Salon Talks: Normalizing neo-Nazis

How should journalists report on racism and hate groups?

The NYT came under heavy scrutiny for an article profiling a white nationalist titled “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland” that many felt normalized the subject. The backlash was so pronounced that the Times reporter and a national editor issued responses.

Jamilah King, race and justice reporter for “Mother Jones” and Jack Smith IV, senior writer for Mic joined Salon’s Alyona Minkovski to discuss the need for context, talking to people who know and are affected by individuals involved in hate groups, and the overwhelming whiteness of American newsrooms.

Both journalists pointed to the coverage of sexual harassment scandals as a more sophisticated example of reporting. “We would be outraged if the focus of those stories were the super villain origins of a person like Harvey Weinstein,” Smith said. “America is really ill equipped to talk about race with the same candor that we talk about sexism,” King said, adding that we haven’t yet learned how to talk about power.

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