The internet is not happy with The New York Times (for good reason). The publication profiled an Ohio white nationalist recently. And as a result, it’s being criticized for seemingly trying to normalize Nazi sympathizers and bigotry.
White nationalists and neo-Nazis are fighting to have their presence felt, especially after the 2016 presidential election. After events like the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Trump failed to disown the hate groups. In turn, many believe that he has added fuel to their brewing fire. Most recently, terrifying imagery from white supremacists in even more riots rocked the nation. These events are showing America what many disenfranchised groups knew all too well. White nationalism is very real. And unfortunately, normalizing this hate is only going to make it grow.
Celebrities have spoken out against neo-Nazism: Actress Tina Fey urged people to ignore the Charlottesville riots and eat cake instead during a Saturday Night Live sketch. But while many were vocal about Fey’s oversight (i.e. ignoring racism solves nothing), the intent was clear. As it stands, normalizing and humanizing this behavior will only increase its reach and influence. And many across the internet will agree that the New York Times painting an open, white supremacist in this light does a huge disservice to those fighting for equality in this country.
The New York Times profile of a Nazi sympathizer raised eyebrows for other reasons, too.
As pointed out by political analyst Sean McElwee, the publication’s coverage of the white supremacist felt strangely light-hearted compared to its profiling of Michael Brown — the unarmed, black teenager killed by police in 2014.
And actor Kumail Nanjiani came up with a pretty good standard for knowing when something should go to print.
The paper has issued a statement about the piece — but it’s far from an apology for printing it.
But already, people are finding issue with that statement.
Maybe the article meant to show how scary it is that these people are living among us. But hate should never be normalized or tolerated in any form. Especially not in a publication as powerful as the Times.