NYT: “Undercover With the Alt-Right”

For a year, an effeminate Leftist using an assumed identity infiltrated various Alt-Right events and informal get-togethers. He has just put together a rather banal (at least from the excerpts) ‘documentary’ comprised of his undercover footage.

Naturally, the NYT wants to publicize this far and wide, so we have a piece (the #1 most emailed NYT story of the day) written by Jesse Singal titled “Undercover With the Alt-Right”:

Last September, Patrik Hermansson, a 25-year-old graduate student from Sweden, went undercover in the world of the extreme right. Posing as a student writing a thesis about the suppression of right-wing speech, he traveled from London to New York to Charlottesville, Va. — and into the heart of a dangerous movement that is experiencing a profound rejuvenation.

Mr. Hermansson, who was sent undercover by the British anti-racist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, spent months insinuating himself into the alt-right, using his Swedish nationality (many neo-Nazis are obsessed with Sweden because of its “Nordic” heritage) as a way in. It wasn’t always easy. “You want to punch them in the face,” he told me of the people he met undercover. “You want to scream and do whatever — leave. But you can’t do any of those things. You have to sit and smile.”

What he learned while undercover is one part of a shocking, comprehensive new report from Hope Not Hate that sheds light on the strange landscape of the alt-right, the much discussed, little understood and largely anonymous far-right movement that exists mostly online and that has come to national attention in part because of its support for Donald Trump.

As a result of the growing influence of the far-right social-media ecosystem, once-moribund hate groups in both the United States and Europe — groups that mostly existed long before “alt-right” entered the vernacular — are enjoying a striking uptick in recruitment.

Here’s the thing: The accompanying video excerpts (of Jason Reza Jorjani and Greg Johnson), which I’m guessing are the most ‘salacious’ this Leftie obtained, aren’t all that shocking.

Of the two, Johnson’s comments are nothing you wouldn’t otherwise find in his writings at Counter-Currents. Jorjani’s comments include a bit of cat-fighting fodder through subtle digs at Richard Spencer, and a Hitler-on-Europe’s-future-currency quote that will easily be taken out of context, but the rest is the sort of healthy, blustery, political, bar room banter and speculation one finds many normies doing each weekend.

What this episode reaffirms, however, is how the allure of ‘undercover footage’ has a higher, second-order propaganda value than the actual words being said. It’s classic McLuhan ‘media is the message’ stuff, part of Propaganda 101.

It’s why Romney’s “47%” comment, were it limited to words in print, or even if it were filmed openly and officially for all the world to see, would not have been all that controversial or shocking. But make it part of an ‘undercover video’, recorded at a private function (in front of political donors, no less!), and suddenly media elites are gasping breathlessly, and the story has legs for months and months when it otherwise wouldn’t.

I had to chuckle at the Jorjani clip’s use of black and white video and the accompanying eerie background music, presumably intended to signify malevolence. It’s similar to the tiresome way that, for example, Frontline shows Dick Cheney in black and white, against similar soundtrack music, but with the added effect of Will Lyman’s brooding and self-important voice. Patrik Hermansson, however, ain’t no Will Lyman.

An encouraging sign: As would be expected, the “Readers Picks” comments are all variations of leftwing alarmism, but as of this moment, the top 3 “NYT Picks” of comments to this article (from a total of 1,303 comments) are the following:

#1 —

The greatest stroke of luck for the at-right, of course, was the election of a president who see its members as a misunderstood segment of society. A lot of this may have been brewing for a while, but finding a sympathetic ear with the Trump administration had certainly brought it front and center.

#2 —

Although this article focuses on males, don’t overlook that there are young women who are attracted to the Alt-Right too. Regrettably, I have two nieces who have been mesmerized by this pathelogical [sic] ideology, and they are well-educated–one graduated from the University of Chicago, the other from the University of California at Berkeley.

#3 —

So the Alt Right people say the same things in private that they already do in public. The whole exercise was a bit pointless then, wasn’t it?

Fundamentally, all the Alt Right stands for is the idea that ethnic Europeans have the same moral entitlement as every other people on earth; namely, a land of their own.

They ask why it is that ethnic Europeans, uniquely, face a moral obligation to turn themselves into ethnic minorities and hope it all works our for their descendants. And, so far, no one has been able to answer that question.

What to make of this? Is perhaps some low-level NYT employee, in charge of monitoring and collating comments, trying to foster a deeper look into what the Alt-Right is all about?

There are responses to the NYT piece from Jason Reza Jorjani and Greg Johnson.

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