In The New York Times, there is a new glowing profile of Antifa in the style section called “What to Wear to Smash the State”:
“In late August, a crowd of thousands — primarily leftists and liberals — cascaded down Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley, Calif. They were marching on a spattering of right-wingers, Trump supporters and Nazis who were gathering under the mission to say “no to Marxism in America.” At the front of the march were about 100 people dressed in head-to-toe black.
According to many people present, this was the largest so-called black bloc they’d seen. This medley of black-clad anarchists, anti-fascists (known as “antifa” activists) and their fellow travelers was a response to the previous week’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. There, protests ended with 19 injured and 32-year-old Heather Heyer killed when James Fields, an admirer of Hitler who demonstrated with white supremacists, drove his car into a crowd.
This mass of solid black descending upon the park in Berkeley, hunting for fascists, was an intimidating aesthetic. That’s by design. …”
The subtitle of the article is “anti-fascist activists believe in dressing for the job they want. Right now, many think, that job is punching Nazis.” No moral ambiguity there even though the article is about how the Black Bloc is an Antifa tactic used to preserve anonymity while engaging in violence.
Contrast the reaction to the Antifa article to the come part that happened over the weekend when The New York Times profiled Tony Hovater of the Traditionalist Worker Party:
“HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio — 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.
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.
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. 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.” …”
The title of the article was “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland.” At various points, Tony Hovater is called a rightwing extremist, a bigot and the polite and low key Nazi sympathizer next door. It led to an explosive reaction from the blue checks on Twitter who accused The New York Times of “normalizing Nazis” and sparked a furious debate in the mainstream media about how Nazis should be covered in New York Magazine, The Nation, Slate and other leftwing outlets.
It provoked some soul searching from the reporter who wrote the article:
“There is a hole at the heart of my story about Tony Hovater, the white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer.
Why did this man — intelligent, socially adroit and raised middle class amid the relatively well-integrated environments of United States military bases — gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse? …
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. Like other committed extremists I have known, Mr. Hovater had little time for a life beyond his full-time job and his line of activism. When he is not doing those things, he likes to be at home with his girlfriend (now his wife) and their cats.”
The New York Times national editor weighed in on the furor:
“Our reporter and his editors agonized over the tone and content of the article. The point of the story was not to normalize anything but to describe the degree to which hate and extremism have become far more normal in American life than many of us want to think.
We described Mr. Hovater as a bigot, a Nazi sympathizer who posted images on Facebook of a Nazi-like America full of happy white people and swastikas everywhere.
We understand that some readers wanted more pushback, and we hear that loud and clear.
Some readers also criticized the article for including a link to a webpage that sells swastika armbands. This was intended to show the darker reality beyond the anodyne language of the website. But we saw the criticism, agreed and removed the link. …”
Tony Hovater and his wife ended up losing their jobs and home over the article:
“A Nazi sympathizer who was profiled recently in The New York Times and his wife and brother-in-law have lost their jobs, after the article prompted an outpouring of hostility to the restaurant that employed them, both he and the restaurant said.
The Times article depicted Tony Hovater, 29, as an otherwise unremarkable person who voices “casually approving remarks about Hitler, disdain for democracy and belief that the races are better off separate.” He is active in a group called the Traditionalist Workers Party; organizations that track extremist groups have called it a hate group, allied with neo-Nazis, and call its views white supremacist, a label it rejects. …”
If you haven’t donated to the Hovater Family Support Fund, please consider doing so. The response from our community has been incredible. We have a young family that is going to be thrown out of its house on Christmas because of an article written by the mainstream media.
The contrast between the two articles really sums up where we are at in this country under the Trump presidency: in one case, it shows how “journalists” have become nothing more than political activists and inquisitors who use their positions of power and influence to demonize and harass their political opponents. In the other case, the mainstream media is celebrating Antifa and telling them what to wear when they go out to engage in violence, destroy property and incite riots.
This is why I am careful to draw distinctions between the vanguard Left, mainstream Left, mainstream Right and the vanguard Right. There is no equivalence between the Right and Left. The mainstream Left supports the vanguard Left and demands that the mainstream Right condemn the vanguard Right. The mainstream Right are cucks who condemn and disavow the vanguard Right. Neither the mainstream Right or mainstream Left condemn and marginalize the vanguard Left.
While someone like Tony Hovater will lose his job and home for being “the Nazi sympathizer next door,” the same isn’t true of the Antifa sympathizer next door. The Charlottesville resolution, which was passed unanimously by the House and Senate and which was signed by Trump, is an example of the mainstream Right and mainstream Left teaming up to condemn the vanguard Right exclusively for the violence in Charlottesville. The vanguard Left doesn’t have agonizing debates about “optics” because it can bring as many communist flags as it wants to Antifa events without any problem.
This is how we have gotten to the point where a Midwestern line cook who like cats and science fiction is a terrible, evil person, but the masked anarchist beating people up at Berkeley is a hero.
Note: Tony Hovater recently appeared on The Daily Shoah.