The Washington Post asks whether Richard Spencer is a white nationalist or a white supremacist and says the answer “depends on the news source.” No it doesn’t. What different news sources choose to label him does not determine what he actually is, which is both a white supremacist and a neo-Nazi.
Let’s start with what Richard Spencer — the man whose appearance at the University of Florida on Thursday triggered a state of emergency — calls himself.
Spencer prefers the term “identitarian.” He also characterizes his views as “alternative right” or “alt-right.”
No, let’s not start with that because it’s completely irrelevant. He can call himself whatever he wants and it doesn’t change what he actually is. He can call himself a pink carnation but it doesn’t make him a flower.
News outlets generally consider those phrases euphemisms that, much like the clean-cut, well-dressed Spencer himself, put a comely face on racism. But there is a split in the media over how to describe Spencer clearly, accurately and fairly.
In reports by National Public Radio, Fox News Channel, the Associated Press, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, Spencer has been dubbed a “white nationalist.”
In coverage by CNN, USA Today, Esquire, Politico, U.S. News & World Report and HuffPost, he has been labeled a “white supremacist.”
And that is what he is. He’s also a neo-Nazi. That’s why he loves doing Hitler salutes and recites familiar Nazi slogans. Whatever label he wants you to apply to him, and whatever label some news outlet chooses to apply to him, that is what he actually is. This is beyond all rational dispute. Our news agencies are failing to report the truth when they accept euphemisms like “alt-right” and “white nationalist.” And it need to stop.