The NBC Evening News on Tuesday ended with a story about how Ken Burns wants there to be a National Home Town Day and about how he’s getting famous people to record stuff about how wonderful their home town is. The reporter asked him if he was doing this to alleviate “the divisiveness of social media” and he said it was.
This BOTH SIDES-ing of fascism is MADE FOR TELEVISION bullshit of the highest order.
There is no doubt that the United States is in the middle of a cold civil war, with hot skirmishes unfortunately breaking out. There is only one reason for this: a large segment of the American public has become violently radicalized. I have a carefully curated Facebook feed of actual friends and family, and I don’t subscribe to any groups or lists or whatever Facebook is offering and I still see stupid fake memes designed to get people angry. And guess what? The people who are posting these memes are indeed angry. But they’re angry over some really stupid stuff.
Here’s the most recent one I’ve seen:
I cannot find anything to be outraged about in that photo. But everyone sharing it sure is mad about it. As for me? The idea that people posting videos about their home towns is a magic bullet that will heal the nation is so stupid that it makes me as mad as some people are over $3.00/gallon gas. Me? I’d LOVE to pay that little for gas.
Kalispell, MT is someone’s home town. Lisa Rein wrote about the clashes between Trumpers and residents in The Washington Post on Monday. Here’s a representative part of it:
Hostility over the November election, the coronavirus and social movements have left a trail of bad blood among old-school Republicans, backers of the former president, increasingly vocal Democrats and out-of-state transplants, convulsing everything from the school district and the public library to daily interactions.
This is no longer the place people here felt they knew, with its pride in a civil style of independence, not just from Washington but from animosity. Local businesses, politicians and ordinary people now find themselves navigating angry confrontations, and a nuanced political tradition of splitting tickets on Election Day has given way to partisanship that propelled a Republican sweep of races for governor, president and Congress in November for the first time in two decades.
The town is a hellscape. And it turns out that Rein left out an important piece of context: the town has become a haven for white supremacists. I came across this piece by Dam Froomkin.
On Twitter, I complained of the extraordinary contortions Rein went through to make it sound like the “angry confrontations,” and “partisan recriminations” she describes are somehow everyone’s fault — that the “fracture” is an affliction the community is suffering from, rather than the direct result of right-wing zealots run amok.
And that was before I learned that the area has long been a notorious destination for white nationalists – a “cradle for sometimes-violent anti-government activity,” as the Associated Press put it in 2011 — which somehow never came up at all.
Rein briefly engaged with me on Twitter. I had suggested that she was avoiding the obvious, to which she responded: “Lol. Which is….?”
I asked: “Do you have a lot of examples of non-Trumpists behaving badly? Do you think anyone is at fault other than these racist, grievance-filled conspiracy-spewing bullies?“
She replied: “The story is nuanced as are the politics but thanks for reading :)-”
After I expressed my view that there was nothing remotely nuanced about either the facts or the politics, I asked her if she felt “under some obligation to turn in a ‘nuanced’ piece instead of one that flatly chronicled the destruction wrought by right-wing extremism?”
She replied: “Nope. I felt an obligation to tell the truth,” followed by the emoji for “grinning face with smiling eyes.” And that’s the last I heard from her directly.
Froomkin’s piece also linked to stories about how Kalispell has become a mecca for white supremacists and hosts a Who’s Who of those losers.
None of that important context is included in Rein’s story because it ruins the BOTH SIDES! trope. See, the problem isn’t the Trumpers banning books or prohibiting transgender girls from playing sports or following school board officials out into the parking lot or sending them threats. The problem is the people who speak out against fascism.
I’ll close out this discussion of the failure of the media with this epic fail from CBS News (translation: “CBS News doesn’t know where La Palma is.”):
— Enrique Rodríguez (@rodriguezcoello) October 26, 2021