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WaPo Writer to Journalists: Don’t Associate Antifa With Liberal Groups

WaPo Writer to Journalists: Don’t Associate Antifa With Liberal Groups

“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.


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I’m telling ya … They are ducks

Margaret Sullivan would have been a member of Joseph Goebbels staff of “journalists” in an earlier era. She gets it.

Close associations and labels are ambiguous and often deceptive. Judge people and groups by the content of their character (e.g. principles), not the “color of their skin”.

That’s right, let’s not call them Liberals or Leftists, rather let’s call them grade school teachers, assistant professors and hired thugs. Let’s just call them criminals and terrorists that always vote the Liberal ticket – a lot like any other Democrat.

After Nancy Pelosi denounced Antifa the MSM was forced to admit that this group of violent masked thugs is not a band of brave freedom fighters but are in fact a group of violent masked thugs.

Now here come the apologists trying to convince us that the Antifa aren’t THAT bad…

    Milhouse in reply to HamiltonNJ. | September 5, 2017 at 8:28 am

    No, they’re not trying to convince you that antifa aren’t that bad. Exactly the opposite. They’re now happy to convince you that antifa are the very worst, absolute scum, and of course have nothing to do with the rest of the left, which is pure and righteous and would never dream of hurting anyone, oh no. Whereas if the right had a violent fringe they’d have no hesitation in tarring the whole right with it, but since there isn’t one they invented one and tarred the whole right with it.

      Tom Servo in reply to Milhouse. | September 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

      They work very hard to hide any mention that Tim Kaine’s son, the Dem’s VP candidate, has been (up til now, presumably) a vocal and active Antifa member.

      Given Yellowsnakes breathless protestations the last time this came up, I expect he’s been out there hitting people in the head with bike locks, too.

        4th armored div in reply to Tom Servo. | September 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        Tim Kaine’s Son Faces Criminal Charges After Joining Masked, Violent Anti-Trump Riot
        by Katie McHugh
        27 May 20177,649

The trouble with your comparison of media treatment of the broader left’s relationship to antifa, with the broader right’s relationship to the TEA Party movement is that it promotes the idea that the TEA Party movement was violent, when in fact we know that not only wasn’t the whole movement violent, it didn’t even have a violent fringe. Nor was it racist, and if it had a racist fringe they kept their heads well down.

    Ragspierre in reply to Milhouse. | September 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

    And Sullivan makes no such comparison in her piece, which never mentioned the TEA Party.

    She DOES make a lot of apologia for AntiFA, and works to disconnect it from the Left.

    Which is fair in several respects, just as some of us have worked to clearly delineate the Alt-right from anything like conservatism, while being slimmed for “using a term invented by Hillary”.

    Where it ISN’T fair is that AntiFA is very much an organ of the Collective, a direct result of a lunge into repression, and exactly what one would predict (and has predicted) from that trajectory. The Alt-right, OTOH is ANTI-conservative, and regardless of what some idiot will tell you, has no liniments to the ideas or ideals of conservatism.

      casualobserver in reply to Ragspierre. | September 5, 2017 at 9:58 am

      You miss a key and critical point. Until Antifa became almost exclusively focused on violence as a means, many lefty groups, talking heads, and even elected class members were complimentary and protective. They not only praised the group’s motivation. Many of their actions were ignored or excused.

      Until very recently, in fact, even the media has excused them with labels like “counter-protesters” and “social justice” whatnots.

        Ragspierre in reply to casualobserver. | September 5, 2017 at 10:02 am

        Well, no, I didn’t miss a thing.

        Sullivan does exactly that in her piece. I just never feel the need to write a tome, preferring to make a point quickly as I work.

        “Until Antifa became almost exclusively focused on violence as a means” is incorrect. Antifa/Black Bloc/SEIU, etc, have always been almost exclusively focused on violence as a means. The only thing that’s changed in the last week or so was that last week in Berkeley they beat up some lefty journalists, who reported on it, and the public made the connection with what the President had been talking about recently, and didn’t like it.

A turd by any other name smells just as bad.

thalesofmiletus | September 5, 2017 at 9:54 am

Journalist: No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.

Hating hate with hate.

Another leftist backfire and a transparent attempt to spin it – it’s a beautiful thing to watch fail.

That’s the Amazon Post for you.

Ah yes, the WaPo never disappoints.

With roots in 1930s Europe, antifa’s adherents believe in direct action, including force if they deem it necessary.

Nice (albeit obvious) dodge there—those “roots” were explicitly Communist and Fascist (the real type, not the modern Liberal fever-dream fantasy type).

I think we should call them the Antifa terrorists, and the terrorist arm of the Democrat Party.

Nancy Pelosi’s ‘little green men.’ Democratic party’s black bloc militia. The New York Times Jacobinsts. Barack Obama’s Spartacist bullyboys. Washington Post’s Octoberist insurgency. Jour0list’s Squadrismo syndicalists.

    Ragspierre in reply to Tiki. | September 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    All that jargon sounds totally like Alt-right bullshit to me.

    Why don’t you take the opportunity to denounce the Alt-right, and prove me wrong.

    (If anyone believes you.)

    Ragspierre in reply to Tiki. | September 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm


    Where’s that disclaimer….???

“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.”

That’s correct. Antifa assaults everyone in sight without limitation.

“…it became politically useful to the right…”
This reminds me of European police/media/politicians and how concerned they were about giving the political right ammunition, so they covered up all the rapes Muslim immigrants were committing.

Seems that they care more about losing power than protecting citizens.

    Ragspierre in reply to Matt_SE. | September 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    But think about that. They wouldn’t lose any power by enforcing the laws and protecting citizens. If anything, the opposite.

    So what was it?

    I suggest the preservation of the narrative that all cultures are equal, and that all people are good citizens in a Western sense.

    They simply are not. It isn’t about power. It’s about delusional thinking.

The author is engaging in one of my recent favorite phrases: savoring the fruit while cursing the vine. I think the meaning is reasonably clear.