by James A. Bacon
The Washington Post’s Ian Shapira has finally published his piece about Matt Daniel, head of the Spirit of VMI PAC and one of the more vocal critics of the current VMI leadership. It may be the most balanced piece Shapira has ever written in his coverage of VMI — admittedly, an extremely low bar to clear. Even though Daniel declined to answer his questions, Shapira made a decent effort to present his point of view by quoting from the public record.
I cannot say what accounts for this departure in Shapira’s journalistic practice, but it cannot entirely be coincidence that Daniel had pre-empted a feared hit job by publicly releasing a list of questions that the WaPo reporter had emailed him shortly before publication. (Bacon’s Rebellion reported on those questions here.)
Still, Shapira can’t help being Shapira, and he described two incidents that grotesquely insinuated that Daniel has Nazi and/or anti-Semitic proclivities.
I don’t know much about Gab — I’ve never used it, never visited it — but I do know that it became popular with conservatives and the far right after it became clear that Twitter and other social media were suppressing their views. Linking Daniel to neo-Nazis for using Gab would akin to linking Shapira to Antifa by noting that Twitter is “popular with Antifa and other radical revolutionaries.” Guilt by association. Guilt by extremely tenuous association.
As for the phrase “über alles,” I suspect that Shapira is reading way too much into the cartoon. Many people, conservatives at least, use it as a negative phrase. The term is meant to invoke Nazi-like authoritarianism. I’m not sure whether Daniel meant his “EggBoy” cartoon character to be sympathetic, or unsympathetic, or ironic, or whatever, so I cannot say for certain what he meant to convey with the words “über alles.” But I know for a fact that Daniel is not a Nazi sympathizer, so I would interpret the cartoon (based on Shapira’s description) as a derogatory reference to the authoritarian tendencies of lefties.
Here is the second incident: