CNN published a story Wednesday calling “ordinary” supporters of President Donald Trump white supremacists and blaming them for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va.
In “‘White supremacists by default‘: How ordinary people made Charlottesville possible,” CNN blamed Trump voters of helping advance white supremacy, saying the non-racist, “ordinary” Trump voters are giving white supremacists room to operate and are the reason violence erupted in Charlottesville.
“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. 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’s John Blake wrote, crediting one other professor and “others” for contributing to the story.
Mark Naison is a political activist and history professor at Fordham University in New York City who CNN cited for the story. He compared Trump voters to nice people in the Holocaust and Rwanda who looked the other way while others wrote horrific violence:
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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. 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’s piece said there are four types of ordinary people who play a part in the country’s racial divisions, again these are reportedly based on “Naison and others.”
One of the groups are “the ‘down-low’ segregationists:
“Many of the white racists who marched in Charlottesville were condemned because they openly said they don’t believe in integration or racial equality,” the CNN piece said about this group of Trump voters. “But millions of ordinary white Americans have been sending that message to black and brown people for at least a half a century. They send it with their actions: They don’t want to live next to or send their children to school with black or brown people, historians say.”
The second group CNN cited was “those who say ‘yes, but…,’” this group is criticized by “Naison and others” for Trump’s original comments on Charlottesville where he disavowed both sides in the violence that took place throughout the brutal protests.
Trump’s ‘many sides’ response, though, wasn’t that abnormal in the context of US history. It used to be the norm for white political leaders to draw a moral equivalence between racists and those who suffered from their acts of brutality, historians say. It’s the “yes, but” rhetorical maneuver — condemn racism but add a qualifier to diminish the sincerity of what you just said.
The third group of Trump voters was labeled “Those who choose chaos.”:
“Many voters knew Trump would bring something else to the Oval Office — chaos. That’s why they chose him. He’s their first reality TV president, one writer says. Many voted for Trump because they liked the persona he cultivated as the star of ‘The Apprentice.’ Reality TV rewards characters who say rude and reprehensible things, characters are often cast as racial stereotypes, and those who provoke the most chaos get the most attention,” Joy Lanzendorfer said in an article for Vice news.
The last group of Trump voters that CNN said has divided the country are “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. CNN wrote. But first, start by looking at yourself.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to CNN for a statement about the specifics of this article but did not receive a comment in time for publication.
This report, by Henry Rodgers, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.