Republican senator touts anti-Asian conspiracy theory on Fox News

Republican senator touts anti-Asian conspiracy theory on Fox News
via Fox News
Ryan General
March 6, 2024
Senator Roger Marshall (R, KS-1) propagated unsubstantiated claims about Chinese-owned massage parlors being part of a vast conspiracy during an appearance on a Fox News program.
The gist: On a recent segment of Fox News‘ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” Sen. Marshall aired a conspiracy theory alleging that massage parlors owned by Chinese Americans are part of a longstanding scheme by China‘s government and the Chinese triads (organized crime groups) to infiltrate and influence the United States. 
Unsubstantiated claims: Without presenting any evidence, the senator asserted that the triads are involved in fentanyl and human trafficking. He further claimed that the proliferation of massage parlors across Kansas and other states is a strategic move orchestrated by China. 
“So you’re gonna see massage parlors spring up, and then next to them might be a restaurant, it might be a hair salon, a nail salon, those types of things,” Marshall told Bartiromo. “But the Chinese triad has become an expert at money laundering, and we’re gonna see this organized crime just grow and grow and grow.”
When asked about the source of his information, Marshall admitted that he was not actually briefed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and he was relying solely on local law enforcement agencies.

Links to Chairman Mao: Marshall connected these activities to the purported mission of former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong to undermine America. Marshall also criticized the Biden administration’s handling of border security, framing the issue as a national security concern.
Fox’s role: Maria Bartiromo and Fox News allowed Marshall to present his claims without highlighting their unsubstantiated nature. This raises questions about the network’s commitment to fact-based reporting. The coverage itself aligns with a pattern of the network giving a platform to unsubstantiated theories, particularly those with anti-immigrant sentiment.
Why it matters: This incident highlights how major news outlets can amplify unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that demonize immigrants, specifically Asian Americans in this case. Marshall’s statements and Fox’s willingness to broadcast them are dangerous because they fuel xenophobic rhetoric and potentially incite violence against Asian Americans.
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