The New York Times’ magic wand was in full swing after the death of Charles Manson with an op-ed by Baynard Woods which suggested that the murderous cult leader was more likely the preincarnate right-wing party and certainly “not a product of the counterculture” of the liberal ‘60s.
Yes, having a swastika plastered between your eyes and indulging in a drug- and orgy-fueled lifestyle is just so... conservative.
The Manson murders — the seven killings committed by Charles Manson’s followers in two days in Los Angeles in August 1969 — are often thought to mark the end of the 1960s, as if those brutal slayings were the inevitable outgrowth of the counterculture, the dark consequence of long hair, free love, casual drug use and a general breakdown of authority and social norms…
But with some historical distance, and after Mr. Manson’s death on Sunday at age 83, we can see that the simplistic counterculture dichotomy of “freaks” versus “squares” caused people to lump Mr. Manson in with the freaks (for he certainly wasn’t a square). Apart from the long hair and the casual sex, however, Mr. Manson, who spent much of his life in prison with a swastika carved into his head, had more in common ideologically with far-right groups like the John Birch Society than he did with the anarchic leftism of, say, the Yippies.
To further distance the Left from Manson, who palled around with the likes of Neil Young and was praised by the progressive leftist domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Woods flat out denied the criminal's complete rejection of the conservative mainstream at the time:
Mr. Manson was not the end point of the counterculture. If anything, he was a backlash against the civil rights movement and a harbinger of white supremacist race warriors like Dylann Roof, the lunatic fringe of the alt-right… The paranoid, racist and apocalyptic ramblings of Mr. Manson are the DNA of the reactionary alt-right.
It’s one thing to point out how the swastika-toting “alt-right” echoes Manson’s crazy conspiracies, but if the NY Times was being honest, it would’ve made absolutely clear that Manson’s extremist ideology is just as closely linked to the radical Left as it is to today’s white supremacists — who, by the way, aren’t conservatives. The NYT knows that, but they also enjoy that the media has painted the “alt-right” with a large brush to include every stripe of conservatism. Convenient, no?