CNN has made no attempt to retract or modify a Wednesday report that calls all supporters of President Donald Trump “white supremacists by default.”
The report stakes its weighty claims about the moral character of Trump supporters on the word of “activists, historians and victims of extremism,” who argue that “ordinary people” have empowered white supremacists. (RELATED: CNN: Everyone Who Voted For Trump Is A ‘White Supremacist By Default’)
“It’s easy to focus on the angry white men in paramilitary gear who looked like they were mobilizing for a race war in the Virginia college town,” the report reads. “But it’s the ordinary people — the voters who elected a reality TV star with a record of making racially insensitive comments, the people who move out of the neighborhood when people of color move in, the family members who ignore a relative’s anti-Semitism — who give these type of men room to operate.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation received no response after contacting multiple CNN public relations employees, politics editors and the writer who authored the report, to inquire as to whether the network stands by the story.
Much of the report rests on the extensive conclusions drawn by Fordham University professor and political activist Mark Naison, who wasted no time in issuing a stinging indictment of the character of all Trump supporters.
“You have to have millions of people who are willing to be bystanders, who push aside evidence of racism, Islamophobia or sexism. You can’t have one without the other,” Naison says. “We are a country with a few million passionate white supremacists — and tens of millions of white supremacists by default,” Naison told CNN.
The report neatly categorizes Trump supporters into four separate categories based on the degree of their complicity in enabling white supremacy.
One such category is labeled the “down low segregationists,” who according to “Naison and others,” claim to be against segregation but actively segregate themselves by moving when their neighborhood becomes diverse.
Then there is the “yes, but” group who acknowledge that racism is a problem but add a qualifier to the concession “to diminish the sincerity of what [they] just said.” The report then suggests moral equivalency between modern critics of the Black Lives Matter movement and the moderates identified in Rev. Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” as the central obstacle to desegregation.
“When a police officer shoots an unarmed black person, even then it’s controversial to say racism is a factor,” Erik Love, a sociologist at Dickinson College, told CNN. “We say, ‘Why don’t we talk about these other issues. What about the crime rate, what police officers need to protect themselves.’ And suddenly we’re not talking about race anymore.”
Next come “those who choose chaos” who voted for Trump primarily for the entertainment value but now condemn his actions, including his response to the violence in Charlottesville.
“This is who he is, this is what he does,” Emory University African-American studies professor Carol Anderson told CNN. “‘Mexicans are rapists and criminals.’ That’s what he said in his first speech. Their complicity comes in the form of self-denial instead of owning it,” Anderson said in reference to the Trump supporters who fall into the “those who choose chaos” category.
Finally comes “those who look the other way,” a label that applies to Trump voters who “don’t speak up” in opposition to hateful ideology.
“If you don’t speak up when this sort of ideology is being promoted at the highest level, you end up being complicit in the actions taken by its more extreme adherents,” Naison says. “Once the demons are unleashed, you’ve become a co-conspirator.”
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