On Sunday, The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan posted an instruction manual on how journalists should be reporting on Antifa. Prepare your facepalm.
The first sentence of her piece shows just how completely disconnected the elitist media is from reality: “For many Americans, the first they heard of antifa was last month when a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville burst into the news. Since then, though, it’s everywhere.”
That’s as tone deaf as one can get. Antifa’s presence was seen and felt throughout the entire election season. Unlike the Washington media bubble, most Americans are paying attention to what’s actually happening. But her piece only gets worse.
The WaPo editorial board recently suggested the violent group rename itself to “profa” because of its pro-fascist tendencies. Sullivan believes the labeling of Antifa to this point has been “confusing” and “hazy:”
Confusion reigns. But one thing is clear: The term [Antifa] has been quickly weaponized. Blended with some hazy terms like “alt-left,” it became politically useful to the right, and certainly to the president.
“Trump was playing into a meme about violent leftists that was well developed on the right,” Peter Beinart, a journalism and political science professor at the City University of New York, told me. “Those on the left had heard much less of it.”
Sullivan argues that President Trump and other conservative voices are the ones that have coined the Antifa as a leftist organization. In her view, however, these folks are “comparing things that aren’t the least bit equal, neither in scale nor in intent.” She bolsters her claim by citing “figures from the Anti-Defamation League that deserve widespread repetition: Right-wing extremists committed 74 percent of the 372 politically motivated murders recorded in the United States between 2007 and 2016. Left-wing extremists committed less than 2 percent.”
Sullivan goes on to quote a Ku Klux Klan leader who boasted about killing millions of immigrants as if this virtually unknown blip on the radar is capable of such a feat. Meanwhile, the hooded mobs are literally terrorizing communities with weapons and fists.
But Sullivan doesn’t think neo-Nazis and Antifa can be “compared in the political arena” either. Again, she says there’s too much “fuzziness around antifa — and its hazards” and posits that the group has no political allies, unlike the so-called alt-right. She defended Dartmouth Professor Mark Bray who just this last week said Antifa’s violence is a “legitimate response” to free speech.
Sullivan also chides the media for “endlessly” showing “the club-wielding protesters” and for saying “that it’s roughly the left-wing equivalent of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.”
“That’s not only untrue, but it has the effect of tarring everyone who protests Trump, as well as those who peacefully march for climate-change awareness or rally against hate-mongering speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos, the onetime Breitbart provocateur,” she writes.
Remember, Sullivan is a “journalist.” A journalist who is willfully ignoring the fact that Antifa only engages in violence, they don’t hold "rallies." For all this talk about the news constantly showing club-wielding maniacs, she never saw footage of the club-wielding maniacs at the Yiannopoulos events who set fire to Berkeley and whacked strangers on the head with bike locks because they were white and "obviously" a nationalist?
So, how should the media portray the terrorists? Sullivan explains:
The best thing journalists can do is to relentlessly explain the beliefs, scope and scale of antifa, and to resist conflating it with liberal groups. And most important, to challenge politically motivated efforts to create a false equivalency between antifa and the rising tide of white supremacy. There is no comparison.
President Trump gets the last word: