Another weekend, another giant NYT profile of an Alt-Righter (this time: Tony Hovater), always carefully edited to depict the individual as barely literate and irrational.
A slight difference this time: There’s a Twitstorm of lefties complaining that the profile only serves to ‘normalize’ the dastardly Nazi.
In addition to the Editors weighing in to respond to the original piece’s negative feedback (for the aforementioned ‘normalizing’ of dastardly Nazis), the NYT reporter has also penned “I Interviewed a White Nationalist and Fascist. What Was I Left With?”, which includes this awesomely loaded passage:
Where was his Rosebud?
After I had filed an early version of the article, an editor at The Times told me he felt like the question had not been sufficiently addressed. So I went back to Mr. Hovater in search of answers. I still don’t think I really found them. I could feel the failure even as Mr. Hovater and I spoke on the phone, adding to what had already been hours of face-to-face conversation in and around his hometown New Carlisle, Ohio.
On the phone, Mr. Hovater responded to my question by rattling off names of libertarian academics, making references to sci-fi movies and describing, yet again, his frustration with what he described as the plodding and unjust nature of American democracy…
To me, that question embodies what good journalism should strive for, as well as the limits of the enterprise. Sometimes all we can bring you is the words of the police spokesman, the suspect’s picture from a high school yearbook, the acrid stench of the burned woods.
Sometimes a soul, and its shape, remain obscure to both writer and reader.
The Rosebud reference and the bit about the ‘acrid stench of the burned woods’ made me laugh out loud. (More literary pretensions in NYT profiles).
To the NYT crowd, it is unimaginable that a white person might rationally embrace white identitarianism and then white nationalism.