Open thread for night owls: Enough with the fawning profiles of racists and Nazis

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

This weekend the New York Times was pilloried for a profile piece of an Ohio Nazi apologist. The piece was full of memorable detail on how the Hitler-supporting swastika-selling self-described Aryan ate and dressed lived. The actual beliefs of the interviewed extremist, though, were brushed aside. We learn that he does not think an all-white nation would be a bad thing; whether he believes either ethnic cleansing or Nazi-styled genocides are a plausible path forward is somehow left unaddressed. We learn that he writes “edgy” things online, and that he is an advocate for fascism over democracy; the brutal implications of such beliefs, and the plain history of the things the Nazi is advocating for, is left for the reader to either glean for themselves—or not. Instead we learn what his fiancee ordered at Applebee’s. (It was “the boneless wings.”)

The piece was met with such fury as to provoke a published defense from the paper.

As Eric Boehlert notes, however, the piece is part of an ongoing New York Times pattern of normalizing first Trump voters, then overt racists, then even the supporters of fascism and genocide:

If this had happened in a vacuum, people would say, ‘Well, The New York Times took a swing and a miss, and they missed, and okay, so what?’ This is part of a very larger story. For the last 12 months, the D.C. press, led by The New York Times, has been obsessed with humanizing, celebrating, normalizing Trump voters. And they’ve gotten so far to the right now they’re trying to normalize Nazis.

So, you know, they invented this news beat out of whole cloth. I am not joking — when they have done two dozen articles at this point, all white counties in red states, talked to Trump voters. You know how many times in 2009 The New York Times went to Baltimore, went to Chicago, went to L.A., and interviewed Obama supporters and said, ‘How great is Obama?’ They never did it because it wasn’t news. So why is this news? We’ve been doing this for a year. Drop it, because you end up glorifying Nazis.

The problem is not that the Times is elevating either casual racists or professional endorsers of ethnic cleansing; the problem is that the Times continues to feature these voices in pieces that willfully dodge the barbarism of their views or, worse, seeks to dismiss the overt hatred as ancillary. As meaningless. A piece about the economic anxiety in a nearly all-white Midwestern town will feature bland racist asides or maudlin conspiracy theories bubbled out by the denizens of the diner-of-the-moment; each piece stubbornly insists that it must not be the omnipresent racism or conspiracy theories peddled by, at this point, dozens of individual interviewees; it must be a nebulous something else. Trade deficits, perhaps.

How do you write a piece about a modern-day supporter of Nazism that dodges whether the subject would or would not endorse a new, modern-day state-sponsored genocide? How do you write a post about a man who burbles out crude online rants about “overweight, black, crippled dyke[s] with dyslexia” and wander past the wreck with, at best, musings of whether or not it is merely intended to be edgy?

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(Here’s the link to that NPS.gov history of Pocahontas…MB)

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2009Gobble Gobble … ROAR!

Millions of us will be sitting down to enjoy a good meal and great company today, followed by gravy drenched sandwiches for the rest of the week. The centerpiece of the traditional Thanksgiving feast on many US tables will be a stuffed and roasted Meleagris gallopavo, better known as the domestic descendant of the American wild turkey. It’s an appropriate choice. M. gallopavo was highly valued by Native Americans and is a true blue, red-blooded American meal. One founding father was so taken with it that he proposed the turkey as our national bird, instead of what he considered the less admirable Bald Eagle:

For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America … a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on. Benjamin Franklin, January 26, 1784

Birds have one of the most interesting evolutionary tales in all the animal kingdom. If it could be summed up in one word, that word might be … dinosaur! It happens that early paleontologists were keen on the dino-bird relationship. But over the next few decades, as larger and less bird-like terrible lizards were unearthed, the dino-bird idea faded away. Now it’s come roaring back and it’s easy to see why. 

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.”