The media is making “white nationalists” and “alt-right” mainstream


Tila Tequila

White Nationalists heil Trump

Risheek Priyadarshi, Editor-in-Chief

A few weeks after election night, the white nationalist group, National Policy Institute (NPI), had a meeting celebrating President-elect Trump’s victory. The New York Times headlined the meeting as, “Alt-Right Gathering Exults in Trump Election With Nazi-Era Salute”. Yes, the NPI did in fact copy Nazi-related practices at the meeting, but it wasn’t the alt-right. The alternative right, or alt-right, was a term coined by Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who spreads white supremacy ideals. Lately, the alt-right has gained popularity in the media, so headlining this white nationalist event actually just makes it more mainstream. White nationalists believe the U.S. should identify as a white majority and that racial discrimination should be incorporated into politics and law. White nationalists want their race to maintain political, social, and economic dominance over all other races, and also believe in Neo-Nazism. These movements are regrettably gaining more popularity because the media is mislabeling them and making these movements more mainstream. The media is over correcting itself when referring to white nationalists as the alt-right.

The media just conceals underlying racism by using alt-right in headlines. Milo Yiannopoulos, a journalist of the right-wing news website called Breitbart, said how the alt-right wasn’t full of racists and the racists in the alt-right won’t be able to accomplish anything. The media uses this information to label racist actions and groups, such as the NPI or white nationalists, under the alt-right, which has become an overarching label that covers up racism. Editors of ThinkProgress, a news site, calls out reporters who blatantly disregard reporting the truth, “A reporter’s job is to describe the world as it is, with clarity and accuracy. Use of the term ‘alt-right,’ by concealing overt racism, makes that job harder.” The alt-right is racist, but the media reports otherwise.

The media portrays white nationalists as people who want to make their label seem purer. Unlike white supremacists or the alt-right, white nationalists aim to be politically correct, as they did throughout the election. In an article responding to the New York Times, Huffington Post reporter Jason Linkins describes what really happened at the meeting. However, they were clever about it. The event’s speaker, Richard Spencer, revealed his true motives after the media left. He began using racial slurs, saying how white people should rule the U.S. and all other races are inferior. He ended the meeting with a Nazi salute.

This part of the meeting was definitely not emphasized by reporters covering this story. On top of that, they labeled white nationalists as the alt-right, which is constantly in the news already. This just popularizes the movements even more and propagates racial rhetoric further in American society.