Leftist Media Does Battlefield Prep for White Supremacist Trial

by James A. Bacon

Left-wing media from the New York Times to National Public Radio are as excited as can be about a civil trial starting today in Charlottesville that targets organizers of the infamous Unite the Right rally in 2017. As the Times puts it, lawyers for the nine plaintiffs “are hoping that their quest for unspecified financial damages will both punish the organizers and deter others.”

I have zero sympathy for the white supremacists who organized the event, staged an intimidating torch-light march through the University of Virginia, peddled racism and anti-Semitism the next day, clashed with counter-protesters, and in case of James Alex Fields, Jr., drove a car into a crowd, killing a peaceful demonstrator, Heather Heyer. I would love to see white supremacists put out of business. If the civil lawsuit manages to do that, then I’m all on board.

What concerns me is the media-created mythology exempting the Left from any responsibility for political violence in America today while indicting broader American society for the actions of white supremacists.

The New York Times opines that the case will “underscore some of the most divisive fault lines segmenting the Untied States.”

Fault lines? What fault lines? White supremacists are a fringe group. Can you call it a fault line when 99% of the electorate is on one side and 1% (if that) is on the other?

The newspaper quotes Richard C. Schragger, a University of Virginia law school professor: “The trial will provide a detailed look into the world of far-right extremism and organization, but that world should not be understood as an outlier. Though some of the groups and individuals targeted by the lawsuit seem fringe and marginal, their ideas and the wider conspiracy-mongering and propensity to violence that they represent is alive and well in the U.S.”

The Times implies that sympathy for the white supremacists is widespread by reminding readers of President Donald J. Trump supposed quote that there were “very fine people on both sides.”

I say this as no fan of Trump: that is a absolute lie, and repeating a lie endlessly does not make it true. Trump clearly was talking about “both sides” of the Civil War statue controversy, and in the same set of remarks explicitly denounced white supremacists. But the lie is useful to the scribblers at the Times because Trump presumably spoke for the 49% or so of the country that voted for him, which implies a tolerance in the conservative mainstream for white supremacists.

Ironically, the Times story provides ample evidence that the white supremacists are an outlier in American society. The 14 individuals and 10 organizations named in the lawsuit have no unified strategy for their defense. That may be because some of their lawyers withdrew when defendants stopped paying them. The defendants stopped paying because, for the most part, they are pathetic losers, have few financial resources, and generate no sympathy from anyone. Jason Kessler, the Charlottesville-based agitator who organized the rally, was so bereft of funds that he resorted to visiting the UVa law school library to study the law in order to represent himself. Irate law school students and faculty got the University to issue a No Trespass Order to ban him from the grounds. (I don’t know if he has obtained a lawyer since then.) 

White supremacists can’t raise money online because social media have moved aggressively to de-platform them. Another defendant, Richard B. Spencer, told the court that the case had been “financially crippling” because so many fund-raising platforms had expelled him. Meanwhile, nobody but nobody on the conservative end of the ideological spectrum wants anything to do with them.

By contrast, the plaintiffs do have lawyers, who appear to be very unified, very organized, and well-resourced enough to engage in extensive “digital sleuthing” needed to document communications between white supremacists in the lead-up to the rally. Who is paying them? Do the plaintiffs have third-party financial support? The Times is not interested in that question.

Left-wing media has diligently tracked every prosecution of white supremacists in Charlottesville. (If news stories have covered prosecutions of left-wing protesters who also engaged in violence, they were never played up.) Despite months and months of left-wing violence in Portland, Seattle and other cities, one is left with the impression that only white supremacists have engaged in violence.

If you don’t trust me to provide a balanced view of what happened, check out the Heaphy report, “Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia.” That exhaustive study documents the escalating tensions between Left and Right in the months preceding the rally, as well as the fact that some far-Left elements came prepared for violence.

The Left and its media mouthpieces often talk of “marginalized” elements of society. It’s hard to imagine any segment of society more marginalized than the white supremacists. That’s exactly what their hateful ideology deserves to be — marginalized. The fact that Klansmen and neo-Nazis try to piggyback on conservative causes does not make them any less on the fringe. Conservatives want nothing to do with them. But the Times will do its best to convince you otherwise.