Liberal media mouthpiece Newsweek was apologizing after publishing a piece gloating about the videotaped attack of a white nationalist during an interview in Washington, D.C.
According to The Daily Caller, the story was called “The Infinite Joy Of Watching A Nazi Get Punched To Music.” It involved a series of memes devoted to footage of infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer being sucker-punched by an anarchist protester during an interview in the nation’s capital last week. The piece, as the title implied, featured Spencer’s attack being set to music.
“On a day when many Americans were despairing over what they see as the transition of power to a fascist demagogue, it was a small moment of reprieve. It was possibly the first entertaining day on the internet since the election,” Newsweek culture editor Joe Veix wrote, according to AOL.
It didn’t take long for the magazine to realize this might not go over as well as they thought, and they promptly retracted the story and apologized — sort of — for it.
Newsweek has retracted a story about a meme related to the assault of Richard Spencer, published on Jan. 24.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 24, 2017
The story did not meet the ethics and standards of Newsweek. We regret its publication.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 24, 2017
Now, before we embark on this rhetorical journey, let’s be clear: Richard Spencer is a ghastly racist moron. He’s an admitted white nationalist who’s been caught on camera giving the Nazi salute and who loves to troll the media with his bigoted, inchoate, collectivist ideology. If anyone who has not committed a criminal act could be construed to deserve punching in the face without provocation, Richard Spencer would be that individual.
The thing is that we live in a civil society where people do not deserve a punch in the face simply for their opinions, nor should they endure any kind of assault on their life, liberty or possessions simply because they believe something appalling.
Any media outlet that fails to recognize this has slipped into a thuggish moral vacuum of their own making.
Let me also for a second bring back the curtain on how the media works. Conservative Tribune is a small operation that obviously don’t employ nearly as many people as Newsweek. Yet every story, with very few exceptions, passes through the hands of two writers and at least one editor, and often more than one. At every level of the process, the headline, the text and the tone of the story are always being shaped, and if any of us has any qualms about any aspect of it, we pull the plug and we work to make sure it meets our standards.
In other words, not only was Newsweek’s story written by an editor (who probably should have known if his magazine frowned upon articles celebrating people getting decked), but it likely had to pass through a few hands before it went live.
Was it that Veix was completely unaware of his company’s own standards? Or, did he know those standards but thought they didn’t matter because nobody likes the guy or his opinions?
If it was the latter, Veix is no different than any of the individuals we saw busting out windows and torching cars in Washington D.C., who thought that this sort of thing was okay because things hadn’t worked out the way they had wanted.
I don’t know anybody who likes Richard Spencer save for Richard Spencer, and even then I’m pretty convinced there’s a bit of self-loathing involved. However, a major publication celebrating an assault on him is a reprehensible, bullying act, and one that deserves a bit more than a quiet retraction.
Newsweek ought to apologize — not to Spencer, but for diminishing our First Amendment rights by suggesting that some opinions actually merit physical assault.
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