling Free Speech’

    © AP Photo / Moises Castillo
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    Despite several advertisers pulling their ads from his prime-time show, Tucker Carlson stuck to his tough stance on immigration and called criticism on social media a “well-worn tactic” from those on the left.

    Tucker Carlson, the host of Fox News talk programme Tucker Carlson Tonight, has faced a departure of advertisers and public backlash for speaking out on the issues caused by mass immigration.

    One of Carlson’s reports last week was dedicated to the migrant caravan that was seeking to enter the United States as well as the risks that it poses to the American environment and economy alike. The caravan is now stuck in Mexico's Tijuana on the other side of the US border, reportedly leaving trash and human waste on the streets.

    Commenting on the left's pro-immigration narrative, Carlson said: “The left says we have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, even if it makes our own country more like Tijuana is now, which is to say poorer and dirtier and more divided”.

    His comments sparked backlash from those on the left; moreover, several advertisers, including the IHOP family restaurant chain, personal website NerdWallet and insurance company Pacific Life, announced that they would pull their ads from his show.

    READ MORE: Trump Posts Video of Clinton Voicing Support for Fence Against Illegal Migrants

    Pacific Life said that it “strongly disagrees” with Carlson’s opinion.

    “Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in”, the insurance firm tweeted.

    A spokeswoman for IHOP indicated, as cited by AP, that the remarks in question are out of sync with the company’s values of “welcoming all folks from all backgrounds and beliefs”. She said the ad withdrawal would not affect other Fox News programs.

    Carlson appeared unwavering on his stance on illegal immigration. He doubled down his rhetoric, slamming the criticism as a “well-worn tactic” to silence those who want to speak out.

    “Those who won’t shut up get silenced. You’ve seen it a million times. It happens all the time. The enforcers scream ‘racist!’ on Twitter until everyone gets intimidated, and changes the subject to the Russia investigation or some other distraction”.

    “It’s a tactic. A well-worn one. Nobody thinks it's real. And it won’t work with this show. We’re not intimidated. We plan to try to say what’s true until the last day. And the truth is, unregulated mass immigration has badly hurt this country’s natural landscape”.

    The Fox News channel mirrored his claims, saying that “left-wing advocacy groups” were using social media to “stifle free speech”. The network said in a statement that it “continues to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions.”

    According to AP, Fox added that it won’t allow Carlson to be “censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts” and that all advertisers moved their ads to other shows, so “no revenue was lost”.


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