Teen Vogue insists that anyone complaining about immigration must be defending the Great Replacement Theory. The truth being that there are some, a few, who worry about replacement and many others who simply have concerns about immigration. To claim that all who have concerns share that very minority and extreme view is called “poisoning the well”. It is to insist that all who disagree are extremists of the wildest kind.
The rhetorical move is obvious enough in Teen Vogue: “Republican politicians and commentators are continuing to embrace the white supremacist replacement theory about non-white immigration to the United States.” That’s their opening line. Their examples are Tucker Carlson and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who are a commentator and a politician, respectively. To generalize from specific and lone examples to an entire class – or even two classes, commentators and politicians – is that rhetorical trick. As the name of it refers to, doing this poisons that well of public discourse. It is to paint all who are not entirely in line with your own argument as the most extreme opponents of all that is good and just.
That it’s a common enough technique does not excuse Teen Vogue’s use of it. The site describes itself as “the destination for the next generation of influencers” and that the next generation is owed better argumentation than this. Their near 12 million digital users, some 14 million social media followers, might be better informed with more fact and less rhetoric.
It is entirely true that immigration into the United States has at times been intertwined with ideas about race. As Teen Vogue says “Until recently, the “Great Replacement” theory” had been banished from public discourse, circulating only at the white supremacist fringes. “ That’s also where it still is and painting all who have any comment at all upon immigration levels as adhering to that idea is both wrong and that rhetoric that poisons public debate. Discussions of how many immigrants America should accept is not the same as any insistence that those allowed in should be of one type or another, or that none of one type or another cannot be allowed to enter. To claim that it becomes a violation of that media responsibility to a presentation of a balanced discussion.
Some people in the country hold all sorts of views, the more extreme the fewer. Painting all those you disagree with as holding the most extreme of those is manipulation, not truth-telling.