Bannon's philosophy is that as his alternative conservative movement grows - the racists and antisemites will become marginalized. This is dangerously shortsighted. Antisemitism and racism do not disappear in situations like this - on the contrary, they feel empowered as long as the larger movement winks at them with a lukewarm denunciation instead of loudly, clearly and specifically repudiating them.
Here is the climax of alt-right leader Richard Spencer's speech on Saturday night in Washington, a chilling moment where after extolling the greatness of whites and the regressiveness of everyone else, and calling for a race war, he ends with "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!" to cheers and Nazi salutes.
Contrary to how the New York Times reported it, there was little overt antisemitism in the speech, but there were certainly at least two sly asides about Jews. At one point Spencer sarcastically mentioned "a wealthy Jewish celebrity bragging about the end of white men is the one speaking truth to power." He also quoted Herzl, saying "if we will it, it is no dream," adding "a quote I'm sure our friends at the Anti-Defamation League know quite well."
The events of the past few months leaves little doubt as to the antisemitism of the alt-right movement, even if it was slightly muted in Spencer's speech.
This movement is not being marginalized by Trump's victory - it is being empowered. And this is not something that can be tolerated any longer. If we are to demand that the Left explicitly condemn antisemitism from its members and distance themselves from the terror-supporters, racists and Jew-haters that espouse the Palestinian cause, we can demand no less from the Right.
It must be said that the media does no one any favors by misquoting his words which are bad enough already. On CNN, for two minutes, a banner was displayed that claimed that Spencer said that he doubts whether Jews are people altogether.
This infuriated Jake Tapper, who normally hosts that show. But while it is indeed outrageous that CNN would show that banner for so long, it is not accurate - Spencer was referring to leftists and pundits in the media, not to Jews. The idiots at CNN misread the New York Times report about the speech:
He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning.The rest of the quote was "...animated by some dark power to repeat whatever talking point John Oliver stated the night before."
“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.
It doesn't help anyone when the media confirms the rantings of a racist against the media itself by misquoting him. Spencer is bad enough already. While the racists at the conference may feel emboldened by Trump and Bannon, they are also animated by CNN and the New York Times doing exactly what they did in reporting about the speech.
The best antidote to hate is truth. Unfortunately, there is too little of that going around.