Fox News host Tucker Carlson denigrated Springfield during a segment on his show last week, referring to the city as one that had “devolved” into a landscape marked by “drugs, violence, [and] waves of impoverished immigrants.”
The political commentator singled out the city in the episode, which focused on the aftermath of an incident of alleged racial profiling at Smith College in Northampton — nearly 20 miles away — as a means of creating an otherwise tenuous connection between the two locales.
But his effort to paint Springfield as a “tragic place” and supposedly “one of the toughest cities” in the country — Carlson failed to provide any substantial evidence to support those claims — compared to Northampton, which he characterized as “pretty” and “well-kept,” drew the ire of Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and several city officials.
Markey rebuked the judgments made by Carlson, referring to Springfield as “diverse and beautiful, full of vibrant neighborhoods, and home to world class hospitals, colleges, and museums.”
The community in Springfield, Massachusetts is diverse and beautiful, full of vibrant neighborhoods, and home to world class hospitals, colleges, and museums. @TuckerCarlson can keep Springfield out of his mouth. They don't deserve his vicious, dishonest, and hateful comments.— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) February 26, 2021
The senator said the people of Springfield don’t deserve his “vicious, dishonest, and hateful comments.”
“[Carlson] can keep Springfield out of his mouth,” Markey tweeted.
And while Carlson got a couple of facts about the city right — such as basketball originating there and it being the source of the first successful gas-powered automobile — many city officials were left scratching their heads, issuing passionate defenses of the place they call home.
Springfield, coined the “City of Firsts” for its “history of innovation,” according to the city’s official website, is perhaps most known for its connection to Dr. Seuss, the Basketball Hall of Fame, and having the first Armory in the country — rather than the wave of crime described by Carlson, officials including state Senator Adam Gomez pointed out.
While the community has its “struggles,” Gomez told MassLive, it is “still vibrant.”
The newly elected representative said the comments he took the most issue with were those centered on “the kind of people who live in Springfield,” who Carlson appeared to portray as criminal in nature.
“The kind of people who live in Springfield are business owners. They work hard,” Gomez told the outlet. “We have communities that live here, that migrated here. The Puerto Rican community that’s been here for more than 50 years, the Irish, the Italians.”
Our communities aren’t defined by people like Tucker Carlson. We won’t be deterred by a talking head who has never been here or anywhere like here. Pay no attention to this ignorance, and keep building together.— Jesse L. Lederman (@JLLederman) February 26, 2021
Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman had a similar message, adding that “our communities aren’t defined by people like Tucker Carlson.”
“We won’t be deterred by a talking head who has never been here or anywhere like here,” he said. “Pay no attention to this ignorance, and keep building together.”
And while those like Gomez said the event that occurred at Smith College was not acceptable, both he and Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno asserted there was no association between the incident and the city they represent.
Springfield has “nothing to do with the incident at Smith College in Northampton,” Sarno said.
Thank you Ed Markey for continuing to stand up for our Springfield. God Bless. Mayor Domenic Sarno Mayor Sarno Responds...Posted by City of Springfield, MA - Office of Communications on Friday, February 26, 2021
“I am proud to say that Springfield has been on a historic rebirth prior to the pandemic with nearly $5 billion of economic development and the creation of thousands of new jobs, including improved and new schools, and dozens of neighborhood improvements,” Sarno said. “I am proud of our citizens of Springfield and our business community, who have contributed to this rebirth.”