Yesterday the Today Show aired a softball interview with Patrick Casey, the ‘clean-cut’ leader of white nationalist group Identity Evropa (pronounced Eur-OH-pa). Identity Evropa was one of the far-right groups that organized last year’s deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
The interviewer asked Casey a bunch of easy questions with no rebuttal — including letting Casey get away with saying “racist” is just a “buzzword.”
The Today Show shouldn’t let violent racists pretty up their image. They shouldn’t give them a platform at all. Take Action!
Call them now and demand they take the clips down, issue an on-air apology and retraction, and run a follow-up piece featuring those harmed by white nationalist organizing. You can find a script and call numbers here.
It’s dangerous and irresponsible for the mass media to give hatemongers uncritical publicity. It’s one way the ruling class pits working class people against each other.
Patrick Casey and his Identity Evropa buddies may dress well and speak eloquently, but their message targets immigrants, people of color, and Jewish people. Patrick Casey says only US-born non-Jewish whites are acceptable residents of the United States. Why did the Today show let him spew this racist, xenophobic hate?
Treating fascist ideologues and intellectuals as normal and acceptable has helped fuel the rise of authoritarianism in countries across the world. And if we look at history, it paved the road to the death camps in Nazi Germany. That’s according to several scholars of Fascism and Nazism who studied the period just prior to World War Two.
The Today Show made a grievous error by allowing Patrick Casey to spread his toxic talking points justifying restricted rights based on ethnicity, religion, and country of origin. It is this form of national identity that leads to genocides.
Scholar Hannah Arendt, author of the massive study Totalitarianism, writes of the “banality of evil” in Germany. People the media and Nazi politicians described as incompatible with German citizenship — first the Jews, then others — were isolated, demonized, and dehumanized in mass media. This enabled the government to persecute and then murder them.
Racism and xenophobia in mass media isn’t going away. Rather, it is spreading. Luckily, you can find excellent resources on historic fascism. Professor Paul Bookbinder is an expert on the history of the Weimar Republic, which ruled Germany from 1919-1933 until democracy was extinguished by Hitler’s rule. Bookbinder’s work forms the core of an online series from the group Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO), which helps schools teach about how bigotry can lead to genocide. Their curriculum contends that “many aspects of the Weimar era echo and inform some of the major issues and challenges facing democratic nations today.” This is a great source for classroom or socialist study group reading.
We must refuse to be silenced in the face of ideologies and movements that seek to demonize any group of people. You can learn more about Identity Evropa and other white nationalist groups here. Patrick Casey has said outright that his goal is for Identity Evropa to quietly infiltrate the Republican party by cleaning up their image. We can’t let the media make that easier for them.
Don’t let our media help white nationalists rebrand racism. In these dangerous times, we need solidarity instead!