Was the violence in Charlottesville entirely on one side (or nearly so), with no “fine people” on the keep-the-statue side, as CNN assumes? Or is the version Trump gave yesterday in his testy but remarkably open press conference a more accurate description?
Short answer: I don’t know, of course. But Buzzfeed, which as far as I know is at least middle-of-the-road and likely left-leaning, has a detailed account that sounds plausible and largely corroborates Trump’s claims (significant if not equal desire for violence on both sides, some cooler heads on both sides etc.).
Actually, I was pleased to see Trump go off-script yesterday, and though I was more than a little skeptical of his assertions, Buzzfeed‘s article seems to say the CNN crowd’s account of the incident is at least incomplete. We have to hand this one to Trump. [Added, Aug. 18: The CNN crowd also claims a “moral equivalency” issue. But there were those on the left who according to Buzzfeed, “were armed with shotguns, assault rifles, and pistols,” and to claim that they hold the moral high ground is absurd.]
One thing that rankles me is that CNN et al have in recent years legitimized the white supremacy movement by interviewing them as “normal” people. Look, in a population of 325 million people, there are bound to be some people with warped minds; so why is that newsworthy? If CNN finds it’s a slow news day, can’t they do stories on cute cats, or maybe (perish the thought) do a report on whether the Trump people did a good job in settling the recent confrontation with North Korea?
On the other hand, it turns out that the e-commerce companies have been happy to do business with white supremancy groups — until now, that is. The WSJ reports that Google, Uber etc. are pulling the plug. The article states,
On Tuesday, payments company PayPal Holdings Inc. reiterated that it works to ensure “that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance,” saying that includes white supremacists and Nazi groups. It is unclear if PayPal has recently removed or suspended any accounts that violated its terms of service.
Well, in fact PayPal has apparently severed the service of vdare.com, a news site that issues one of the more strident calls for reductions in yearly immigration levels. It’s edited by Peter Brimelow, himself a British immigrant whose book Alien Nation, was a 1995 best seller.
Like everyone who writes about immigration, I do know Peter. Ironically, my first contact with him was indirect, when the WSJ published my letter to the editor that disagreed with his stance on whether children of Asian immigrants assimilate. (I said yes, while Peter’s stance was that he worried the opposite would happen.) I’ve had occasional direct interaction with him over the years. Peter is charming and urbane, and I remember that at a conference at Stanford, even Prof. Bill Hing, who should be Peter’s archenemy, was laughing at Peter’s jokes.
I don’t often go to the vdare.com site, as its tone is a little too hard-edged for my taste. But the content is not out of the mainstream (sometimes they reblog my posts), and I was rather stunned to learn yesterday of PayPal’s action. HOWEVER, it’s arguably their own fault, for using such a provocative name as “vdare” (for Virginia Dare, first white child born in the U.S. or something like that).
Still, PayPal is setting a bad precedent, I believe. I’ve mentioned on occasion that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Mark Krikorian’s organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, as a “hate group,” which is absolutely and outrageously false. Is CIS next on the pariah list?
As a lifelong liberal and minority activist, some may say I am the last person to bring up such things. But it’s very simple; a democracy is useless if we are not well informed, and what with CNN misleading us and PayPal exercising questionable censorship, staying well informed is getting pretty difficult these days.