Please take a stand against the media’s pseudo-neutrality
In its recent article “ Attack on Alt-Right Leader Has Internet Asking: Is It O.K. to Punch a Nazi? ”, the New York Times reported Richard Spencer being punched in the face as “an attack on a well-known far-right activist, Richard B. Spencer, in Washington after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president.”
This is literally unacceptable. Richard Spencer is a man who once ran an article advocating for black genocide, and should never be called an activist. The article uses the word “racist” exactly once and the rest of the time speaks of his radical views in soft blanketing terms like “the far right” or simply describing it as “anti-Semitic, anti-feminist”. This is not enough. By using this “neutral” language the media (in this case NY Times) is presenting fascism as a valid political platform and giving it false legitimacy to the public.
The article then went on to describe Richard Spencer’s feelings of being “unsafe” and “worried”, and even let him defend his political beliefs as being removed from Nazism. To paint such a horrible man in a sympathetic light, while sugar-coating his hateful views and, worse, giving him the opportunity to defend them, is an injustice. An injustice to the millions of Americans that feel unsafe because of him and the people who follow him.
And before someone tells me “hate breeds hate”: shut the fuck up. The media’s stance of “neutrality” can only benefit oppressors. When we speak of morally deplorable characters as if it’s “just a difference in opinion” instead of condemning their behavior, we are giving these people a platform and a much wider audience to continue encouraging hatred and violence.
I’ve seen so many positive posts circulating that are encouraging people to contact their state reps and senators, and I’m blown away by our collective effort to have our voices heard, and to hold our politicians accountable for their words.
The media is another representation of the public voice, and it must also be held accountable for how it reports on world events.
So what do we do?
Write your news sources. Call them. Do not allow them to paint hatred as a valid political stance.
I also encourage everyone to submit a correction to email@example.com regarding their recent article about Richard Spencer. Let them know about every instance where they misspelled “Nazi” as “alt-Right”. Do not afford Richard Spencer the luxury of choosing how he is represented in media.