The term Alt-Right is nothing more than a euphemism for white nationalism, a movement whose only political agenda is spreading hate, fake news, bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, misogyny and intolerance. It’s an umbrella term that encompasses Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation and other hate groups who overtly and proudly seek a race war.
They have no legitimate, realistic policy agendas, and should therefore not be given the same level of platform as those with actual political acumen and ambition. It’s frightening how these groups are now actually in the conversation despite the horrific repugnance of their discourse and agenda.
My first cover for The New Yorker entitled “Blowhard.” pic.twitter.com/OjnjELalVP
— David Plunkert (@plunkert) August 17, 2017
The alt-right deserve no place in the mainstream political discussion, and the media must do its job not to give them the equal time and equal footing granted to serious participants in the political process with modern, practical ideas.
The mainstream media has already made this serious mistake once in how they legitimized Donald Trump by giving him so much more air time than other political candidates.
Cable news gave more screen time to an empty Trump podium than they allotted for many of the more serious candidates and now we’re seeing the horrible repercussions of that decision.
— Jason Febery (@JasonFebery) August 14, 2017
The election of Trump brought white supremacists up from the margins, and out of the shadows. His presence in the Oval Office makes poignant political cartoons like we saw this week –The Guardian’s placing a white KKK hood on the White House, The Economist’s Trump holding a white hood megaphone, The New Yorker’s “blowhard” cover, Time’s cover of a man doing the Nazi “sieg heil” salute through an American flag- hauntingly spot on.
For a short synopsis of how we got here, watch this video by Vox.com’s Carlos Maza, via Media Matters for America.
Maza explains how the GOP got pulled to the far right, as numerous outlets in conservative media competed with each other for the same audience, and thus had to out-sensationalize one another to attract and retain their base.
In memory of Roger Ailes, who made bigotry, fear, and paranoia permanent fixtures of American conservative media: pic.twitter.com/nxw2XYZIRK
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 18, 2017
Conservative media outlets felt the need to one up each other in anger and paranoia, and thus the public profiles for hate-mongers like Richard Spencer, Laura Ingrahan and Tomi Lahren continued to grow.
It’s time for that to stop. The cycle must now be broken. The Breitbart crowd who think that FOX News Channel is far too liberal, need to be sent back underground where they belong. We can’t give the alt-right equal time, and treat these fringe minority views in a manner that presents them as being on par with the center, center-left, center-right, and the right.
The alt-right feels emboldened and empowered by Trump’s false equivocation and failure to thoroughly denounce them after the atrocity of Charlottesville.
This is the cover of Time this week. Call your representatives. Protest. Donate to causes that help minorities. Speak up. Take a stand. pic.twitter.com/xIT0BD951x
— Alexis Benveniste (@apbenven) August 17, 2017
Sure, Steve Bannon is now ousted from the White House, and that’s a great step forward, but you still have many of his acolytes, the kind of people who took a harmless cartoon frog and transformed him into a Nazi and a Klansman out of the shadows and thrust into relevance.
There were many disturbing developments from Charlottesville, but one that goes overlooked is this simple fact- the tiki torch wielding men at the Robert E. Lee statue had no hoods. The alt-right felt no shame in showing the world exactly who they were, a stark contrast to times past in which this sort wouldn’t feel confident enough in their views being accepted.
Some of these white men were dealt swift repercussions by their employers or their schools because they were identified as white supremacist rally participants.
The media should give more coverage to these instances, as the examples made would deter others from joining the white power movement. As of now, these types really do believe that they should have a genuine presence in the American political arena.
Our cover this week pic.twitter.com/lYD3HLXvSC
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) August 17, 2017
That must cease and desist immediately.
Liberal or Conservative or centrist, democrat or Republican, we must now put aside our differences and stop this horrifying alt-right movement before it grows stronger and does further damage to our country’s political process.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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