No One Label Fits The ‘Alt-Right,’ So Use Their Words And Actions To Show Who They Are

The coverage from and about this weekend’s attack and violence in Charlottesville has been impressive, starting with the breaking news coverage on digital and on-the-air Saturday, right through Sunday’s reports and this morning’s step-backs.

Many thanks to all those involved.

A couple things to note:

We’ve done well on this point, but it’s worth a reminder that (as we said last November) it’s not enough to simply refer to the “alt-right” and then move on. First, that label feels like a euphemism. Second, there’s much more that has to be said about the people who say they’re part of that movement.

Within the ranks of those who call themselves the alt-right there are:

- White supremacists.
- White nationalists.
- Neo-Nazis.
- Anti-Semites.
- Racists.

There are also those who say they are none of those things, but contend that whites are suffering economically because “others” are being given unfair advantages.

Here’s the thing: The positions people hold, the things they do and the politicians they choose to support say a lot — more than labels, it can be argued.

What do we do? As much as possible, we should “show, don’t tell.” For instance, we described what the people at the “unite the right” rally were doing, saying, carrying, throwing, etc. Their words and actions spoke loudly. The descriptions then allowed for later references to “white supremacists,” “white nationalists,” “neo-Nazis” and others as being among those there. “White supremacists and others” is an appropriate catch-all.

The second thing worth noting is that when someone says something that’s clearly not true, we should point that out as soon as possible. Check how it was done, twice, in Brian Mann’s report this morning about a man who supports the way President Trump addressed the violence.

When the man claimed that Black Lives Matter was “another hate group,” Brian came right in to note that “in fact, Black Lives Matter has no history of violence or racial bigotry comparable to America’s far-right militias, neo-Nazis or Klan groups.”

When the man said he never heard President Obama call for unity, Brian immediately pointed out that “in fact, Barack Obama did call for national unity numerous times during his presidency, especially during times of racial conflict and violence.”

Again, good work all around. Thanks.

(“Memmos;” Aug. 14, 2017)

August 14, 2017

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