Do the media give neo-Nazis the oxygen of publicity or expose the ugly truth? | World News –

Do the media give neo-Nazis the oxygen of publicity or expose the ugly truth? | World News


When Alfred Münzer, a 76-year-old Holocaust survivor, read an important newspaper of a young "Nazi sympathizer next door", he was shaken.

The profile of the New York Times, which focused on a 29- year-old pop culture of the Holocaust denier and the items listed in its wedding record, has been criticized for painting a neo-Nazi with an excessively sympathetic light. Many readers argued that it should not have been published at all.

Münzer, who volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, thought the profile lacked crucial context. But he also believed that he told an important story.

"The fact that there are really ordinary people who have beliefs that really remind Nazi Germany is absolutely frightening," said Münzer, whose two older sisters and father died in Nazi concentration camps. "This is not just a crazy band."

Münzer has been increasingly disturbed by what he has seen in the USA. UU During the last two years: a presidential campaign driven by rhetoric and racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic policies; hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched openly through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in August; a president who had to be incited to explicitly condemn those neo-Nazis, instead of blaming the violent confrontations on "many sides".

Then, on Wednesday, while the Americans debated the ethics of paying attention to hate groups, Donald Trump tweeted three pieces of anti-Muslim propaganda from a marginal Islamophobic group, Britain First.

"For me, it's amazing that a US president retweets hate messages like that," Münzer said. "It's totally incredible."

Trump's tweets sparked international headlines about a racist group with a few hundred members, which is best known for its harbadment campaigns. A right-wing terrorist shouted "Great Britain first" before killing MP Jo Cox last year. The party deputy, convicted last year of aggravated religious harbadment, received just 56 votes in his last campaign for parliament. Britain was recently deregistered by the UK electoral management body, after not updating its documentation.

Like neo-Nazi groups in the US UU., Britain First has used acrobatics, harbadment and digital provocation to attract attention and build its profile, despite having a small membership and no political power. Covering these groups, which are trying to militarize even the negative coverage of the media as a recruitment tool, has been a constant challenge for journalists. Critics have questioned whether the prominence and volume of such coverage has only served to make marginal groups more powerful.

In the USA The neo-Nazi leaders have rejoiced at the coverage they have received, with three prominent right-wing racists launching a podcast a year ago that the coverage was "very good, all the things they are doing" are so good ". [19659011] "Coverage only has one effect, which is the normalization of our ideas. And you do not have to be a political scientist to realize that. If it does not have a purpose, then it's an absurd incompetence, "said a neo-Nazi Internet troll, speaking on condition of anonymity.

" I think on a strange level the left, like, secretly wants you to we get up, "said Richard Spencer, who was profiled in 2016 as the American" blazer "," handsome white nationalist. "

These profiles of Spencer, who holds titles from elite American universities, sparked the first big wave of public outrage over news articles about white supremacists who described them as strange and fascinating characters instead of dangerous threats.

Americans of color have quickly voiced their concerns about this type of coverage, said Whitney Phillips, a digital media scholar. that studies trolling, conspiracy theories and hate groups, some coverage of white supremacists is filtered implicitly from a white perspective, he said, providing white audiences with shocking stories about "wayward white whites" instead of focusing on the danger or anxiety faced by communities of color.

Part of the problem with the New York Times profile about the "Nazi next door" was that "they did not talk to black neighbors of that type," Phillips said. "They did not ask questions of the groups for whom these ideologies create a hostile environment."

  Neo Nazis participate in a Ku Klux Klan demonstration at the state house building on July 18, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. [19659017] Neo Nazis participate in a Ku Klux Klan demonstration at the state house building on July 18, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Photography: John Moore / Getty Images
<p>  The crucial question when shaping a neo-Nazi is "who they have hurt," he said. </p>
<p>  Heidi Beirich, who leads the intelligence project at Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and individual extremists, said white supremacist groups should be covered by the media "because they are a threat to democracy, a threat in terms of domestic terrorism and hate crime. " </p>
<p>  Despite criticism of the volume of media coverage of white supremacist groups, the violence of white supremacy is not well covered, Beirich said. It tends to treat the badbadins of white supremacy as individuals, instead of portraying its violence as inspired by a single ideology and the result of a process of radicalization, as tends to make terrorism coverage linked to the Islamic State. </p>
<p>  "It's as if they were all unique," said Beirich. "We are very reluctant to look at ourselves, at our own culture, as a source of this violence, it is much easier to point fingers at something that comes from Iraq or Syria." </p>
<p>  Some Americans on the left and on the right continue to ask why the media addresses marginal hate groups, arguing that their views are ridiculous. Beirich, like other experts who study racist extremists, challenged such badumptions.  </p>
<p>  "The United States, people have to remember, was founded on white supremacy and slavery, and did not dismantle white supremacy as their form of government until the mid-1960s," he said. "Blacks and people of color were legally discriminated against, hate groups: their opinions, most of them, would have been considered totally normal in 1965." </p>
<h2> "A reverberating effect" </h2>
<p>  Joan Donovan, Institute researcher of Data and Society that studies how white supremacist groups manipulate the media, says that articles on hate groups should be treated with the same caution as articles on suicide, where the wrong type of coverage runs the risk of causing harm real. </p>
<p>  News coverage of extremist groups can have "a similar reverberating effect," said Donovan, who added that white supremacist activists handle media-based movements and that no matter how ostensibly news coverage is negative, any major attention provides validation and fodder for their activism. </p>
<p>  Donovan recommends that journalists use "strategic silence" when covering hate groups. </p>
<p>  "If there is no newsworthy event that forces you to cover this, it's not a good idea to look for these stories," he said. Local neo-Nazi rallies, such as a recent one in Shelbyville, Tennessee, should be covered primarily at the local level and not as an important national story, he argued. </p>
<figure itemprop=

  Police from across central Tennessee are preparing for a White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on October 28.

Police from across central Tennessee are preparing for a White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on October 28. Photography: Bryan Woolston / Reuters

Phillips, who interviewed 50 journalists for a project on the difficulties of covering conspiracy theorists and hate groups, is studying how media coverage can "amplify" dangerous lies and deceptions, helping them spread and take hold. Media coverage of intolerance and falsehood is not a neutral force, he said. A news article about a harbadment campaign, for example, will further harbad the original target, "and increase the likelihood that those tactics will be used in the future."

News coverage can amplify the harbadment, rather than ending it, became clear earlier this year during a campaign of neo-Nazi abuse directed against Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, a town where Richard Spencer's family owns a vacation home. Whitefish residents said that every wave of news coverage seemed to trigger a new round of abuse. The neo-Nazi trolls used eerie claims, suggesting that they were looking for skinheads to hold an armed march of hatred in mid-January, to draw the attention of the press and international coverage.

But Phillips said that simply not covering harbadment may not be the right choice, either. "If you have an increase in extreme right extremism, you can not just walk away," he said.

In an interview on stage on Thursday, the New York Times editor, Dean Baquet, defended the newspaper's neo-Nazi profile. , saying that the degree of outrage he had inspired was "the most ridiculous exaggerated reaction to a story" and that the piece had been correct in providing a portrait of modern extremism that was not driven by "boys living in the Alabama hills smoking pipes. "

& # 39; Playing with fire & # 39;

Münzer, the survivor of the Holocaust, expressed no particular interest, as the author of the Times article did, in the "dark" soul of a neo-Nazi and how he had gone astray. . He thought that the article should have pushed more in matters of collective responsibility.

"Where do these feelings come from?" He asked. "What did we do wrong, how does this represent a failure of the schools, or the failure of the way we teach history, a failure to communicate what happened or the dangers of the Nazis and the danger of racism, and Can they lead to murder? "

It was not new to him that citizens with seemingly normal lives could become Nazis. He was a common man and a secret member of the Dutch Nazi party, who handed over to the authorities the sisters of Münzer, eight-year-old Eva and six-year-old Leah. The two girls were sent to Auschwitz. The man's wife, who had tried to protect the girls, was also sent to prison.

Münzer said that journalists should focus more on ordinary heroes willing to face the rise of fascism. When Münzer grew up hiding in the Netherlands occupied by the Nazis, it was a Dutch family from Indonesia who welcomed him and a Muslim nanny who served as a surrogate mother of the Jewish baby. There were people from five religions in the home who risked their own safety to protect it. The Muslim woman who looked after him slept with a knife on his pillow, ready to defend his life.

"Hate, whether directed against Jews, against Muslims, against anyone perceived as the other, is dangerous and may actually be the prelude to murder," he said. "I think this is really playing with fire, it's stoking the fires of hatred."

At the same time, he said: "I see more people willing to stand up and talk, people are really starting to confront hatred, I see it among young people, and that's very encouraging."

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