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New York Times's Nazi Profile Was Better In Original German

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Since the election of Donald Trump, most of our outlets of record have sent intrepid reporters to find out What The Fuck Just Happened Here. Their willingness to cover previously ignored areas is laudable but they seem to have over-corrected. Thus did the New York Times publish not only a mild and slightly puzzled profile on a white supremacist fuckbag but an accompanying author's note about the piece in which the author says that he learned exactly nothing about his subject writing it.

I write feature pieces on fringe movements, when I am not busy here at Wonkette cranking out dick jokes for all of you. I write about Trump voters and the disaffectation of Appalachia. There are real overlooked stories about how fascism works and how we might stop it that need covering.

Whatever the Times is doing, it's not that. This profile is about a fucking Nazi. It isn't a story about how someone was propagandized or the impact they've had on others or anything else of value. It's a PR piece on a fucking Nazi. Here's the lede:

Tony and Maria Hovater were married this fall. They registered at Target. On their list was a muffin pan, a four-drawer dresser and a pineapple slicer.

LOOK AT HOW NORMAL THE FUCKING NAZI IS. THERE ARE MUFFINS. This theme has featured heavily in this year's featured storylines about white supremacists. It happens to everyone the first time they interview a monster; they show up ready for they're not even sure what, but they don't expect the freshly baked cookies.

Ms. Hovater, 25, was worried about Antifa bashing up the ceremony. Weddings are hard enough to plan for when your fiancé is not an avowed white nationalist.

the woman is marrying a bloody fucking Nazi; who gives a shit about their wedding. A piece like this should impart new information to the reader, or else it's a fluff piece. There is nobody that thought fucking Nazis didn't get married.

But Mr. Hovater, in the days leading up to the wedding, was somewhat less anxious. There are times when it can feel toxic to openly identify as a far-right extremist in the Ohio of 2017. But not always.

*Heavy sigh* It ain't just Ohio, dude. That's the problem. It's everywhere.

He said the election of President Trump helped open a space for people like him, demonstrating that it is not the end of the world to be attacked as the bigot he surely is: “You can just say, ‘Yeah, so?’ And move on.”

Oh look guys, the fucking Nazi discovered reddit and found a home.

In Ohio, amid the row crops and rolling hills, the Olive Gardens and Steak ’n Shakes, Mr. Hovater’s presence can make hardly a ripple. He is the Nazi sympathizer next door, polite and low-key at a time the old boundaries of accepted political activity can seem alarmingly in flux.

Okay. So here's the thing about fucking Nazi fucks: they live places too. They have neighbors. They eat at restaurants. They do not cosplay as Himmler 24/7. This is not new information.

Most Americans would be disgusted and baffled by his casually approving remarks about Hitler, disdain for democracy and belief that the races are better off separate.

I don't think they would mostly be baffled. I think most Americans, when they hear things like casually approving remarks about Hitler, know exactly what they're dealing with. I want to know what world someone could have lived in where they hear "I don't have a problem with people who aren't white, I just want to live in a place they're not allowed" and they don't think "gee, I'm dealing with a virulent racist fuckbag over here!"

But his tattoos are innocuous pop-culture references: a slice of cherry pie adorns one arm, a homage to the TV show “Twin Peaks.”

I have 10 tattoos. Not a single one of them tells you whether I'm a racist or not.

He is not a star among the resurgent radical American right so much as a committed foot soldier — an organizer, an occasional podcast guest on a website called Radio Aryan, and a self-described “social media villain,”

Okay so what you're telling me is this dude is no big deal right, there's no way a mere foot soldier does anything TOO huge

although, in person, his Midwestern manners would please anyone’s mother.

We should send copies of Arendt over to the Times so they can hand it out to editorial who might then catch things like "holy fuckballs I met a fucking Nazi and he didn't fling poo at me."

In 2015, he helped start the Traditionalist Worker Party, one of the extreme right-wing groups that marched in Charlottesville, Va., in August, and again at a “White Lives Matter” rally last month in Tennessee.

I was just told that this dude wasn't anything more than a foot soldier. It was the opening sentence to this paragraph.

“We need to have more families. We need to be able to just be normal,” said Matthew Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, in a podcast conversation with Mr. Hovater.

Hey remember how the fucking Nazis are super normal? This is a recruiting technique. You are writing an article that serves a fucking Nazi recruiting goal. It is supremely difficult to write responsibly about fucking Nazis because you have to be aware that anything you write will add to their press clippings. "Nazis are so normal" is not a responsible storyline when you are quoting fucking Nazis talking about how being normal helps them.

“I don’t even think those things should be ‘edgy,’” he says, while defending his assertion that Jews run the worlds of finance and the media, and “appear to be working more in line with their own interests than everybody else’s.”

Fucking Nazis think it's totally normal to think that there's a secret Jewish cabal controlling the world! How did nobody tell me this about fucking Nazis before now?

And he refers to the 2013 science-fiction movie “Pacific Rim,” in which society is attacked by massive monsters that emerge from beneath the Pacific Ocean.

“So the people, they don’t ask the monsters to stop,” he says. “They build a giant robot to try to stop them. And that’s essentially what fascism is. It’s like our version of centrally coming together to try to stop another already centralized force.”

Here, fucking Nazis nationwide, have a fun pop culture reference to use in your quest to relate to people and be normal!

He is adamant that the races are probably better off separated, but he insists he is not racist. He is a white nationalist, he says, not a white supremacist.

Here is where it would be handy to have a guide to what this means and why it might be relevant! See, fucking Nazis have taken to calling themselves "nationalists" and that sounds a lot less scary than "supremacists." It also allows fucking Nazis to pretend that they're not fucking Nazis, but we are still talking here about people who want a white ethnostate. If you're gonna write about a fucking Nazi you should take apart their propaganda as you report it.

In an essay lamenting libertarianism’s leftward drift, he wrote: “At this rate I’m sure the presidential candidate they’ll put up in a few cycles will be an overweight, black, crippled dyke with dyslexia."

The fucking Nazi would only like white men in peak condition to run things. Again here's a whole quote that drives no story forward and tells us nothing we didn't already know but gives the fucking Nazi a NYT quote.

After he attended the Charlottesville rally, in which a white nationalist plowed his car into a group of left-wing protesters, killing one of them, Mr. Hovater wrote that he was proud of the comrades who joined him there: “We made history. Hail victory.”

In German, “Hail victory” is “Sieg heil.”

Fucking Nazis can be subtle, but they've never been terribly quiet about their plans. Not a few paragraphs ago the guy was telling us he wasn't a fucking Nazi at all, merely a fellow-traveler, and here he's heiling all over the place!

Before white nationalism, his world was heavy metal. He played drums in two bands, and his embrace of fascism, on the surface, shares some traits with the hipster’s cooler-than-thou quest for the most extreme of musical subgenres.

Heavy metal does not make you a fucking Nazi any more than it makes you go crazy and kill your parents.

The party, Mr. Hovater said, is now approaching 1,000 people. He said that it has held food and school-supply drives in Appalachia. “These are people that the establishment doesn’t care about,” he said.

Here again we have an instance of why you should contextualize the fucking Nazi. It's nice enough that the fucking Nazis are doing charity work, but when you let a fucking Nazi have a national platform you do not then quote the Nazi telling the underprivileged that the fucking Nazis are the people who really care.

It was midday at a Panera Bread, and Mr. Hovater was describing his political awakening over a turkey sandwich. He mentioned books by Charles Murray and Pat Buchanan. He talked about his presence on 4chan, the online message board and alt-right breeding ground (“That’s where the scary memes come from,” he deadpanned).

Look if we have to talk this much about fucking Nazis can we at least get consensus that Charles Murray is the sort of "thinker" beloved by fucking Nazis?

He said that while the Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler wanted to exterminate groups like Slavs and homosexuals, Hitler “was a lot more kind of chill on those subjects.”<

“I think he was a guy who really believed in his cause,” he said of Hitler. “He really believed he was fighting for his people and doing what he thought was right.”

The fucking Nazi would like you to believe that Hitler was "kind of chill." The Times would like the fucking Nazi to explain his views on Hitler. It can be galling for writers to have to spoonfeed facts to readers but it seems to me that at some point in this whole article about fucking Nazis you might point out that the fucking Nazis are batshit.

He said he wanted to see the United States become “an actually fair, meritocratic society.” Absent that, he would settle for a white ethno-state “where things are fair, because there’s no competing demographics for government power or for resources.”

The definition of "propaganda" is "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view." Nowhere in the definition is there a clause that says "unless the writer and outlet can be generally expected to disapprove of what they're printing."

His fascist ideal, he said, would resemble the early days in the United States, when power was reserved for landowners “and, you know, normies didn’t really have a whole hell of a lot to say.”

Now would be a great place in an article like this to point out that the fucking Nazi would himself be one of those normies that had no say, and that lack of "competing demographics for government power or resources" didn't actually make things fair for the normies. 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.

Jake Nolan, a guitarist in one of the bands Mr. Hovater played in, stuck with him. “There are people who literally go around Sieg Heiling,” he said. “Then you have the people who just want the right to be proud of their heritage” — people, he said, who are standing up against “what appears to be an increasingly anti-white America.”

The fucking Nazi is recruiting his friends. The New York Times is uncritically printing what the fucking Nazi has taught his friends to say.

The pasta was ready. Ms. Hovater talked about how frightening it was this summer to watch from home as the Charlottesville rally spun out of control. Mr. Hovater said he was glad the movement had grown.

They spoke about their future — about moving to a bigger place, about their honeymoon, about having kids.

And that's the end of the article. What did we learn? Absolutely fucking nothing that we didn't already know about Nazis, and that's irresponsible journalism. If you're writing a profile about people whose ideas are harmful you'd better have a damn fine reason to do so beyond "oooh, NYT byline!"

But the writer wasn't finished, he wrote an accompaniment to the article:

There is a hole at the heart of my story about Tony Hovater, the white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer.

If you start a piece with "I couldn't answer the main question" the story should rightfully then be that there is no there there.

Where was his Rosebud?

There isn't one. He's a fucking Nazi. Some people are just assholes.

Sometimes a soul, and its shape, remain obscure to both writer and reader.

I beat myself up about all of this for a while, until I decided that the unfilled hole would have to serve as both feature and defect. What I had were quotidian details, though to be honest, I’m not even sure what these add up to.

It added up to an article full of quotidian details. That was it. That was what you had to work with. You could have framed them in a dozen useful ways: Fucking Nazis are making earnest attempts to not look like fucking Nazis, making their recruiting more dangerous. Not all fucking Nazis have a hard-luck backstory and sometimes evil is inexplicable. Some fucking Nazis are cleaning up their language and here's how. Any number of ways you could have gone with that.

Instead, the paper of record has uncritically reprinted a bunch of fucking Nazi propaganda. It seems likely that we will now engage in our usual round of debate about whether we should be listening to the fucking Nazis or not, which entirely misses the point that we should be doing everything in our damn power to stop the fucking Nazis.

We've already got at least one death on our hands. It's time the media started acting like it.

[NYT/NYT/DailyBeast/Elle/Guardian]

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