Remember Pepe the Frog, 4chan, and the dark web of the alt-right? Before one of their crowd killed a woman in Charlottesville a year ago by, terrorist-like, ramming his car into protesters, they claimed their racist Internet memes were “jokes” and “satire” in response to the Left weaponizing race and the Holocaust into untouchable topics. They were just “trolling” to break political correctness. They had to be extreme to shock people out of their stupor.
Because leftist accusations of racism have gotten so unhinged from reality, plenty of anti-racist right-wingers like CRTV’s Gavin McInnes and his Proud Boys were willing to brook these arguments until Charlottesville. Internet sensation Jordan Peterson was even photographed with people holding a Pepe the Frog flag and has held conversations about “kek boys,” which has come back to haunt him during media interviews despite his unwavering public opposition to racism.
That has been completely unacceptable to the Left, and all its media entities. Pepe has been branded a racist symbol, and the alt-right entirely and unquestionably labeled a racist affiliation. A New York Times editor wrote an entire book about how alt-right “trolling” constitutes racism, plain and simple. New York Times reporting firmly defined alt-right “jokes” and “satire” as “white supremacist memes” that merely extend the practices of “old-school bigots.” It all led to Pepe’s creator symbolically putting the character to death last year.
They absolutely would not put up with the alt-right’s defense of images showing Jews shot and being shoveled into ovens, or using the n-word, or Klu Klux Klan hoods, as “jokes.” Regardless of the supposed provocation or intent, the Anti-Defamation League’s symbol guide says, “if the meme itself is racist or anti-Semitic in nature, or if it appears in a context containing bigoted or offensive language or symbols, then it may have been used for hateful purposes.”
Racist content is racist content, and deserves public censure. All well and good. Except, apparently, when hiring members of The New York Times‘ editorial board. The “paper of record,” which has been seeing record subscription numbers fueled by the Donald Trump resistance movement that sprang up after the election, on Monday announced it had hired a new editorial reporter with a long history of writing racist tweets.
For example, Sarah Jeong wrote the following: “White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along.” “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” “Dumb-ss f-cking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs p-ssing on fire hydrants” (vulgarities altered).
When the paper faced a storm of criticism for hiring Jeong, this is how it responded today:
Our statement in response to criticism of the hiring of Sarah Jeong. pic.twitter.com/WryIgbaoqg
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) August 2, 2018
Jeong released this statement:
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) August 2, 2018
Notice how clearly both rationalizations for racism echo alt-right apologists: “She responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers,” The New York Times writes. “I engaged in what I thought of at the time as counter-trolling,” Jeong writes. “While it was intended as satire, I deeply regret that I mimicked the language of my harassers.”
Put the shoe on the alt-right foot, and it fits perfectly. “We were just imitating the rhetoric of people who called us racists by actually being racists.” “We were just counter-trolling.” “Our racism was intended as satire.”
The New York Times appears to have hired Jeong knowing that she had publicly written these sorts of vile things about people of a certain race many times — their statement mentions “candid conversations” through a “thorough vetting process.” This makes it perfectly clear that the Times promotes not only a double standard, but a double standard in which people on one side are likened to Nazis and Hitler, but people on the other, doing the precisely same things but aimed at a PC-disapproved group instead of a PC-favored one, receive positions of high cultural leadership and prominence.
If it wishes to be consistent, The New York Times owes President Trump, Jordan Peterson, and the alt-right an apology for labeling them racists for doing the precise same thing The New York Times did this week.
But she’s not responding to anyone or imitating them. pic.twitter.com/fP9E1wDT81
— J.R. Salzman (@jrsalzman) August 2, 2018
No. Just no. Every journalist on twitter gets harassed. Had a conservative counter-trolled with blatant racism they would never work again. Period. https://t.co/esbZWIglTW
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) August 2, 2018
“But at the same time, the sardonic sheen that coats everything oozing from internet subcultures helps provide cover for white supremacists,” a New York Times article on alt-right memes said in 2016. “True bigotry is often excused as nothing more than crude humor or nihilistic trolling…To them, it’s humor. To everyone else, it’s hate.”
And to The New York Times, it’s apparently a job qualification.