“The term has been quickly weaponized.”
Does everyone remember how the liberal media treated the Tea Party back in 2009? Every rally was reported about breathlessly as the media anticipated violence which never materialized. The Tea Party was constantly framed as a potentially dangerous movement.
Today, everyone who voted for Trump or even those who don’t denounce him loudly enough are automatically connected to Neo-Nazis, the KKK and the Alt-Right.
Antifa is being treated differently and the reason couldn’t be more obvious. Antifa makes the left look bad. Really bad. As a fix for this problem, Margaret Sullivan, a media columnist for the Washington Post has advice for journalists covering Antifa:
Here’s the best thing the media can do when reporting on ‘antifa’
For many Americans, the first they heard of antifa was last month when a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville burst into the news.
Since then, though, it’s everywhere.
Trevor Noah did a comic riff on it last week, calling the group the “vegan ISIS.” Sean Hannity’s substitute, Jonathan Gilliam, lumped in Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville, with anti-fascists. And The Washington Post’s editorial board suggested the group call itself “profa” because its tactics work against its cause.
Most notably, of course, President Trump denounced Charlottesville violence “on many sides” — equating the neo-Nazis there with the anti-fascists, who say they aim to fight back against the rise of white supremacy and totalitarianism. (With roots in 1930s Europe, antifa’s adherents believe in direct action, including force if they deem it necessary.)
Confusion reigns. But one thing is clear: The term has been quickly weaponized. Blended with some hazy terms like “alt-left,” it became politically useful to the right, and certainly to the president.
Buried at the bottom of Sullivan’s column is an actual directive. A talking point, if you will. Emphasis is mine:
The best thing journalists can do is to relentlessly explain the beliefs, scope and scale of antifa, and to resist conflating it with liberal groups. And most important, to challenge politically motivated efforts to create a false equivalency between antifa and the rising tide of white supremacy. There is no comparison.
And there it is. Remind you of anything?
Journolist was the “by invite only” list serve liberal journalists were caught using to shape narratives during the 2008 election. In Sullivan’s case, she’s doing it out in the open but the goal is the same.
The Southern Poverty Law Center clearly got the memo. Steve Nelson writes at the Washington Examiner:
Southern Poverty Law Center condemns antifa, but won’t call hate group
Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC, told the Washington Examiner the loosely organized antifa movement, short for anti-fascism, is “wrongheaded” in opposing free speech and using violence.
“We oppose these groups and what they’re trying to do. We just don’t think anyone should be able to censor someone else’s speech,” Cohen said, echoing and endorsing recent statements from progressive scholar Noam Chomsky.
“We think they are contributing to the problem we are seeing,” Cohen said. “We think it’s likely to lead to other forms of retaliation. In Berkeley, antifa showed up and shut down speeches. The next time the white supremacists brought the Oath Keepers with them, they brought their own army.”
He said, however, the SPLC won’t label antifa a “hate group” because adherents do not discriminate against people on the basis of race, sexual orientation or other classes protected by antidiscrimination laws, such as religion.
“There might be forms of hate out there that you may consider hateful, but it’s not the type of hate we follow,” Cohen said.
The American people are smarter than the SPLC or the media believe. It’s obvious to anyone who’s watching which side Antifa is on and voters will remember in future elections.DONATE
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