The Times Doesn’t Know Where Nazis Come From, But The Internet Does
November 28, 2017 7:49 AM   Subscribe

On Nov. 25th the NYT published ‘A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland’, a profile of white nationalist Tony Hovater that, in the Times own words, ‘has drawn significant feedback, most of it sharply critical.‘ Criticism included failure to fact check or confront Hovater’s claims (‘Here Are Some Facts And Questions About That Nazi The New York Times Failed To Note’- Splinter News), briefly linking to a Nazi merchandise store, normalizing white nationalism ( ‘New York Times Faces Back Lash Over Half-Basked Profile’ - Washington Post), and a failure to understand where these young men are being radicalized into far-right groups ( ‘The online ecosystem that supports and nurtures white nationalists..’ - Buzzfeed cw: Nazi imagery, hate speech.)
posted by The Whelk (100 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
 
Worth noting the NYT posted not one but two lame explanations of why they published the first article. From the reporter: yeah, it wasn't a very good story. From the editor: Sorry our article sucked and you were offended.
posted by Nelson at 8:02 AM on November 28 [14 favorites]


An excellent thread on what the Times failed to do.
posted by colossal at 8:07 AM on November 28 [25 favorites]


Apparently the New York Times has mentioned or quoted Hovater's buddy Matthew Heimbach 22 times in the last year, which is honestly incredible. He could not be getting more press for his tiny enclave of Nazis if he were paying for it. That level of coverage is equal to or greater than most people in Congress. There are a lot of problems here, but I feel like a good first step would be to stop interviewing this one random Nazi and taking tips on future stories from him.
posted by Copronymus at 8:11 AM on November 28 [131 favorites]


It's this kind of "even-handedness" that resulted in the nomination and election of Trump. News media lean over backwards to be respectful to the people they consider marginalized, so worried about the accusations of being liberal-minded that they end up doing the opposite.
posted by Peach at 8:14 AM on November 28 [31 favorites]




This is impossible.

I have been told that the Times has the Very Highest and Most Strict journalistic standards, and these are published on their website - which as we all know is a much more stringent promise than a pinkie swear.

The Times has the same problem Breitbart has - Nazi apologia is profitable, and the editors LOVE reading it. Sure, they'll print a couple paragraphs of "how could we possibly have failed" mouthnoises to satisfy the gullible among us, but the simple fact is that the Times keeps doing this because publishing standards to a web site and actually living up to them are different things.

And only one of those is seen as profitable, and being just a hair to the left of The Federalist is apparently where that's at.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:17 AM on November 28 [15 favorites]


Yeah, no. This normalizes these assholes, and frankly, there should be more stories about how Trump's America affects the poor/POC/LGQBT than these constant profiles of Trump voters (some of whom claim to be filled with regret) or the ugly Nazis that prop up his administration. Those are the stories worth telling, not about a bunch of white dudes are mad or feel misunderstood because they might have to be decent fucking human beings.
posted by Kitteh at 8:18 AM on November 28 [54 favorites]


It's this kind of "even-handedness" that resulted in the nomination and election of Trump. News media lean over backwards to be respectful to the people they consider marginalized, so worried about the accusations of being liberal-minded that they end up doing the opposite.

The bizarre failure of the Times 2016 presidential polling contributed as well. Their subsequent response to that failure (I am a NY Times subscriber.) is absolutely disgusting.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:19 AM on November 28 [5 favorites]


It's this kind of "even-handedness" that resulted in the nomination and election of Trump. News media lean over backwards to be respectful to the people they consider marginalized, so worried about the accusations of being liberal-minded that they end up doing the opposite.

Right. Adherence to the utterly empty version of "objectivity" or, as Jay Rosen puts it, the effort to have "the view from nowhere," has left mainstream journalism politically and morally unserious.

This doesn't mean that every reporter should become a New Journalist, but it indicates the need to critically examine the goals of "good " journalism, especially in the 21st century media environment.
posted by kewb at 8:19 AM on November 28 [9 favorites]


Yeah, no. This normalizes these assholes, and frankly, there should be more stories about how Trump's America affects the poor/POC/LGQBT than these constant profiles of Trump voters (some of whom claim to be filled with regret) or the ugly Nazis that prop up his administration. Those are the stories worth telling, not about a bunch of white dudes are mad or feel misunderstood because they might have to be decent fucking human beings.

The NYTimes has the specific, deeper problem that it has gone all in on courting upper- and upper-middle-class white readers, and sees stories like those you propose as antithetical to their business model.
posted by kewb at 8:20 AM on November 28 [32 favorites]


From the Editor:
Others urged us to focus our journalism less on those pushing hate and more on those on the receiving end of that hate. “Instead of long, glowing profiles of Nazis/White nationalists, why don’t we profile the victims of their ideologies?” asked Karen Attiah, an editor at The Washington Post. “Why not a piece about the mother of Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed in Charlottesville? Follow-ups on those who were injured? Or how PoC are coping?”
It seems like you're self-aware of this failing. That being said, maybe you should listen to this valid piece of criticism from your readers and the public. Maybe you should start to write/publish more about these other impacted people instead of Nazis and Nazi-sympathizers.

I have a New York Times subscription because I want to support journalism and I think it's important, but I'm thinking I might just pull the plug and not renew this month.
posted by Fizz at 8:26 AM on November 28 [20 favorites]


One thing that always bothers me when I read the Times is that they highlight comments from various viewpoints regardless of whether or not they're factually true. Just 5 minutes ago I read a comment highlighted by them about how Trump's tax plan will greatly benefit the lower and middle class directly, as if that's written into the Act. Why? Why call something like that out as a "New York Time's Selected" comment? The whole paper seems serially prone to striking a balance between views regardless of reality. I've mostly dropped them and started subscribing to the Washington Post.
posted by xammerboy at 8:27 AM on November 28 [36 favorites]


It was a dreadful story. Even as it was being published, the author was writing that he felt he had failed the story's essential mission, which was to understand how ploddingly ordinary people get normalized.

I'm sorry, but this is a very complicated subject, and you don't send somebody with no experience to cover it. The NY Times has an Isis beat but no White Nationalism beat, despite the fact that it is the second largest cause of terrorism in the US.

There are a couple of things here. Anybody who has researched right wing terrorism knows that it is entirely unremarkable that ordinary people are behind it. There is a sort of pernicious idea in journalism circles that it's some sort of lumperproletariate uprising rooted in economic anxiety, or something.

It isn't. It's the extinction burst (hopefully) of white privilege. These people aren't especially economically disadvantaged, and many of them are relatively stable, or, in the case of Richard Spencer, independently wealthy. But they see privilege based on skin color slipping ever-so much and have responded by going full Nazi, which is, after all, what the Nazis did.

We get nothing from finding out how ordinary they are. In fact, it is the narration this particularly Nazi was pushing, wanting people to know just how normal he is, and, by virtue of that, that Naziism is consistent with ordinary Americanness. The Times literally put the word normal, or some variation of it, four or five times in the first few paragraphs of the story. That's why people felt like the story was normalizing Naziism. Because it was.

And it's a gimmick. Nazis don't think they are normal. If you follow them online, they have nothing but contempt for normies. But Hovater is trying to use the Times to reach out to potential converts, trying to paint himself in as bland a light as possible, as middle-of-the-road as possible, so that normies who might be red-pilled — that is, converted to White Nationalist politics — wouldn't be scared off.

Nazis have been doing exactly this online for years, inserting themselves into every poorly moderated place, seeking out mediocre men who are angry at the world, encouraging whatever they are angry at (women, usually) and then slowly moving them along a path to hate that ends in White Nationalism.

Hovater isn't politically unambitious. He's not just some douche who hates women and Jews who the Times found mowing his lawn in the middle of nowheresville. He's politically active, and he's savvy enough to be cagey where he thinks it will hurt him to be honest and to be as bland as possible where he thinks it will help him. He is propagandizing, and the fucking Times allowed themselves to be his propaganda outlet.

So we don't see the side of him that is undoubtedly online constantly. He's a liar. They all are. They all claim to have learned their White Nationalism from books, but, when pressed, they only know a few paragraphs gleaned from the Web. He claims not to hate women, but it's because he's grooming his NYTimes audience, who would not respond to radical misogyny. Even if he is telling the truth — and we should start from the assumption that he isn't — militarized misogyny is so baked into the movement as to be one of its core tenets.

Naziism is a propagandist philosophy. Always has been. It looks to make itself attractive as a way of passing along its poison ideas of mass genocide. I flag dozens, sometimes hundreds of neo-Nazi accounts on Twitter every day, and go through their history to flag as many comments as possible. There's always the public side of them, that pretends to be ordinary and reasonable, and the private side, which is seething and openly hateful.

Not only did this article fail to find the cause of this dude's White Supremacy — and, again, radicalized response to shrinking privilege, not that complicated — but it failed to find his White Supremacy. I guaran-fucking-tee he's like every other Twitter Nazi, saying, oh, no we're not hateful, we're just arguing for national self-determination for the white man, just like every other ethnic group. But scroll down two tweets and you will find the gas the kikes comment, which apparently Splinternews had no trouble locating.

This is a growing movement in this country, and fascism moves from jokey hatefulness to activist violence with lightning speed. Get a god damned expert on the beat, Times. For Christ's sakes.
posted by maxsparber at 8:39 AM on November 28 [241 favorites]


Is that done by a person or an easily gamed algorithm? Either way, ick.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on November 28


it has gone all in on courting upper- and upper-middle-class white readers,

Like the bank robber who responded to a question about why he robbed banks with 'because that is where the money is' the people who have money and are willing to spend it on the product they sell is that group.

Not sure how you break into the group of people who have mobile devices and don't need to wrap food for the freezer or simplify cleaning a bird cage.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:43 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


I have a New York Times subscription because I want to support journalism and I think it's important, but I'm thinking I might just pull the plug and not renew this month.

If you do, send them a note and make sure that they understand this is why you are not renewing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on November 28 [36 favorites]


The article also reminds me of a story about Errol Morris. He showed his film about a Holocaust denier to an undergraduate class at Harvard. After the showing, about 80% of the class said the Holocaust was a hoax. Morris, at that point, hadn't included any rebutting evidence to the denier's claims, because he thought the subject's viewpoint was absurd on its face. The lesson learned is that it's really, really important to flag factually incorrect statements and provide the larger context in any profile. You can't just show a Nazi eating apple pie and assume people already know how ugly the rest of his life is.
posted by xammerboy at 8:45 AM on November 28 [132 favorites]


(that's exactly what I did when I told NPR that I would not be renewing my sustaining member contribution, thankyouverymuch)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]


I have been told that the Times has the Very Highest and Most Strict journalistic standardsem

The paper that rigorously rooted out MeFite's realnames lets this asshole be profiled under a pseudonym.

That is everything you need to know about their standards.

And yes, media professionals of Metafilter, this is an endemic problem and your rigorous refusal to even understand it as one, to regard the fault as a population lacking in media literacy, is why nobody trusts you to actually get the story straight.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:47 AM on November 28 [31 favorites]




There's a real narrative going on from the Right that the Left has decided that they'll label any of their "enemies" as "Nazis." Never mind that actual Nazis exist, the goal is the blur the meaning so that people seem to think of "Nazi" as a slur against conservatives, rather than an accurate label.

This New York Times article actually plays right into that narrative. Here we have a guy, he's a "Nazi," he mows his lawn, he shops for groceries, he loves his wife and cats. The Right can point right to this article, and say, "see? Even the LIBERAL New York Times is showing that the so-called-Nazi is really just a regular guy from Ohio."

It pretty much props up the whole "those overzealous liberals are coming for you next" argument they're trying to use to excuse their misbehavior.
posted by explosion at 8:50 AM on November 28 [17 favorites]


Worth noting the NYT posted not one but two lame explanations of why they published the first article.

It does not matter why anymore. It's done, they cannot take it back, and the reactions are meaningless. The Times has legitimized extremism, but that is the way of those kinds of profile pieces: they do more harm than good. Con men were made over as legitimate businessmen, for instance. It has always been a bad formula, and yet the Times and others stick to it.

I have been told that the Times has the Very Highest and Most Strict journalistic standards, and these are published on their website - which as we all know is a much more stringent promise than a pinkie swear.


They can get away with it, and so, they do it.

The Times has the same problem Breitbart has - Nazi apologia is profitable, and the editors LOVE reading it.

It is mere sensationalism and controversy that does it; it is ideological porn to rile up the bored middle class. News is not a public service; it is a business. They got play out of it and got Twitter outraged on cue; so long term consequences do not matter. It's all about the clicks.

Journalism has collapsed if people haven't yet noticed, and this is one of the reasons why.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:50 AM on November 28 [5 favorites]


There's a real narrative going on from the Right that the Left has decided that they'll label any of their "enemies" as "Nazis."

Hmm. I used to worry a little that I was too quick to assume people were Nazis, but the last couple of years makes me think I was not quick enough, because it turns out those fuckers are ALL Nazis now.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on November 28 [66 favorites]


nobody trusts you to actually get the story straight.

A lack of trust in getting stories straight is due to seeing things like the "live on the scene" shots where the 2 people are side by side and are presented to the public as being miles apart.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:01 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


I'm interested in how he's been quoted in 22 different stories about Nazis. He's not a guy who happens to be a Nazi, he's a Nazi spokesman.
posted by RobotHero at 9:08 AM on November 28 [23 favorites]


I'm interested in how he's been quoted in 22 different stories about Nazis. He's not a guy who happens to be a Nazi, he's a Nazi spokesman.

It also makes the journalism seem quite lazy. It's backwards: "I have a source, let's see if he has a story" rather than, "I have a story, let's see if I have a source."
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:12 AM on November 28 [14 favorites]


I'd argue that it's less "makes the journalism seem quite lazy" and more "This is indisputably lazy journalism." I mean, I keep seeing the same source quoted on a topic, I immediately assume that there's a source making himself super accessible to the journalists and that said journalists aren't bothering to do any legwork to talk to more people to get a more nuanced view of the same story.
posted by sciatrix at 9:15 AM on November 28 [12 favorites]


It's done, they cannot take it back, and the reactions are meaningless

Oh I'm not trying to say those lame explanations from the NYTimes exonerate them. If anything, quite the opposite. Particularly the explanation from Richard Fausset, the reporter. He basically says "I failed to get a good story and I knew it". OK, that happens. Journalism is hard. So why did you run the story anyway? Why did the editor allow it? Sometimes you just have to kill a story.

I agree with the editor's position that it's valuable to look into the background of American Nazis, to understand who they are and where they came from. And gosh, sometimes they act just like regular folks! Except for the part about the Jew hating and race baiting and murder fomenting. If your reporter can't get the hate part into your profile of the Nazi you should not run the story.

These two NYTimes responses also highlight what a shame it is they no longer have an Ombudsman / Public Editor. They replaced it with a Reader Center. The difference is there's no permanent writer assigned to covering the reader's perspective. Instead we get the editor's lame defense of his own story. A more robust newspaper would have its own contrarian on staff. They used to. Now we have to look to other papers like the Washington Post or Splinter (an offshoot of The Onion) for balance. It is a diminishment.

But all this critique has a certain liberal hand-wringing to it. The NYTimes fucks up and we complain and everyone has an honest debate about it. It's healthy. Meanwhile half the country believes outright fabricated propaganda lightly filtered through Fox News, while the President does his best fascist imitation literally undermining the media at every opportunity. The NYTimes is disappointing, but it's not our enemy.
posted by Nelson at 9:15 AM on November 28 [20 favorites]


I have been told that the Times has the Very Highest and Most Strict journalistic standards ...

*cough* Iraq invasion *cough*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:27 AM on November 28 [12 favorites]


Sex Normalization sells.
posted by Catblack at 9:27 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


I've been collecting a bunch of critiques of that disaster of a puff piece.

Tweets: Additional Articles: posted by anem0ne at 9:30 AM on November 28 [74 favorites]


It looks to make itself attractive as a way of passing along its poison ideas of mass genocide.

So the NYT profilee posted a photo of America under Hitler. Something Norman Rockwell-esque with lots of swastikas and no people of color. Let me emphasize that the chilling, revolting thing is not the swastikas, but the erasure of people color, by annihilation or deportation or dissappearnace, that is just swept under the rug with not even a fare-thee-well.

The fact that the reporter throughout the piece let the subject be this vague and apparently neglected to ask even faintly challenging follow-up questions is dreadful.
posted by puddledork at 9:33 AM on November 28 [12 favorites]


"Why did this man — intelligent, socially adroit and raised middle class amid the relatively well-integrated environments of United States military bases — gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse?" sobs Richard Fausset, the author of the terrible story.

Uh, because he's a fucking racist with a misplaced sense of victimhood?

It's not a grand mystery of the fucking universe, Richard.

Or maybe it is if you start with a default mindset that all intelligent white men are naturalistically benevolent, well balanced lovers of all their fellow humans.

In which case, I say that you, Richard Fausset, are the one with the problem that needs examining.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:34 AM on November 28 [48 favorites]


'm interested in how he's been quoted in 22 different stories about Nazis. He's not a guy who happens to be a Nazi, he's a Nazi spokesman.

Different guy I think? Who is definitely a Nazi spokesman, and an associate of the guy profiled.
posted by atoxyl at 9:35 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


"that's exactly what I did when I told NPR"


Yeah, I finally lost my patience with NPR during the 2016 election season, when they presented Trump supporters on a daily basis without challenging them.

When I contacted the NPR ombudsman to let them know why I wouldn't be giving them any money, he responded, "We have listeners in red states too, you know." I couldn't tell if he sincerely thought NPR was benefiting those listeners, or if he just considered them a source of money, but yeah...
posted by mikeand1 at 9:38 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]


Oh I'm not trying to say those lame explanations from the NYTimes exonerate them. If anything, quite the opposite. Particularly the explanation from Richard Fausset, the reporter. He basically says "I failed to get a good story and I knew it". OK, that happens. Journalism is hard. So why did you run the story anyway? Why did the editor allow it? Sometimes you just have to kill a story.

Please do not take it as a criticism of you, Nelson, but journalism may be hard, but the way journalists have been running on their hamster wheel has made it that much tougher. They are not empirical by nature: they do things, they don't know why they do it, but when someone figures out their code, they can exploit it to their own ends.

Once upon a time, it took former journalists working in public relations to crack it, but now, even the most unremarkable of people can work it to their advantage...and yet, the press does not change their ways and find alternative ways of presenting the news.

I write about why journalism has imploded, and even have a book coming out about it. I saw what was happening as a journalist, and believe me, I didn't keep quiet then either.

You have no idea how hard it is for me to watch this mess getting messier, but what the Times did was devastating for the profession. But as I said, it more important how many clicks you get and how much social media babble about you than the actual quality of your information, the content of your piece, and the soundness of your logic.

I so want to hold an intervention for journalism, you have no idea...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:43 AM on November 28 [43 favorites]


Yeah, I finally lost my patience with NPR during the 2016 election season, when they presented Trump supporters on a daily basis without challenging them.

I am rapidly losing patience for On the Media, which once upon a time existed to keep stuff like this in check. They ran a handwringing piece after Trump was elected, during which Bob Garfield was at a total loss and Brook Gladstone was insistent that what was needed was more of the same, that more Trump supporters needed to be interviewed.

I mean, yes, there was a media failure. There was a vast failure in understanding that America was racist enough, and the system was broken enough, that a goon whose only talking points were yelling at brown people could still cobble together enough votes to be president despite losing the popular vote.

There are all sorts of ways to approach this. One is to start taking American racism very, very seriously, and instead of turning the microphone over to the racist — which we did in the leadup to the election — instead to turn it over to the victims of racism. We can also look at the ways voter suppression plays out, we can continue to push back against the bogus claims of rigged elections which are only made in order to disenfranchise more voters, and we can look at the fact that the electoral college is still set up to favor votes from former slave states.

We don't need to hear more racist. But the media desperately wants to believe it is not racism, so they keep going back to find out what the real issue is. Is it the economy? Is it fear of crime? Is there some actual, logical, perfectly ordinary reason?

There is, and it is racism. It's a totally normal thing and still very much entrenched in America, which you would know if you talked to black people instead of White self-declared experts and to racists who desperately want to cover their racism.

And yet, today, Bob Garfield responded to the Times piece defensively, because it shocked him to discover there were racists in middle America, and therefor it served a valuable function.

Yeah, Bob. It served the function of making me think that maybe you don't know enough about America to be its media watchdog.
posted by maxsparber at 9:46 AM on November 28 [72 favorites]


the Times should be learning from WaPo's recent counter-intel operation exposing the o'keefe idiots and doing more of THAT kind of journalism, and far, far less of this "feature the forgotten white man" crap.

there was *maybe* a moment for that sort of piece, in december-january, 12 months ago... although even for that you have to assume the greatest possible benefit of the doubt and pretend the Times hadn't really been paying attention to the outright repub racism during the campaign.

but now, post-charlottesville, it is actively hostile for the Times or anyone else to keep treating people like Hovart or whatever the fuck his name is as anything but what they are: the enemy.
posted by wibari at 9:53 AM on November 28 [12 favorites]


This is stupid, infuriating and disappointing all at once. They'd do well to recall what happened to Nazi collaborators in Europe after the end of WWII.
posted by tommasz at 9:56 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


The piece by Damon Young at VerySmartBrothas is very good, funny and sharp and the stand-out insight for me was:

Of course, profiles on the people directly harmed by this hate speech and violence would be much more compelling. But that would require whiteness—white maleness, specifically—to be uncentered. And uncentering whiteness is harder than eating just one Lay’s potato chip, apparently.

I personally am not surprised at the idea that white supremacists might live next door and be white (like me!) and not look like monsters. After all, a bunch of frat boys live in my neighborhood! Ha ha. Kidding! Well, kinda. But how is this a difficult concept?
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:58 AM on November 28 [30 favorites]


We don't need to hear more racist. But the media desperately wants to believe it is not racism, so they keep going back to find out what the real issue is. Is it the economy? Is it fear of crime? Is there some actual, logical, perfectly ordinary reason?

It's not just the media, it's white people. And since much of the mainstream media is owned by white people, published by white people, primarily edited by white people, and primarily written by white people, you end up with this navelgazing attempt at finding any other reason than racism for their racism.

Adam Serwer wrote about it in The Atlantic piece "The Nationalist's Delusion".
posted by anem0ne at 9:59 AM on November 28 [21 favorites]


Different guy I think? Who is definitely a Nazi spokesman, and an associate of the guy profiled.

Ah, you're right. I misread.
posted by RobotHero at 10:05 AM on November 28


There's a real narrative going on from the Right that the Left has decided that they'll label any of their "enemies" as "Nazis."

When I find myself able to envision a scenario of being tossed into a "work camp" and finding my great-nephews are guards there, while my niece & sister post 'Brownshirt Lives Matter' on Facebook, then I start wanting to call bigoted, brainwashed Rethuglicans the most despicable thing I can. (And remember, my family, for one, are descendants of an actual Nazi fighter, my late father - which makes it all the more repulsive to me.)

The other day I ranted about the inability of some bubbled "liberals" to understand how pervasive this rightwing hatred is, within Bess Kalb's sharp-edged twitter thread.

I later tweeted to @NYTimes that maybe they could pay me to write about the Nazi-adjacents I know. We'll call it "Shit My Nazis Say." It would include all the classics, including:

* "All Muslims are terrorists. (An expert at church said so.)"
* "This country works despite diversity, not because."

* I'll also share their Special Celebrations on FB when murderers of black people go free. (Geo. Zimmernan/ gun rights; Blue Lives Matter.)

* And Classic Right-wing Humor like this:
Me: My Nigerian neighbors' cooking smells awful to me.
tRumpkin family: Are they making people-bone soup?"

* Plus I'll include Wisdom from The Lazyass Entitled Brother-in-law. Yes, it's true, he hasnt worked since marrying my sis when he was in his 50s. So delight in hearing him mutter: "Striking teachers should be FIRED!"

This ignorance and bigotry is the black hole conservative "Christians" have always existed in, and it hasn't magically gone away with newer generations. And why it's so infuriating to see NYT gloss over the depth and danger.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:13 AM on November 28 [18 favorites]


The fact that the reporter throughout the piece let the subject be this vague and apparently neglected to ask even faintly challenging follow-up questions is dreadful.

It's bad enough that I would be willing to put twenty bucks down that we find out the journalist is a white supremacist in the next year. It's impossible to be THAT BAD at your job without some rationale.
posted by winna at 10:46 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]


Far from evidencing sympathy or even-handedness to the right-wing, this piece was further evidence of the NYT's profound provinciality and laziness in reporting about the right. Deep in the bones the staff cannot understand and doesn't really care how any person of good will reasonable intelligence might not support the Obama-Clinton consensus, so in their effort to appear to seem curious they're just throwing shit at the walls. In that kind of room "Let's do a Sunday PARADE feature on a 'nice' Nazi which mysteriously doesn't hold him to account for Nazi murders" and "let's spend some time in the counties that swung against Clinton 25 points from their vote for Obama" or "let's interview Steve Sailer and the r/the_donald mods" all seem roughly equivalent.
posted by MattD at 10:49 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


I don't think anyone yet has called out this bit from the reporter Fausset's response (emph. added):
I had hoped the answer would fall in my lap when I traveled to Ohio to spend time with Mr. Hovater.
C'mon, my dude. Seriously? You get approximately a zillion column-inches in the paper of record and you just hoped it would fall in your lap? Why would you admit to this?
posted by mhum at 11:10 AM on November 28 [28 favorites]


Deep in the bones the staff cannot understand and doesn't really care how any person of good will reasonable intelligence might not support the Obama-Clinton consensus,

That doesn't seem to square to me. I don't understand people who take their shoes off on airplanes or who bring weapons into stores, and my response isn't a soft "where do you shop and what do you eat? can we be friends", it's "what the heck is wrong with you?"
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:11 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


I'm hearing from folks on other continents wondering out loud if this coverage in the NYT means there's been a coup but y'all just don't know it yet?

You know, sorta like the underside of the interwebs have been hijacked, and of course, there's all the data you could possibly want to pinpoint you, demographically, geographically, and professionally.

Took me aback, that did, and reminded me of IBM's punchcards.

Among the newly-released documents and archival materials are secret 1941 correspondence setting up the Dutch subsidiary of IBM to work in tandem with the Nazis, company President Thomas Watson's personal approval for the 1939 release of special IBM alphabetizing machines to help organize the rape of Poland and the deportation of Polish Jews, as well as the IBM Concentration Camp Codes including IBM's code for death by Gas Chamber. Among the newly published photos of the punch cards is the one developed for the statistician who reported directly to Himmler and Eichmann.

The significance of the incriminating documents requires context.


just struck me that I can't possibly be accused of Godwinning in this here thread
posted by infini at 11:16 AM on November 28 [15 favorites]


*cough* Iraq invasion *cough*

Normalization is shown here on The Blue. Drone Strikes and the Afghanistan conflict going on long enough for The Onion to produce an article about how proud a father was his son was off to patrol the same routes in Afghanistan that he did are examples. The reaction today to those ongoing things are different than 10+ years ago reaction.

When Naziism is a propagandist philosophy. is posted and Propaganda itself was re-branded as Public Relations along with the history of who was in support of the ON (Original Nazi's) and why they did support the ON its hard to address normalization.

Ford, Bush, IBM, CocoaCola, et al had reasons for supporting the ON's and what of those reasons were ARE part of the normal of the culture today. Part of the ON goals are being met and embraced and ARE normal.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:27 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


About ten years ago, I read Taylor Branch's excellent trilogy on the civil rights movement and there was a passage that struck me because it featured a black activist working in Alabama during the protests and marches of the 60s giving voice to an opinion that I shared.

Speaking of the notorious Bull Connor, the activist (might have been Stokley Carmichael; don't have my copy of the book with me right now) said something along the lines of Look, I'm sure he, like me, goes to church and enjoys a glass of wine during dinner with his family in the evenings. Doesn't change how horrible he is or how much I fear and loathe him.

I had reached a similar conclusion around the time I read that passage after looking at one of those infamous postcards of folks gathered around the hanging corpses of lynched black men. You can look at those photos and know, just know deep in your heart, that someone in that picture had a voice like an angel when he sang in the church choir.

Somebody in that photo would have walked 5 miles uphill both ways barefoot in the snow to help a friend or family member.

Somebody in that photo could make a chess pie that would have made you cry with joy when you had your first forkful. (Note to non-Southerner MeFites: Please get your hands on a chess pie made by a Southerner at your first opportunity. You will not regret it.)

In other parts of the world, I bet there was a man whose warm brown eyes crinkled in the most delightful way whenever he watched his baby son cooing and crawling; at night, that same man worked in the Tonton Macoute and murdered people.

Elsewhere, somebody who, as a result of a minor, perhaps even accidental, slight gave a tip that sent the secret police to the home of a neighbor down the hall. In the morning, while the neighbor's family wailed and cried, that person walked to work and got a grateful and adoring smile from an old woman whom he had helped cross the street.

Of course the cruelest of us walk among us and look like us and do many things like us: that's how they put themselves in a position to maximize the effects of their cruelty and hatred.

I can't believe the NYT forgot that it was one of their own who pointed out that "the pursuit of balance can create imbalance because sometimes something is true." (Daniel Orkent, inventor of fantasy baseball and former public editor of the NYT (2003 - 2005).

Shame on them.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:35 AM on November 28 [62 favorites]


American nazis are in fact your everyday normal average American. Fucking racists.
posted by notreally at 11:39 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


In 1937, with war looming and the world shocked at the increasingly merciless Nazi persecution of the Jews, Hitler bestowed upon Watson a special award -- created specifically for the occasion -- to honor extraordinary service by a foreigner to the Third Reich. The medal, the Order of the German Eagle with Star, bedecked with swastikas, was to be worn on a sash over the heart. Watson returned the medal years later in June 1940 as a reaction to public outrage about the medal during the bombing of Paris. The return of this medal has been used by IBM apologists to show Watson had second thoughts about his alliance with the Reich.

But a newly released copy of a subsequent letter dated June 10, 1941, drafted by IBM's New York office, confirms that IBM headquarters personally directed the activities of its Dutch subsidiary set up in 1940 to identify and liquidate the Jews of Holland. Hence, while IBM engaged in the public relations maneuver of returning the medal, the company was actually quietly expanding its role in Hitler's Holocaust. Similar subsidiaries, sometimes named as a variant of "Watson Business Machines," were set up in Poland, Vichy France, and elsewhere on the Continent in cadence with the Nazi takeover of Europe.

posted by infini at 11:43 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]


I don't think anyone yet has called out this bit from the reporter Fausset's response (emph. added):

I had hoped the answer would fall in my lap when I traveled to Ohio to spend time with Mr. Hovater.
C'mon, my dude. Seriously? You get approximately a zillion column-inches in the paper of record and you just hoped it would fall in your lap? Why would you admit to this?


Yeah, wow, that whole writer response made everything worse, this quote is also enraging:
"What I had were quotidian details, though to be honest, I’m not even sure what these add up to."
So I'm no reporter, but if all you have is a bunch of mundane details, there is no alchemy that's going to transform your article into something notable. It's a fucking copout to say: "Well I dug as deep as I could and gosh, golly gee, there's nothing there, guess I'll label it a 'hole' and call it a day."

Garbage In, Garbage Out.
posted by jeremias at 11:48 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


Particularly powerful are the newly-released copies of the IBM concentration camp codes. IBM maintained a customer site, known as the Hollerith Department, in virtually every concentration camp to sort or process punch cards and track prisoners.

The codes show IBM's numerical designation for various camps. Auschwitz was 001, Buchenwald was 002; Dachau was 003, and so on. Various prisoner types were reduced to IBM numbers, with 3 signifying homosexual, 9 for anti-social, and 12 for Gypsy. The IBM number 8 designated a Jew.

Inmate death was also reduced to an IBM digit: 3 represented death by natural causes, 4 by execution, 5 by suicide, and code 6 designated "special treatment" in gas chambers.

IBM engineers had to create Hollerith codes to differentiate between a Jew who had been worked to death and one who had been gassed, then print the cards, configure the machines, train the staff, and continuously maintain the fragile systems every two weeks on site in the concentration camps.


Any "user researchers" knock on your door lately asking for access to your user base to help you improve your customer engagement experience and retention programmes?
posted by infini at 11:49 AM on November 28 [23 favorites]


Must be a real feather in the NY times' cap to have produced what history will consider an object lesson in how not to write about

f u c k i n g

Nazis.

I mean, if you're going to screw up and accidentally humanize any group, why not screw up and accidentally humanize a group that is despised for no reason?
posted by maxsparber at 11:50 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


[infini, this thread is about the NYT profile; those links are fine but now if you want to talk at more length about something else, it should be somewhere else.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:54 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


>>The Times has the same problem Breitbart has - Nazi apologia is profitable, and the editors LOVE reading it.
>It is mere sensationalism and controversy that does it; it is ideological porn to rile up the bored middle class.


There are two completely opposite ways you can be sensationalist on this issue.
1) OMG! Nazis are just like everybody else.
or
2) HIDING IN YOUR MIDST -- dangerous Nazis act like everybody else, but below the surface they are violent, dangerous and coming to get you.

Either one is profitable -- plenty of BS stories in category 2 have been run over the years, usually involving some combination of sex, drugs and your teenage daughter. I just don't know why they don't choose #2, which has the additional advantage of being true, and easily documented without even travel or interviews by online research.
posted by msalt at 12:50 PM on November 28 [8 favorites]


>>Matthew Heimbach

He is the leader of the "Traditionalist Workers Party," a ham-fisted attempt to recruit "blue collar" neo-nazis, and a guy open to ally with any fascist group, including the explicity Nazi National Socialist Movement. Someone has decided he is the new young face of the racist right and is funding him -- there's no evidence the guy has ever worked a job since he graduated from college around 2011, but he travels constantly to rallies around the country.

But it's not hard to find evidence of his less-sanitized behavior, such as sieg-heiling at right-wing get togethers. He was the only person convicted of violence at Trump's rallies where so many where intimidated or beaten. His right hand man and enforcer Dennis Mothersbaugh was convicted of punching a random lady in the face at Charlottesville. His speeches are easy to find online, and awful.

It would be fine for reporters to mention him if they dug below the surface and showed how nasty he really is. But you can't just take him at face value.
posted by msalt at 1:08 PM on November 28 [9 favorites]


OMG this is just so enraging.

The Times: "lol it turns out Nazis are pretty chill dudes just like us"

I don't really have anything to say that hasn't already been said, but the sheer laziness and shallowness of research in this piece is breathtaking. I mean, I've started tracking nazis as something I do now occasionally in my (limited) spare time instead of like, reading the NYT or watching tv/netflix and *Even I knew far more about this asshole than the NYT did and he's not even someone I was looking very closely at, he's no more interesting or unusual than anyone else in his nationalist social circle*.

Almost every last one of these nazis and crypto-nazis are "banal" in their "normie" identities. Almost every last one. The Times didn't happen upon a unicorn here. This profile offered far less enlightenment than spending approximately 20 minutes looking carefully at these people's *public* facebook pages does, as distasteful as a NYT writer may find that.

FFS it shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone, especially a journalist studying the subject, that the organizers within these new white supremacist groups have mainstream hobbies, identities, jobs, and family lifestyles. Why, the nazi lawyer who distributed racist flyers throughout NJ and supposedly attended law school to "fight for his [white] people" (I will not link to the AFP website, trust me on this), and who now makes his living as a racist organizer with the CofCC / American Freedom Party/ American Third Position Party was just awarded a "Knight of the Year" plaque by his local NJ Knights of Columbus Chapter.

And BTW, the official Tri-State CofCC organizer is a life-long NY postal worker who spends the majority of his time when not distributing racist literature as the word's biggest "Four Seasons" and "Jersey Boys" fan club contributor.

The dude who organizes NYC chapter meetings is employed by the state of NJ as a child custody lawyer and is active in his neighborhood association.

These people are embedded in our communities and that's the least important point for the NYT to be making.
posted by stagewhisper at 1:17 PM on November 28 [20 favorites]


dangerous Nazis act like everybody else, but below the surface they are violent, dangerous and coming to get you.

I'm not clear why you describe that as sensational when it is a literal description of the truth about Nazis.

Unless, I guess by "you" maybe you don't mean me, a Jewish dude?
posted by maxsparber at 1:18 PM on November 28


I see now you identified it as true. Not clear on why it is sensational, though.
posted by maxsparber at 1:19 PM on November 28


As msalt says, he's calling it sensationalist (not "sensational") because it's the same sensationalist structuring the mainstream media has used to describe drugs, comic books, video games, rap music and a host of other things for far longer than I've been alive. But now it's actually true, so why aren't they using the exact same well-practiced framing they're so good at? I don't think it's possible to the-boy-who-cried-wolf yourself, so there must be another reason.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:51 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


It does have a certain razzle dazzle, now that I think about it.
posted by maxsparber at 1:57 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


@msalt:
He is the leader of the "Traditionalist Workers Party," a ham-fisted attempt to recruit "blue collar" neo-nazis, and a guy open to ally with any fascist group, including the explicity Nazi National Socialist Movement. Someone has decided he is the new young face of the racist right and is funding him -- there's no evidence the guy has ever worked a job since he graduated from college around 2011, but he travels constantly to rallies around the country.
This is something I've really been wondering about since this past summer, when there were a large number of rallies up and down the west coast (Berkley, Portland, Seattle) and they all had the same stooges showing up to them to cause violence. Who's funding these people, and how can they afford to just travel all over the place? It wouldn't surprise me if they were just getting donations from people online.
posted by gucci mane at 2:55 PM on November 28 [5 favorites]


I'm having a really hard time articulating this, but this also feels a bit like the latest really shitty chapter in the "NYT journalist parachutes into Ohio and reports back" genre.

Why can't the New York Times hire Ohio writers who are already covering this, and showing how local law enforcement doesn't give a damn? Someone on twitter pointed out how the shoddy NYT reporting potentially makes things MORE unsafe for PoC and marginalized people in Ohio, and I couldn't agree more. This isn't about not wanting people from out of state to shine a light - it's about situating this very scary development within the larger context of Ohio life at the moment. Folks at Belt Magazine are doing a great job of that. The New York Times is... not.

I don't think it's too much to ask to hire writers from the region who've been telling this story for ages to do that.
posted by mostly vowels at 3:08 PM on November 28 [27 favorites]


^That's a GREAT point, and as I commented above, they didn't need to send a reporter to Ohio to find a nazi living a mainstream life. I just mentioned three major organizers within public transit distance to their NYC office. Kinda make you go hmmm that they think it's some special problem that isn't right there in their own cosmopolitan backyards.
posted by stagewhisper at 3:28 PM on November 28 [14 favorites]


Nazi garbage openly admits he is down with a "white ethno-state", here are some fun questions a journalist can ask:


1: What do you think about the fact that the US Census Bureau defines white as "A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa"? (link)
2: If answer is "limit to Europe only", ask them to clarify whether this includes Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Kazakhstan? Is southern Russia okay? How do you differentiate between southern Russia and Mongolia? Please show all circular logic.

3: How about Hispanic ethnicity being separate from race? Do you think white Hispanics exist? Outside of Europe? If yes, what criteria do you propose for making sure applicants to your ethno-state don't have any non-European ancestors?

This is shit we learned in Anthropology 101, it isn't hard to expect a dude whose bookshelf contents they lovingly describe to show his shitty racist work.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:47 PM on November 28 [17 favorites]


Reading the Southern Poverty Law Center's page on one of the above-mentioned Nazis, I saw a picture from a what looks like a white supremacists' rally in the US, and on the picture it looks like someone's holding an Icelandic flag.

Now, this isn’t terribly germane to the discussion of the New York Times' awful no-good nonsense of a Nazi puff piece, but if you allow me to be Icelandicentric for a second... have those fuckers stolen our flag? Or was this some rando with odd ideas? Or maybe something else that just heavily resembles the Icelandic flag?
posted by Kattullus at 3:57 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


Why can't the New York Times hire Ohio writers who are already covering this, and showing how local law enforcement doesn't give a damn?

I don't think it's too much to ask to hire writers from the region who've been telling this story for ages to do that.

Kinda make you go hmmm that they think it's some special problem that isn't right there in their own cosmopolitan backyards.


Yes, yes, YES. Fausset is based in Atlanta, rather than New York, but that almost makes it a shade worse somehow for me. Like, not only is there the element of someone parachuting in to begin the process of covering something that's so well covered by other journalists, or that white supremacy isn't a New York kind of issue, but on top of that there's the presumption that the person best suited to do this research is the person who "mainly writes about the American South," according to his official bio. Atlanta, Southeast Ohio - same thing, right?
posted by Anita Bath at 4:06 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


Who's funding these people, and how can they afford to just travel all over the place? It wouldn't surprise me if they were just getting donations from people online.

Yes, apparently Nazis are crowdfunded nowadays. And IIRC it's always been so: a few tens of dollars per person for "newsletters" adds up and is what kept all the old-timey racist groups in the US going.

But it's much easier to monetise your hatred nowadays with credit cards and Youtube channels, especially because some people will Google you if can get in front of a camera. But even that's not really necessary, because it seems that it's not too hard to find a credulous reporter who will write a sympathetic article that not only links to your articles but LINKS TO YOUR FRIGGING SWASTIKA STORE GODDAM.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:21 PM on November 28 [11 favorites]


Well, when I see a sympathetic piece written about a group I assume that the reporter and source are sympathetic to the group. This is to say: "The NYT and this reporter are Nazi sympathizers".

If they don't like the label then they should change who they are sympathetic towards.

Not a lot of rocket science here.

(and, I can't remember ever consuming worthwhile data from NPR or NYT that I could not source elsewhere. Let you subscriptions go, find other data sources. You'll never miss them, promise.)
posted by pdoege at 4:34 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


^Kattullus, I am sorry to report that the neo-nazis like to display flags of Nordic Countries and consider Iceland to be particularly "white" and aspirational :/

There are a lot of nazi groups that are neo-pagan with truly weird (and awful) offshoots like the Wolves of Vinland (which btw have taken to opening brick and mortar gyms as part of their outreach/branding/funding). But that's a whole other derail/post probably. They all interact with one another and support each other in various ways whether they are nationalist skinheads, neo-pagans, proud boys, WP motorcycle/prison clubs, neo-nazis, KKK, CofCC etc, etc. it goes on and on and that's not even scratching the surface. Not to mention all of the various WP hate groups in every country are intertwined internationally as well.
posted by stagewhisper at 4:57 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


There's a piece on this topic on Wonkette, and I particularly like this quote : "See, because when a fucking Nazi starts talking about his dreams you don’t present them unfiltered to a mass audience. You puncture the dreams and show people the sad deflated balloon.
Read more at Wonkette"
posted by puddledork at 4:59 PM on November 28 [8 favorites]


But all this critique has a certain liberal hand-wringing to it.

After today's headlining of a Sean Hannity puff piece in the NYTimes, I am done with them.

In honor of all true left-wingers, I am cancelling my NYT subscription and donating the $40/month to charitable causes like Planned Parenthood, Trans Lifeline, Moms Demand Action, and other groups that will take that money and use it to move humanity forwards.

There are so many better places to spend my hard-earned money, where I know it won't be used to humanize or normalize Nazi ideology.

People who don't see a problem with what the NYTimes is doing can call it hand-wringing, pearl-clutching, or whatever euphemism they want. I don't care, anymore. I don't have to pay money to sponsor it.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:26 PM on November 28 [29 favorites]


From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, "The Urgent Reality of Online Extremism":
But discussions about the “hole at the heart” of the article, as its author, Richard Fausset, put it in an editorial note published almost contemporaneously with the piece, seem to have missed one other essential problem with the reporting. Fausset—either consciously or unconsciously—allowed himself to fall into the trap of imagining that his Nazi has two fully separate personae: the real-life Nazi and his nastier, online version. This is emblematic of a divide we have allowed to open up in our daily political discourse, one in which actual people get married, eat at Panera, and say anodyne things to reporters, and then take on profoundly dangerous and violent personalities online, which can be dismissed as “humor” or “ironic” performance.
posted by mhum at 5:37 PM on November 28 [16 favorites]


I can remember when wired put brietbart on the cover. And I was like, what? Yeah. Media is fickle as fuck.
posted by valkane at 6:35 PM on November 28


Additionally, the article is also sexist.

His wife is not really named “Maria Hovater.” Maria Harrison, Hovater’s wife, hasn’t changed her last name. Again, it’s odd for the Times to refer to a person by anything other than their actual, legal name.

Maria Harrison holds extremist views of her own

In the two brief paragraphs the story devoted to Harrison’s own outlook, she told Fausset she and her husband are “pretty lined up” politically. Though Fausset spent very little time on what Hovater’s young wife believes, she clearly has more to say.

posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:21 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


Kattullus, probably time for Iceland to crack down on this shit publically, unless they want the inadvertent branding as a Nazi valhalla
posted by infini at 10:35 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


how would Iceland do that? Send their crack team of stormtroopers ( Víkingasveitin -literally the Viking Squad) in the dead of night into another sovereign territory to remove the flag? They'd think the reached Va......Nah, not going there.
posted by Wilder at 11:45 PM on November 28


While Trump was on the campaign trail spewing his endless incoherent gonna get two lunches garbage and corrupting the youth in pursuit of new depths of tackiness in propaganda, many of the somewhat ordinary-seeming Americans I was in regular online contact with were all about how awful Hillary was, airily dismissing any comparison of the atmosphere at a Trump rally to that of a 1920s Nuremberg rally as a hysterical claim that Trump was Literally Hitler. And also everything is always going to be OK in the USA because we have Constitutional Checks and Balances.

And it came home to me really, really strongly how people in every time and place are more alike than different, and how the rise of Hitler had almost nothing to do with any kind of moral failing unique to the populace of 1930s Germany.

Much has been made of fact that Hitler always had an ideology while Trump is "merely" a self-serving wilfully ignorant opportunist boor, meaning that a better pre-WWII comparison would be to Mussolini. But I don't think it's ideology that makes a leader truly dangerous: simply being some variety of completely amoral prick is enough.

I think every community everywhere and everywhen is just inevitably going to contain some proportion of shitbag arseholes, most of whom in most places and most times are just forced into maintaining some semblance of civility by social pressure. Put an utterly irredeemable prick in charge who rewards arsehole behavior, though, and these shits will just inevitably begin to float on upward.

I think the NYT has done us all a disservice by drawing attention to the mask rather than reminding us about the smell. The "ordinary American" characterization is completely pointless: everybody in America already knows how ordinary a Nazi looks when they've got their Ordinary on, because everybody encounters at least a few of those people face to face, every single day.

If the NYT is interested in publishing journalism that makes any contribution at all to quelling the rise of a Fourth Reich (and this is by no means a given), it needs to lift its game. No more puff pieces about the Nazi Next Door. Lots more serious investigation into modern propaganda techniques and relentlessly debunking and exposing same. And it needs to understand that at least some of its audience really will need to be told explicitly that the Earth is not flat.
posted by flabdablet at 12:22 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]


stagewhisper: Kattullus, I am sorry to report that the neo-nazis like to display flags of Nordic Countries and consider Iceland to be particularly "white" and aspirational

Goddamn Nazis, they ruin everything. Having lived for the better part of a decade in the US, I became all too aware of the way Iceland, and the other Nordic countries, are imagined to be by racists, I just didn’t know it extended to literal flag-waving. Though thankfully it seems like it's a rare thing.

Hopefully it remains an uncommon practice. I did every Google search I could think of, but didn’t find another photo of one of the Nordic flags at an American hate rally.
posted by Kattullus at 12:35 AM on November 29


If it happens again, a suitably outraged article distancing flag from function would work as well. To imagine that one cannot distance oneself, in words even if one can't run around stopping them from the indiscriminate use of one's name and reputation to dishonour and blemish others, because well "whatever" is rather lame.
posted by infini at 1:21 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Classic horror movies, as presented in the NY Times opinion section.

On Summerisle, locals still celebrate harvest the traditional way

A family motel struggles with a highway relocation

In deepest Texas, abattoir business still going despite a weak economy

The voice of a serial killer cannibal psychiatrist in America’s heartland

For a struggling writer, Overlook Hotel is the perfect retreat

The coddled generation: young women are no longer willing to stay in ancient Transylvanian castles
posted by Erberus at 3:30 AM on November 29 [36 favorites]


Send their crack team of stormtroopers ( Víkingasveitin -literally the Viking Squad) in the dead of night into another sovereign territory to remove the flag?

If this is an option, then holy fuck, yes!
posted by maxsparber at 5:21 AM on November 29 [5 favorites]


I had hoped the answer would fall in my lap when I traveled to Ohio to spend time with Mr. Hovater.

Shit, it's like journalists have decided that every single bad actor is like Trump and his gang of hooligans and that if you let them talk long enough they'll eventually fuck up on their own.

Bro, do you even journalize? Yes, there are people for whom giving them enough rope to hang themselves is enough, but for the marginally intelligent subject who will not conveniently self-immolate, you actually need to press on them, follow up on the weirder bits of the conversation, and show some fucking tenacity.

In the followup article, Fausset claims one of the key things he wanted to know is how people drift into far-right extremism. It is notable that, as far as I can tell from the article, he never asked Hovater how he drifted into far-right extremism. Ask that question, and you have somewhere to go. He read popular, mainstream books or articles? Fine, your story is about how toxic ideology ended up in those. He cites obscurer books or dark seedy corners of the internet? Then you go up the chain and ask how he discovered those. He gets squirrely and evasive? Then his squirrely evasiveness is your story and you figure out what he's being so cagey about. I'm not a journalist or anything myself, but I know that an investigation — be it criminal, journalistic, or just personal — sometimes involves more than just going along for the ride, and that if you have a question, you should make a damn effort to get your question answered.
posted by jackbishop at 6:12 AM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Yes, I want to know who gave him his first pro-Nazi revisionist history book, since he says until he was 18 and got a better internet connection he got most of his ideas from books.
posted by puddledork at 6:51 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Much has been made of fact that Hitler always had an ideology while Trump is "merely" a self-serving wilfully ignorant opportunist boor, meaning that a better pre-WWII comparison would be to Mussolini.

I think this comparison is inverted; prior to WWII, at least up until the mid or late 30s by my reading, Italian Fascism was definitely the more coherent ideology and Mussolini was the man with the plan; Hitler was frequently portrayed as an inchoate screamer whose philosophy boiled down to simplistic repetitions.

Of course, one of them ended up grabbing the reins of a global power with the population and industrial capacity necessary to wage a global-scale war, while the other one became a puppet—which shows that having a well-formed philosophical framework doesn't count for nearly as much as how many steel refineries and infantry divisions you can count on. I think the lesson is, or ought to be, that "blue collar fascism" is a lot more threatening than it can appear at first glance.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:12 AM on November 29 [14 favorites]


It pretty much props up the whole "those overzealous liberals are coming for you next" argument they're trying to use to excuse their misbehavior.

"First they came for the Nazis, and I was a Nazi, so I did not speak up." ... so to speak.
posted by theorique at 1:21 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Can we have the argument about Nazipunching again? 'Cause somebody should have punched this motherfucker.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:01 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


So he lost his job cause of the profile

But the news seems to be he wasn’t a welder like he told the NYT which they repeated. he worked in a restaurant.
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 PM on November 29 [11 favorites]


The reporter didn't even get his job right.
posted by XtinaS at 8:49 PM on November 29 [13 favorites]


He maybe worked at a restaurant, but he identified as a welder. So that's ok then.
posted by yesster at 9:27 PM on November 29 [6 favorites]


The swedish flag has been infamous and associated with racists for decades thanks to local swedish racists using the flag. In many cases unless there's a sporting event the only people using it without being assumed to be racist are people who have moved to Sweden. The flag has a different meaning to the American racist and the people who have moved to Sweden. Flags and patriotism are stupid regardless.
posted by Julianna Mckannis at 10:30 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


So he lost his job cause of the profile
In a brief telephone interview, Mr. Hovater said, “they decided to can me.” In a text message exchange, Mr. Hovater added, “we’re moving because of safety reasons.”

The restaurant gave a slightly different account in a statement it released on Wednesday, saying that because of the threats, he “suggested that we release him from employment.”

Supporters have contributed more than $6,000 to the Hovaters through a site that caters to extremists on the right.
Oh well played NYT. You give us no actionable information about how Nazi propaganda works in 2017, or about the scale of the Nazi movement in 2017, you just create another pissant Nazi martyr.
posted by flabdablet at 2:59 PM on November 30 [4 favorites]


Welder of sandwiches
posted by miyabo at 3:40 PM on November 30 [3 favorites]


New York Times executive editor says criticism of 'sympathetic' neo-Nazi profile was 'the most ridiculous overreaction'

These fuckers are unbelievable. Can't wait to see what happens when he accuses NYTimes shareholders of the same hand-wringing over the subsequent drop in subscriber numbers and ad revenue.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 6:20 PM on November 30 [9 favorites]


Supporters have contributed more than $6,000 to the Hovaters through a site that caters to extremists on the right.

But god forbid these fuckers have to pay for SNAP so a non-Nazi can get groceries.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:52 AM on December 1 [6 favorites]


We Know Why Men Start Fires - "It’s time to stop sympathetically profiling white supremacists"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:07 AM on December 3 [3 favorites]


What about ism WAPO?
posted by infini at 2:18 PM on December 3


The neo-Nazis held a big rally in Washington yesterday. Hovater was there, as was Richard Spencer, Mike Enoch and Matt Heimbach. In fact, those four were 16% of the total neo-Nazis there because only 24 showed up. They were outnumbered by at least twice as many Antifa, despite less than a day of notice they were coming.
posted by msalt at 10:05 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]


« Older The Parentified Child   |   A Cornucopia Of The Past Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.