We haven’t seen anything like this in generations: Adherents of a heretofore fringe ideology with frightening views on race exult in the outcome of a presidential election. The self-proclaimed media mogul for this “alt-right” will serve as the next president’s top political strategist.
So how should journalists talk about the apparent mainstreaming of this movement? Reacting to an article on Sunday about a white nationalist group’s designs on Washington in the era of President Donald Trump, many readers harshly criticized The Times for not forthrightly calling the “alt-right” what they say it is: a media-savvy collection of bigots (and worse).
Here are some of their letters.
Carter Gunn of Los Angeles accuses The Times of glamorizing hate:
The normalization of Spencer is not OK. I am not saying Spencer should be ignored, but how you cover him is everything.
Natalie Hill of Los Angeles takes issue with terminology:
Thank you for your detailed coverage of the post-election situation.
I am very concerned about the use of the term “alt-right.” This term was coined to make racism and white supremacy palatable to the American public. The continued use of it whitewashes the hate and bigotry and is a slap in the face to all minorities and citizens.
I ask you to refrain from using “alt-right” and to illuminate this movement for what it really is: racism.
Jeanette Tebrich Smith, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who identified herself in her letter to The Times as Jewish, makes a chilling comparison:
I am a long-time subscriber to your print version. Your article on the “new think tank in town” and the picture you used online plays into this group’s desire to be part of the new normal.
These people are Nazis. What are you doing?
Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet of Los Angeles says The Times betrayed its readers :
I am gravely troubled by this article.
The Times should not betray its readers with puff pieces that trivialize the real dangers we currently face.
MORE READERS REACT