Last month, local TV station WHNS, Fox Carolina aired a story about the White Supremacist website stormfront.org (sorry, not gonna link to it). Stormfront claims to be non-racist, just about “white pride”, but as always, the merest scratch reveals the hate just beneath the surface, with easy links to the KKK, American Nazi Party, and National Alliance.
While local news stations often run stories like this with a lurid, sensationalist “it’s a bad crazy world out there” slant, they didn’t use that angle here. It’s a puff piece, really, like a press release written by the site/org itself. It is described as a website concerned about the future of white people, and it’s not till the piece is mostly over that they casually mention that one of stormfront’s founders is a former Klan member. A quick look around their site shows plenty of racist comments about African-Americans and Jews (the founder of stormfront also hosts the unsettlingly-named website “Jew Watch”), so one would expect that sort of stuff to pop up in the news article. But it doesn’t. It’s really pretty shocking to see a mainstream news station send such an open love letter to a not-very-secretly racist group.
Some bloggers are leaping on the fact that the reporter behind this story posted on the stormfront messageboard, but I don’t find that too damning. If you were a reporter trying to investigate a certain group, it would make plenty of sense to join a messageboard for that group to read about them and contact them, even if you found them repellant. If the reporter was an active member of the boards for a long time prior to this story, then I’d be suspicious.
What I find creepy is that liberal org Think Progress contacted the reporter to ask why she didn’t include any criticism of stormfront, and she told them that she did the story exactly as she was told to and that officials at the network were very pleased with her coverage.
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