New York Times Gives Fascist Republican Gavin McInnes A Sweet, Loving Tongue Bath
Hey! Remember this weekend when the New York Times got dragged all over the place for calling Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes a "provocateur" like he's some edgy new performance artist or 1980s Madonna instead of a deranged, violent bigot?
Well, they doubled down on that one again yesterday with a saccharine, both sides-y profile by Alan Feuer titled "Proud Boys Founder: How He Went From Brooklyn Hipster to Far-Right Provocateur."
With his egghead glasses, pocket-protector and heavy-drinking, angry-nerd aesthetic, Mr. McInnes has in recent years set himself apart from the current crop of professionally outraged right-wing pundits, not only for being able to spout aggressive rhetoric, but also for being willing to get physical at times.
His obsessions seem to be more cultural than political. Mr. McInnes, a fiscal conservative and libertarian, calls himself a champion of Western values and reserves a burning ire for the political correctness of people on the left whom he describes as busybodies who have lost their sense of humor.
There is a admiration in this description, as if it might be reasonably followed by "He's a rebel and he'll never, ever be any good." As if Feuer can't help but swoon a little over how very cool he thinks McInnes is. After all, he used to be a hipster. From Brooklyn! And he is "willing to get physical at times," like a manly man. Shouldn't all of us be "willing to get physical at times," in service to our principles and (white) nation? Perhaps while chasing people down the street, delivering a gang-style beatdown, and screaming "FAG"?
Even the descriptions of what Feuer calls McInnes's "darker" views are not exactly emblematic of what his "darker" views actually are. In fact, they almost seem cherry-picked to make him sound very reasonable and normal and almost endearing to a certain segment of the population.
But his views are darker when it comes to gender roles and immigration. Mr. McInnes admits that he may be Islamaphobic ("It's seen as xenophobic to be worried about Islam, but they appear to disproportionately allow intolerance to blossom in their communities," he said.) He also acknowledged being something of a sexist. ("I'm an Archie Bunker sexist," he said. "I don't like Gloria Steinem, but I'd take a bullet for Edith.")
Yeah. Those are shitty, but they are pretty milquetoast when it comes to Gavin McInnes's "darker" views. Had Feuer merely gone over to his Wikipedia page, he would have found far "darker" quotes about Muslims. Like this one.
"Muslims have a problem with inbreeding. They tend to marry their first cousins... and that is a major problem [in the US] because when you have mentally damaged inbreds – which not all Muslims are, but a disproportionate number are – and you have a hate book called the Koran ... you end up with a perfect recipe for mass murder."
He also would have found out about a video McInnes did called "10 Things I Hate About Jews." About the horrific things he's said about trans people, about his support for the theory of "white genocide." If he had dug in, at all, to the things McInnes actually says and believes, he might have spent less time swooning over his cool hipster glasses.
Further in the article, Feuer almost seemed to justify the brutal violence of the Proud Boys this weekend by suggesting that they were merely defending themselves, and McInnes, from ... a plastic bottle.
But according to the police, skirmishes erupted as soon as the evening's program ended and Mr. McInnes's supporters confronted a group of masked left-wing protesters that had left the event and walked down Lexington Avenue to catch them. The opposing forces came face-to-face on East 82nd Street, yelling at each other as they met. A protester hurled a plastic bottle at the Proud Boys, and that, the police said, was when the punches started flying.
It was not the first time that the city's anarchists and anti-fascists have clashed with Mr. McInnes and the Proud Boys, who have often served as a private fight club ready to protect him.
Oh yeah, surely, had that plastic bottle not been thrown (which, by the way, was not a thing any of the videos of the assault captured), the Proud Boys would not have been forced to knock several people to the ground and start beating the shit out of them.
Meanwhile, over on the Today Show this morning, NBC aired a segment about white nationalist group Identity Europa which not only gave the group a platform to explain why it is totally normal that they want a country full of white people, but also spent a strange amount of time remarking at how "clean cut" they were.
Oh gosh, it's so confusing! Sure, they're racist assholes ... but they're wearing polo shirts and they're good at the internet, so they can't be "ignorant thugs." WHAT DO WE DO?
I don't know -- say that yes, they are "ignorant thugs" regardless of their sartorial choices and "internet savvy"?
The segment included an interview with IE's founder Patrick Casey, a creepy little twerp who explained that the politics of his group were a natural outgrowth of Trumpism (which, honestly, is not wrong), and that they weren't "racist," but "identitarian" -- a term which means absolutely nothing outside of being a fancy sounding word for "racist."
While the Today Show may have intended to do a "Look at how bad this group is!" type segment, they did not quite pull that off. Casey is now on Twitter bragging that they are now receiving tons of membership applications as a result of the interview.
Just a hot tip for the Today Show and any other media organization looking to report on white supremacist groups -- DON'T GIVE THEM A GODDAMNED PLATFORM. It is possible to report on these groups without having them sit down for an interview. Particularly a Today Show interview. Interview people affected by these groups. Interview the immigrants of color these people are hoping to legally discriminate against. Give them a platform, not some twerpy fucking douchenozzle whining about how he wants to live in a country with only white people.
To say that these groups are capitalizing on the "division" in our country is absolute bullshit. They are doing no such thing. They are capitalizing on the racists in our country. They are capitalizing on the fact that we have a president and a Republican Party who are more than thrilled to court and coddle these people, to bring them on stage and stand by them, to echo their views. When things are framed that way, it suggests that people who fight racism and white supremacy are somehow equally to blame for having, god forbid, upset the racists to such an extent that they must now be even more racist. Because they are, of course, delicate, polo-shirt and pocket protector wearing flowers.
This creates a false dichotomy. Fascists and anti-fascists are not equally bad. Racists and anti-racists are not simply "divided." The sad thing isn't that America is "divided," it is that we even have people who elected Donald Trump president, that we even have groups like the Proud Boys or Identity Europa being as large as they are. If we weren't "divided" from these people, there would be something severely wrong with us as well. I am more than happy to be "divided" from people like that, and I hope you are too.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse