Late Night Open Thread: The Sunk Costs of Normalizing Nazis


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The sad reality is: The NYTimes has been normalizing actual Nazis for going on eighty years now!

At some level, the people authorizing these stories — sending reporters out to collect “homey” anecdotes for yet another puff-piece — are defending their organizations’ sunk costs. If they admit now that normalizing Nazis always ends up with Nazis trying to murder the people of whom they don’t approve, what would that say about the Hallowed NYT Traditions?!?
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69 replies
  1. 1
    Raoul says:

    The NYT fish rots from the head: Dean Baquet. He is a shitty newsman.

  2. 2
    ThresherK says:

    Patton Oswalt is more deserving of a NYT byline than some of the Trump-searchers they have now.

    Argonauts win Coupe Grey with two big-time plays, one a 108 hard fumble recovery TD late.

  3. 3
    Raoul says:

    Also, a reminder: the Times performed an apology for their Iraq coverage, but did no real introspection and seemingly learned bupkis.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’ll just leave this here:

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    The NYT is a Baquet full of Deplorables.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    @Raoul:
    “We apologize for anything we may have written that may or may not have affected our ad revenues negatively.”

  7. 7
    Another Scott says:

    I’ve not read the FTFNYT story.

    Huber Heights previous claim to fame was “America’s largest community of brick homes”. It’s a huge, sprawling, subdivision that covers what used to be prime Ohio farmland just north of Dayton. Dayton was a huge factory town (GM, GM, GM, NCR, Chrysler, etc.), with strong unions and good wages and job security and good benefits for workers, that was decimated by the various problems with the car industry in the ’70s-’80s, and the collapse of the housing market bubble. Lots and lots of angry, people looking for people to blame (other than the MotU that have stolen all the wealth over the last 37+ years), and at least as much racism as any where else in the USA. But I’d be surprised if this Nazi bozo and his friends were more than a tiny minority even among the racists there.

    Understanding our fellow Americans is important. But lots and lots of things are important, among them stopping Donnie’s gutting of the AMT and corporate taxes and all the rest – which has an actual deadline coming up.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @Another Scott:

    which has an actual deadline coming up.

    Funding for the government runs out December 8th. So yeah, if tax cuts go on too long, shutdown gonna happen.

    ETA: what the duck is going on in Pakistan?
    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11.....24PMVODtop

  9. 9
    Felonius Monk says:

    Der New York Stormer (formely known as FTFNYT).

  10. 10
    Gustopher says:

    Do I really need to see Nazis as people? They don’t see me as people.

    I don’t want to kill them, just isolate them, and make it very clear that Nazis are not welcome anywhere decent human beings go.

  11. 11
    rikyrah says:

    The article is TRASH 😠

  12. 12
    Duane says:

    The Times reporter couldn’t grasp the “essense” of this guy? Two word summary: nazi idiot.
    That wasn’t hard.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: Basically a real time example of what would happen if the entire US government was controlled by people like Roy Moore.

  14. 14

    @Felonius Monk: Vichy Times seems to be the Internets’ preferred moniker. Either one is pretty accurate, though.

  15. 15
    Kent says:

    My grandfather, his brothers, and millions of their peers knew how to deal with Nazis.

    They set aside their lives, went over to Europe and ground them into the dust.
    Then they came back home, picked back up their lives, and never talked about it again.

  16. 16

    @rikyrah: Kind of wonder if that wasn’t “accidental done a’ purpose”.

    Things they didn’t bother with:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/magi_jay/status/934875769850998790

    and things they must have known but didn’t mention:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MattGertz/status/934976331259006978

    Whether or not their intent was to normalize this Nazi, there’s something very wrong at the NYT.

  17. 17
    B.B.A. says:

    Here’s a dark thought: There’s no such thing as normalizing Nazis because Nazis are normal. The history of humanity is one of killing our neighbors for the color of their skin, or the shape of their facial features, or the fact that they worship a slightly different god than we do. What’s extremely abnormal is living in relative peace with our neighbors who are different from us. We’ve had a decent run for the last *mumble* years but sadly, we seem to be reverting to the norm.

    I said it’d be dark.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:

    @Yutsano:

    Funding for the government runs out December 8th. So yeah, if tax cuts go on too long, shutdown gonna happen

    There are no tax cuts yet.

    But I guess Congress will try to deal with funding the government before they take up the tax bills.

  19. 19
    NotMax says:

    sometimes you gotta know when to kill a story.

    New NYT motto: “All the news that fits, we print.”

  20. 20
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    And if most of the public were like Roy Moore too. The demonstrators were pissed because they thought parliamentary bills didn’t show enough deference and acknowledgment to the Prophet Mohammad

  21. 21
    Arclite says:

    Patton Oswalt, FTW.

  22. 22
    Gretchen says:

    @Kent: my dad was with them.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @Yutsano

    Put up a couple of snippets and links last night with some info from native reporting.

  24. 24
    Aleta says:

    Parts of that 2nd article by Richard Faussett. Good god. Here’s your problem right here mister editor.

    I had hoped the answer would fall in my lap. Where was his Rosebud? I could feel the failure even as Mr. Hovater and I spoke on the phone.

    As he (spoke) I was thinking about an album and its brilliantly koanic title: “What Makes a Man Start Fires?”

    Sometimes a soul, and its shape, remain obscure to both writer and reader. I beat myself up about all of this for a while, until I decided that the unfilled hole would have to serve. What I had were quotidian details, though I’m not even sure what these add up to.

    But even if I had called Mr. Hovater yet again — even if we had discussed Blavatsky at length, the way we did his ideas about the Federal Reserve Bank — I’m not sure it would have answered the question.
    What makes a man start fires?

  25. 25
    ThresherK says:

    @Ghost of Joe Lieblings Dog: I like the idea that the Timesian went in cold and ignorant and got his ass whipped. Its the house style for interviewing any famous, big-time rightie since the propping up of Shrub started, c.1999. Why not use it for all stripes of the GOP?

  26. 26

    @Aleta:

    One of their smartest and best, according to the editor.

  27. 27
    Aleta says:

    @Ghost of Joe Lieblings Dog: said about the writer?

  28. 28
    Emma says:

    @Aleta: Gah. The Harlequin romance version of philosophic musings.

  29. 29

    @ThresherK:

    The second Twitter thread bugs me. The writer mentioned the podcast, and even quoted something bland from it. What was left out seems damning.

  30. 30
    some guy says:

    This is a newspaper where Anne Barnard is employed to rewrite press releases from the Hariri Press Office.

  31. 31

    @Aleta: Yep.

    “We assigned Richard Fausset, one of our smartest thinkers and best writers…”

    Awful phrasing aside, I’m not sure if it’s worse to doubt that or to believe it.

  32. 32
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    They should have just spiked the fucking story. The writer and the editors knew the tone was fucked up. The Times has a deep existential problem with “hark at the provincials!” stories and the intersection of one of those with a suburban Nazi story was not good. They should have spiked it and been happy that the best profile of the entire paper today was Rachel Syme’s gorgeous piece on Fiona the hippo. (Thank Choire for being in charge of Styles, and thank Rachel for being an excellent writer.)

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    There is nothing wrong with the NYT that the permanent banishment of most of its editorial staff from journalism to something more suited to their talents, such as being a pin person at a bowling alley, would not solve.

  34. 34
    TenguPhule says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t want to kill them, just isolate them, and make it very clear that Nazis are not welcome anywhere decent human beings go.

    Letting actual Nazis live was the mistake we and our allies made last time they tried to kill everyone that wasn’t them.

    Just saying.

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    There is nothing wrong with the NYT that the permanent banishment of most of its editorial staff from journalism to something more suited to their talents, such as being a pin person at a bowling alley, would not solve.

    Objection! What do you have against bowling alleys?

  36. 36
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: would or will?

  37. 37
    Cacti says:

    The banality of evil.

    Jim Bob is a deacon in his church, a local youth sports coach, and also believes that the Jews are stealing our oxygen and must be destroyed.

  38. 38
    Suzanne says:

    @Cacti: Deadspin called this kind of piece a “Cletus safari”. I like it. It works.

  39. 39
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    The fucking cowards edited out my favorite part of the story: The link to the $20 swastika armband.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Aleta:

    I think I see the writer’s mistake:

    Where was his Rosebud?

    There is no Rosebud. Citizen Kane was fiction. Horvater is a racist asshole who keeps getting empowered by his fellow racist assholes because he’s slightly more personable and articulate than they are.

    There is no founding incident that “made” Horvater this way. Horvater sets fires because our society makes excuses for him and lets him keep doing it, sometimes even in the pages of the New York Fucking Times.

  41. 41
    sacrablue says:

    @Another Scott: I lived in Huber Heights from 87-94. I’m not surprised in the least that white supremacists thrive there. Lots of transplants from Kentucky came to work in the car and truck plants. As the plants were shutting down the racial tension seemed to rise. The only favorable thing that I remember about New Carlisle/Crystal Lake was a pig farmer that sold fantastic sausage, bacon and ham. I think home values have declined since we lived there.

  42. 42
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    The Kochs are financing the takeover of Time Warner by Meredith.

    The good news is that now the Time Person of the Year will be Donald Trump for the rest of the century.

  43. 43
    Millard Filmore says:

    NoScript for Firefox 57 is out. It does not work for me, it puts Firefox into a tight busy loop.

  44. 44
    Mel says:

    @Mnemosyne: Absolutely. agree.

    I once worked with a student who was a diagnosed sociopath. This particular student came from a well-to-do family, dressed well, and was extremely articulate and academically able.

    The student ended up being referred for extra monitoring and counseling because of her “uneven behavior”: consistently productive, engaged, and seen as a positive contributor in some situations, but reliably intimidating and openly biased and bullying in other situations.

    She was very honest about what caused the disparities in her behavior from one classor activity to another. She said that she alwsys enjoyed instigating chaotic situations and then watching the fallout unfold, and that she felt that bullied students “deserved” terrible treatment, but that she would consciously refrain from the bahaviors that she enjoyed if the personal cost to her (suspension, grade docking, disciplinary notes that would be attached to her permanent file, loss of the chance for a reference letter from an instructor supervising her oracticums or internship, etc.) would be too high.It was not conscience that held her bahviors in check in some classes and locations; quite simply, she only controlled her inclinations if she knew that a group or faculty member would refuse to normalize and refuse to allow destructive behaviors.

    I think that what we’re seeing now is what you identified above, and what that particular student expressed: all of the assholes and sociopaths are now letting their true natures show b/c they now believe that there will be few to no consequences for their behaviors.

  45. 45
    Aleta says:

    About the Nazi NYT article, journalism-wise:

    * Matthew Gertz 
The best way to understand someone with a media platform is almost never to interview them. It’s to review their work.
    * 
There are aspects that can be teased out by a dogged interviewer with a deep knowledge of their work. But someone going in cold will be snowed every time.


    *

    * Adrian Carrasquillo‏
    @Carrasquillo
    * Some critics don’t want the piece written at all. But some critics like me believe a piece in this vein can be written but the degree of difficulty is so high and this piece failed in its execution. That should be addressed too.


    Parodies will be coming around by tomorrow.

  46. 46
    BellyCat says:

    @Mel: Yup…

  47. 47
    Darkrose says:

    @Ghost of Joe Lieblings Dog: The thread by @magi_jay you linked is brilliant. It makes me even angrier than I already was, though, at how badly the FNYT failed at journalism.

  48. 48
    ZyklonBeaArthur says:

    Hey, longtime lurker first-time poster—I ended up here via stalking Davis X. Machina. Someone sent me his famous sparrows and curtain rods parable and I stumbled onto the BJ while looking for his recent commentary.

    I saw something on a right-wing site the other day I can’t stop thinking about—the writer claimed the MSM was pushing the Russiagate narrative because they’re being paid to do so.

    Obviously that’s insane, but it got me thinking; with Republicans it’s ALWAYS projection. Do you think the NYT et al are being literally paid off to normalize fascism and push the oligarch’s agenda?

    I know I sound paranoid but anyone who’s paying attention knows there’s nothing those people won’t stoop to stick it to the libs.

    Now I’m off to polish my best foil hat and recheck beneath my bed for serial killers and Russian operatives.

  49. 49
    Aleta says:

    @Mnemosyne: Fucking writer is writing the fucking piece about himfuckingself. Watching himself in the mirror go forth on his impossible quest, trying to pull a sword out of that nazi’s stone or something. Brave sir Robin. If the NYT editor isn’t lying about their back and forth about the piece, it means the NYT wasn’t even asking for journalism.

    To protect him, the NYT explains that he was going all over the place covering serious stories at the same time he was working on this one. Well, he wasn’t the right writer to assign to it then. Unless, again, they were after a puff piece.

    They chose him, I suppose, because he has the “Southern beat” and has done stories about Charlottesville and “the women of Alabama” and Moore. Except this isn’t a story for the women’s pages, and the “Southern beat” isn’t the container for racism, the kkk and white supremacists.

    As is pretty well shown by his lack of research perspective on who to call for context. Instead of the NAACP, SPLC or JJMcNab, he turns to Orson Welles and a song he liked as a teenager and the mysteriousness of life and all.

  50. 50
    BellyCat says:

    The only difference between a racist and a Nazi is their comfort level in public expression of their genuine feelings.

    We can thank the Republicans for their decades long effort to help so many closeted people come out and become their true selves.

    Tearing down Trump & Co (an almost inevitable outcome at this point) will be like a crucifixion of their Messiah and his apostles, and their reaction will not be rational. They will not slink back into the darkness quietly now that they have found so many new brothers and sisters.

  51. 51
    PPCLI says:

    @Brachiator: and we should stop referring to “tax cuts”. For most people this bill will increase their taxes. So all of us must get used to referring to the Trump-Republican Tax Increase. Over and over again. Republicans understand how crucial this kind of messaging is, we have to learn from that.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    mike in dc says:

    What’s the point in demanding accountability if they refuse to learn the right lessons? Nobody wants “a day in the life of a ho-hum American Nazi” or “Trump voters still loyal in spite of broken promises” articles. Except for the editors who keep fucking commissioning this shit. How about “For victims of white supremacists, Trump is a slap in the face” or “In the era of Trump, Clinton voters find new purpose in resistance”? We already know about the banality of evil and the power of tribalism(and racism).

  54. 54
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gee… Seems like somebody is missing from this list: Al Franken, Charlie Rose and more: high-profile people recently implicated in allegations of sexual misconduct

    His name is right on the tip of my tongue….

  55. 55
    different-church-lady says:

    the nyt reporter who profiled the ohio nazi basically confesses he didn’t get much. and that the intvws didn’t connect any dots for him.

    NAZIS IN 21ST CENTURY AMERICA ARE AWFUL, EVIL, BRAIN DAMAGED PEOPLE. WHAT FUCKING DOTS ARE IN NEED OF CONNECTION FOR THESE DIPSHITS?!?

  56. 56
    different-church-lady says:

    “You provide the prose poems Nazi profiles, I’ll provide the war holocaust”

  57. 57
    cmorenc says:

    @NotMax:

    New NYT motto: “All the news that fits, we print.”

    Not quite right. Here, fixed for ya:
    “All the news that gives you fits in print”.

  58. 58
    Citizen_X says:

    @Aleta:

    As he (spoke) I was thinking about an album and its brilliantly koanic title: “What Makes a Man Start Fires?”

    Sometimes a soul, and its shape, remain obscure to both writer and reader.

    Ooh, how poetic. Apparently, this asshole didn’t learn anything from that album. D. Boone and the Minutemen were pretty explicit in their hate for Nazis and racists.

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    the nyt reporter who profiled the ohio nazi basically confesses he didn’t get much. and that the intvws didn’t connect any dots for him

    Of course he didn’t. There’s nothing to figure out. What you see is absolutely what you get. This kind of curiosity was probably forgivable in the 1920s/1930s when the fascist phenomenon was first emerging, but nowadays it’s not like we don’t know what a Nazi is.

    To quote John Rogers: “The single, unpleasant truth is that most people, particularly criminals, are NOT complex. They are shallow, greedy sons of bitches to whom we attribute genius planning or complex motivations in order to preserve a false sense of order in our universe.” In context, he was talking about the type of zillionaires that he wrote about on Leverage. But it applies just as much to neo-Nazis.

  60. 60
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Rudolf Höss, the commander at Auschwitz was supposed to be a model father. What’s the NYT point?

  61. 61
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Ach, Scheissdreck – I guess Herrenvölkischer Beobachter is too obscure, too long & has that nasty umlaut embedded…Could use HVBO as an acronym but then no one would know what it meant…

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @B.B.A.:

    Here’s a dark thought: There’s no such thing as normalizing Nazis because Nazis are normal. The history of humanity is one of killing our neighbors for the color of their skin, or the shape of their facial features, or the fact that they worship a slightly different god than we do. What’s extremely abnormal is living in relative peace with our neighbors who are different from us. We’ve had a decent run for the last *mumble* years but sadly, we seem to be reverting to the norm.

    To take this a little further: the problem with fascists is also that within the context of their society, they’re also pretty much normal. Fascism grows within a society because it embraces all that society’s prejudices, which is why it looks bizarro from the outside but makes sense to a lot of people when it’s in their country (a European fascism that’s anti-Slavic and anti-Gypsy is probably just going to raise puzzled eyebrows in America, but if you say “it’s about blacks, Mexicans, and Muslims,” then they’ll get it just fine). It’s difficult to fascism-proof a society considering that the “our society is greater than everybody else, the problem is outsiders and tribe-traitors, and we gotta kill ’em all” ethos can grow pretty much everywhere.

  63. 63
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @ZyklonBeaArthur:

    I ended up here via stalking Davis X. Machina

    Smart move–he’s brilliant and insightful.

    I saw something on a right-wing site the other day I can’t stop thinking about—the writer claimed the MSM was pushing the Russiagate narrative because they’re being paid to do so.

    Obviously that’s insane

    It was insane, but sadly it’s now plausible. Can the USA survive republicanism?

  64. 64
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mel:

    I once worked with a student who was a diagnosed sociopath. This particular student came from a well-to-do family, dressed well, and was extremely articulate and academically able.

    This accurately describes a good number of lawyers and politicians I know, and almost all the Wall Street bankers I know.

    I think that what we’re seeing now is what you identified above, and what that particular student expressed: all of the assholes and sociopaths are now letting their true natures show b/c they now believe that there will be few to no consequences for their behaviors.

    Re: Wall Street, this started with Reagan and got out of control in the last decade. Re: politics, maybe started with Newt Gingrich?

  65. 65
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Letting actual Nazis live was the mistake we and our allies made last time they tried to kill everyone that wasn’t them.

    Same with Confederates, eh?

  66. 66
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    @ZyklonBeaArthur: One of my favorite all-time quotes. H/t to Davis, I probably use that one at least once every couple weeks. Welcome to our little whatever-this-is here.

  67. 67
    No Drought No More says:

    NY Times: “What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them.”

    It’s appalling the Times doesn’t realize the people they’re describing are the 2017 republican party operatives in congress, the courts, and the executive branch. It beats the hell out of me why the paper, albeit in honest fashion, appears to believe the extreme corners of American life exist somewhere “out there”, rather than in the corridors of real power in Washington D.C.

    I certainly hope the paper is indeed being honest, albeit incredibly stupid. Because if the Times is being disingenuous, the Times is a lost cause.

  68. 68
    Dice says:

    Current Fashions in Mainstream Journalism: The Bubba Safari.

    Drunkard’s puke masquerading as reportage.

  69. 69
    J R in WV says:

    @ZyklonBeaArthur:

    Well, the NY Times HAS been boosting Nazis and fascists since Herr Hitler and Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, first appeared on the scene in Europe. I’m pretty sure The USSR wasn’t paying them at that time, although European wealth may have been directed towards that purpose.

    And really, looking at history on the long term, most European wealth survived the wars quite well. Krupp is still Krupp, and IG Farben is now Agfa, Bayer, etc. Switzerland is still Switzerland, too.

    But today Russia is no longer even pretending to be socialist, instead now a Capitalist Oligarchy to an unregulated extreme. Russia is ruled by its mobsters who own the tools of production. Why wouldn’t they combine with the owners of tools of production everywhere who oppose regulation and controls and are willing to fight democracy as a limit on their power and wealth? Of course here I speak of the Kochs, Mercers and their ilk.

    When I first became aware of the realities of news media, as opposed to growing up in a small town newsroom and printing company, I actually believed the NY Times and the Washington Post were the pinnacle of the Fourth Estate, empowered by the First Amendment to shed light on the facts that should bend the other three estates of our government (legislative, executive, judiciary) toward truth and justice and freedom.

    Now, 50 years later, the N Y Times has become more obviously opposed to the Democratic party and an obvious supporter of authoritarianism. The Post, since being purchased by Jeff Bezos, has much to my surprise become a supporter of actual democracy. Here’s hoping we can still wonder at these twists and turns in another couple of decades, after which time I will probably no longer wonder about anything.

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