Lots has been happening in the United States in the last few days, though if I were relying only on the mainstream media to inform me the mental picture I would have built up of the events would bear little relation to reality. Fortunately, there are blogs and social media to help me understand what is really going on. That I need them at all is a continuing indictment of the media and their failure to perform their proper role in society: to report the facts, instead of crusading for a side. Donald Trump is wrong – the media is not the enemy of the people; the media is the enemy of the media.
The white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally took place in Washington on Sunday. Far from uniting anything, only two dozen people showed up:
[The rally organiser, Jason] Kessler told reporters that so few white nationalists showed up because of being “very scared” and fearing being “overly prosecuted” after last year’s protest in Charlottesville, Va., at which one counterprotester, Heather Heyer, was killed when a white nationalist plowed his car into a side street full of demonstrators.
Kessler also blamed infighting within his movement, including among neo-Nazis for lower turnout; some of today’s participants bore neo-Nazi tattoos. While Kessler said his wanted to speak with President Trump at the White House, Trump was at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club today.
In other words you would have missed it all if you blinked – or if you didn’t follow the media, which for days prior generated an avalanche of breathless stories in anticipation of “Unite the Right”, puffing the importance of the event, probably because it fits the favourite narrative of the left about how America is in a grip of a fascist epidemic unleashed by a bigoted alt-right President. Instead, the two dozen losers were vastly outnumbered by both the police, who were there to keep order and by the antifa, who were looking to punch some Nazis.
Predictably, the antifa protesters were described as “anti-hate” by both CNN and “The Washington Post”. Because, you know, hate is the exclusive domain of one particular political minority. The antifa, of course, has got its own extensive list of pet hates, including anyone to the right of their far-left politics, as well as more specifically capitalism, democracy, the police, and national borders. Presumably, just like apparently you can’t be racist to white people, you can’t hate the right, or if you do, it’s entirely justified anyway.
The “anti-hate” groups, disappointed they could not find any Nazis, predictably, turned on the police. All dressed up and no one to punch, one can understand antifa’s disappointment.
This is reminiscent of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, a day before, on the anniversary of the infamous “white supremacists with tiki torches” rally and the antifa counter-rally during which one latter was ran down and killed by one of the former. This time there was no tiki torch in sight, only the antifa and a lot of police expecting trouble. And trouble is what they got, though not because they had to separate two warring groups (or because, like the year before they were told to stand down and not to separate two warring groups). It would be too charitable to say that the antifa protesters turned on the police because they were once again disappointed at the lack of the real neo-Nazis to punch, since they already turned up to the protests with banners reading “Last year they came with torches, this year they came with badges” and “Behind every cop is a Klansman”. Needless to say, they were clashes with the “Nazis with badges” – and an NBC news crew was roughed up too. Not that the media reported on that, because unless it’s a Trump supporter motivated by the President’s inflammatory and violent anti-press rhetoric it didn’t happen. So it didn’t. In fact, according to NBC – despite what NBC cameras actually showed – their team was merely “heckled” (it was that too).
So there you have it, dear media consumers: “the far right” is now so prominent in the United States that huge crowds of as many as 25 white supremacists show up to a hugely pre-publicised rally. On the other hand, violent communist paramilitaries, which assault police and news media are peaceful “anti-hate” protesters. This is George Orwell, reporting live from Washington DC.