CNN used the voices of a few professors and activists to assert anyone who voted for President Donald Trump is a white supremacist in a news report Wednesday, and to blame these “ordinary” people for the violence in Charlottesville.
Trump voters helped advance white supremacy by giving them room to operate, CNN reported based on the assertions of others in a piece headlined, “‘White Supremacists by default’: How ordinary people made Charlottesville possible.”
“It’s easy to focus on the angry white men in paramilitary gear who looked like they were mobilizing for a race war in the Virginia college town,” CNN reported. “But it’s the ordinary people — the voters who elected a reality TV star with a record of making racially insensitive comments, the people who move out of the neighborhood when people of color move in, the family members who ignore a relative’s anti-Semitism — who give these type of men room to operate.”
CNN put the weight of the assertion on the views of what they described as “activists, historians and victims of extremism,” but made no visible effort to question their assertions or provide a counter point of view. Fordham University professor Mark Naison’s, for example, is quoted prominently in the piece accusing tens of millions of Americans of being white supremacists.
“We are a country with a few million passionate white supremacists — and tens of millions of white supremacists by default,” Naison told CNN. He’s a political activist and history professor. He compared all Trump voters to “nice people” who facilitated the horrific violence of the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda by looking the other way.
“That was the twisted formula that made the Holocaust and Rwanda possible and allowed Jim Crow segregation to survive: Nice people looked the other way while those with an appetite for violence did the dirty work,” CNN reports, paraphrasing Naison. “You have to have millions of people who are willing to be bystanders, who push aside evidence of racism, Islamophobia or sexism. You can’t have one without the other.”
CNN laid out four types of “ordinary people” to blame for the country’s racial divisions, according to “Naison and others.”
One group is “the ‘down-low’ segregationists, who say they’re against segregation but actively segregate themselves. A second group is “those who say ‘yes, but…’” who are characterized in the report as those who condemn racism but at the same time qualify their condemnation. Then there’s “those who choose chaos,” who CNN reports supported Trump for the entertainment factor. And then, those who “look the other way.”
“If you want to know why those white racists now feel so emboldened, it may help to look at all the ordinary people around you, your neighbors, your family members, your leaders. But first, start by looking at yourself,” CNN concluded.
CNN did not respond to a request for comment