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CNN Platforms white nationalist Richard Spencer

U.S. POLITICS

CNN Platforms Richard Spencer.

This week, CNN amplified one of the most noxious voices in American politics when it offered a platform to white nationalist Richard Spencer. On Jake Tapper’s “The Lead,” the leading proponent of the alt-right weighed in on the President’s tweet telling Rep. Ilhan Omar to “go back to [her] country.” 

CNN’s Sara Sidner, who created the segment for Tapper’s show, explained that prominent neo-Nazis and white nationalists have expressed support for the President’s comments — mischaracterized by HuffPost and other outlets as a “racist tirade.” Then she turned to Spencer for comment.

In a clip from a studio interview, Spencer criticized President Trump, stating that he only offers “racist tweets” and not much else. Spencer fed CNN’s narrative that the President is “racist,” while also taking advantage of the opportunity — helpfully provided by CNN — to subtly advocate for and promote his overtly racist movement.

Apparently, Tapper and his colleagues at CNN have no problem helping Spencer recruit acolytes so long as he speaks poorly of the President.

AN OBVIOUS DOUBLE STANDARD.

Had a Fox News host like Tucker Carlson given a platform to Spencer, there would be no end to CNN’s condemnation of its rival network. But instead, CNN treated us to the voice of an avowed racist on international television — viewed no doubt throughout airports and barber shops worldwide — while not challenging his noxious views.

Why ask him for his views on Trump at all? There is no shortage of commentators willing to criticize the President.

And all he had to do was speak out against the President.

In the clip, Sidner was not critical of Spencer’s views, offering them verbatim to an audience of millions — and Tapper went a step further by trying to justify the whole bit.

“[Sara Sidner] covers racists and white supremacists for us (among other subjects) and does a great job,” he wrote on Twitter in response to Human Events publisher Will Chamberlain. “She did a taped package for CNN about the reaction of white supremacists to the president’s tweets. Part of that included quoting these miscreants.”

Does Tapper’s definition of a “great job” include lending an uncritical platform to racists? Apparently so.

Neither Tapper nor Sidner made any attempts to put him on blast for his role in the Charlottesville rally that claimed the life of Heather Heyer. Nor did they question his repeated calls for a whites-only ethnostate.

Labeling him a “miscreant” on Twitter in a reply to someone else doesn’t cut it when such a remark goes unseen by the millions of viewers who watched the segment.

Furthermore, why ask him for his views on Trump at all? There is no shortage of commentators willing to criticize the President. One could be forgiven for thinking that CNN was willing to let Spencer spew his hatred if it meant more eyeballs.

Recently, Spencer hasn’t had much of a presence in the national conversation, outside of barely acknowledged appearances on now-suspended YouTube channels. Spencer’s follower count on Twitter has been in decline since early 2018. 

Richard Spencer Twitter Graph

After the mainstream media elevated and gave his racism a national platform with profiles in Mother Jones and the LA Times, it seemed most outlets had learned their lesson, and were refusing to give his views oxygen.

The network proves once again that it has done more to give free advertisement to racists and their ilk than the President himself, or any conservatives accused of normalizing racism.

That is, of course, until CNN decided to give him a platform this week.

Platforming Spencer isn’t anything new for CNN, which previously hosted him an “exclusive” interview with comedian W. Kamau Bell in the documentary series United Shades of America — as if the man, like all other fringe voices, doesn’t jump at every opportunity to talk about his views.

CNN also gave its platform to white nationalist Jared Taylor on multiple occasions to lend credence to the narrative that Donald Trump’s policies furthered a racist agenda.

The network is doing its damndest to make sure the public takes people like Spencer seriously when voices like his should be marginalized. While we believe that social media platform access should be a civil right in order to guarantee meaningful free speech, that formulation does not extend to national television appearances.

The network proves once again that it has done more to give free advertisement to racists and their ilk than the President himself, or any conservatives accused of normalizing racism.

CNN should be ashamed.

Ian Miles Cheong is the managing editor of Human Events

Written By

Ian Miles Cheong is the managing editor of Human Events.

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