In an obvious nod to Donald Trump’s “both sides” doctrine, America’s third-favorite cable news outlet (second, if you don’t count Trump’s personal propaganda network, Fox News) extended an invitation to the man whom both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League described as a white nationalist, a white supremacist and—my personal favorite—a “racist in khakis,” because, apparently, it’s important to know how racists feel about racism.
On Tuesday, the network responsible for such hard-hitting coverage as what it’s like having the name Lakeisha, asked Richard Spencer, the man who coined the phrase “alt-right,” to appear in a pre-taped segment of Jake Tapper’s The Lead. To be fair, it was a slow news day that only featured the death of a Supreme Court justice; the House of Representatives’ vote to condemn Trump’s tweets; the attorney general determining that black lives don’t matter; Rep. Al Green’s formally submitting articles of impeachment; Space Jam 2 changing directors; R. Kelly pleading not guilty to federal charges; Jeffrey Epstein’s piles of cash and the plague of Tennessee swamp gators getting hooked on toilet meth.
“Many white nationalists will eat up this red meat that Donald Trump is throwing out there,” Spencer told correspondent Sara Snider. “I am not one of them.
“He gives us nothing, outside of racist tweets,” continued Spencer. “And by racist tweets, I mean tweets that are meaningless and cheap and express the kinds of sentiment you might hear from your drunk uncle while watching Hannity.”
And I know you’re expecting a rant about normalizing white supremacy or a formal rebuke of CNN for giving Spencer a platform of 700,000 people but it is unlikely that anyone contemplating becoming a white nationalist saw the short clip of Spencer and thought: “You know what? This Nazi thing might be my niche.” However, even if CNN’s brazen embrace of a white supremacist as a legitimate newsmaker wasn’t dangerous, it begs the question:
Spencer is not a newsmaker. His celebrity is built on the fact that every now and then, he can convince news organizations to amplify his rhetoric. As I previously wrote after going to a Richard Spencer appearance that ended in college students chasing his followers off their campus:
And this is Spencer’s little secret: He has no following. He gets online donors to sponsor his appearances (this one sponsored by a white supremacist website), and he pulls the strings of the national press like a puppet master, letting it hype up his traveling circus. In reality, he’s the white nationalist version of a club promoter—with beautiful women and bottles of champagne on the flyer calling it the “Scorpio bash of the year,” but when you get to the party, it’s usually just a few lame guys drinking Bud Light and women taking Snapchat selfies in the bathroom while Drake whines over the speakers.
Ain’t nobody checking for Richard Spencer. He’s a product of self-promotion and fake news. He’s a charlatan trying to create his own The Real Housewives of White Supremacy.
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Did you need to hear Spencer’s thoughts to know Trump’s tweets were racist? Would you have assumed that the president telling someone to “go back” to their country was an innocuous blunder if you hadn’t heard it from the mouth of an avowed white nationalist who has called for the “peaceful ethnic cleansing” of America? Of course, CNN could’ve just asked some black people, immigrants, regular citizens or some registered voters to weigh in, but maybe this is just CNN’s new approach to journalism.
Perhaps, in the future, the outlet will retain the services of a mass shooter to explain gun violence. I look forward to Jeffrey Epstein serving as a CNN’s senior pedophilia analyst during the R. Kelly trial and George Zimmerman becoming the network’s official Black Lives Matter correspondent.
I doubt very many people were even offended by the suit-wearing smegma’s television appearance. While most people probably chalked up CNN’s dumbfuckery to “wypipo gonna white,” it is actually indicative of a more serious problem:
CNN doesn’t hire black people.
For months, the National Association of Black Journalists has called out the network for its lack of diversity. In a March press release, the NABJ noted that CNN has no black executive producers, senior news vice presidents or news vice presidents. The group explained that “The absence of blacks in news decision-making roles impacts the network’s ability to provide balanced perspectives from one of the most influential and largest consumer groups in the nation—the black community.”
This is why we need more black people in the newsroom.
Even if a black employee at CNN wasn’t empowered enough to squash the segment, someone might have thought twice before sending a black cameraman, audio person or producer out to do an interview with a man whose ultimate goal is to create “a new type of society that would actually be a homeland for all white people.”
Or, perhaps this is also CNN’s ultimate goal. Maybe when this Caucasian utopia comes into fruition, the residents will have to get their news from somewhere. And now we know which network it will be:
CNN, the official news network of Whitekanda.
Sorry, Fox News.