Opinion Don't let paranoia guide our response to extremism

01:11  06 march  2021
01:11  06 march  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Radicalization is a real problem in the United States.

a group of people in front of a crowd © Provided by Washington Examiner

Let’s go about fighting it the smart way, then, the opposite of the approach taken by members of the press and left-wing activists.

As U.S. law enforcement officials work diligently to counter right-wing extremism, self-appointed Nazi hunters have indulged themselves in paranoia, wild-eyed handwringing, and enough ratings-driving fearmongering to choke a donkey. Indeed, in their zeal to fight extremism, the press and the Left have gotten so far ahead of themselves that they’re now seeing "evidence" of far-right extremism in everything from set designs to milk.

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Yes, milk.

On Monday, for example, the events design company that created the stage for the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, responded to allegations it intentionally created the set to resemble an obscure rune embraced by the Nazis (it is obscure; don’t fool yourself).

Design Foundry told Insider it "had no idea that the design resembled any symbol, nor was there any intention to create something that did."

Of course the group had no idea. Why would the company that designed sets for clients including Google, Target, MSNBC, and the Biden Cancer Initiative torpedo itself by paying tribute to the Third Reich? Furthermore, how does it even make sense to design a Nazi-themed stage whose shape can only be understood from an elevated position? Remember, CPAC’s attendees were seated at eye-level with the stage.

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Even before Design Foundry denied it designed the CPAC set to look like a Nazi rune, the allegation that it had never made any sense.

But this is about par for the course when it comes to our national conversation about right-wing extremism and white supremacy.

In 2018, the New York Times ran a real news report titled, “Why White Supremacists Are Chugging Milk (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed).” The article is exactly what it sounds like.

At the same time, newsrooms ran story after story accusing private individuals who flashed the “OK” hand sign of engaging in coded extremist language. As it turns out, the “OK” symbol that members of the press and activist groups attribute to white supremacists began as a joke. Internet trolls thought it would be funny to trick the news media into believing that a universally accepted hand gesture was part of a secret code used by white supremacists (a 2019 New York Times article accusing West Point cadets of flashing the supposedly hateful hand sign even concedes this fact).

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The “OK” gesture then became an inside joke among actual white supremacists, which resulted in activist groups and the press declaring the innocuous symbol off-limits for everyone. In other words, the "OK" sign became bad because trolls tricked newsrooms into thinking it was, and actual extremists later adopted it in response to the news coverage. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We’ve been told by the press and the Left that white supremacy symbols include everything from the Betsy Ross flag, obscure tattoos, Hawaiian shirts, the Speaker's gavel, and even the “SPQR” acronym for the “Senate and People of Rome.” The obvious problem here is that it takes a very real issue (radicalization) and obscures it with confusion and (sometimes) laughable paranoia.

What happens if large numbers of extremists also enjoy ice cream and going out to the movies? Should we expect a New York Times headline that reads, “Why White Supremacists Are Eating Ice Cream (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed)”? A thing is not part of the white supremacist structure merely because white supremacists use it. Further, by seeing evidence of evil in everyday objects, these people make it harder to focus on actual evidence of extremism. You need to cast a smaller net.

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Radicalization poses a real threat in the U.S., especially as our communities become more splintered and our politics become increasingly bitter and polarized. Right-wing extremism is real. White supremacy is real.

So, let’s address these problems the right way, cool, calm, and collected. In other words, the opposite of what we’ve seen from the press and the Left these past few years.

Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, extremism, homegrown extremism, Terror, Terrorism, Domestic Terrorism, Media Bias, Media Coverage

Original Author: Becket Adams

Original Location: Don't let paranoia guide our response to extremism

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This is interesting!