Thursday, July 15, 2021


Yesterday, Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo published a story titled "The Deeply Racist Dimensions To Ashli Babbitt’s Martyrdom." It reports that right-wingers, who have been demanding that officials publicly identify the Capitol Police officer who killed Babbitt during the January 6 riot, "think they already know" who the officer is. "He happens to be a black man."

When this piece appeared, a couple of people congratulated me on Twitter because I had the story last week. Kovensky's report is more detailed than mine. He quotes podcast commentary by Dinesh D'Souza and talk on several high-profile Telegram channels, including one run by Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys. Kovensky paints a much fuller picture than I did of how far this story has spread.

But the alleged unmasking of the cop's identity hasn't been a secret. I discovered it from a Gateway Pundit post, and I found a post at an obscure site published in April that included the name and photographs of the alleged shooter.

Before that April post turned up in a Google search, I'd never heard of the site where it appears, Non Veni Pacem. But Gateway Pundit isn't obscure. The Web traffic company SimilarWeb found that Gateway Pundit had 309.8 million visits in 2020. This may not be literally true, but it's close to the truth:

What right-wingers really believe isn't hard to find, but most reporters don't look. The mainstream press is particularly bad. There are a few mainstream reporters who specialize in QAnon and conspiratorialism, and who spend their days in the corners of the Internet where those matters are discussed. Media Matters tracks right-wing radio and cable news, as do a few other journalists. But the average mainstream reporter doesn't even know what's being discussed day to day at Gateway Pundit and Breitbart and the Epoch Times, or on the Rush Limbaugh-wannabe radio shows that still dominate the airwaves in much of America. So not only are manstream journalists surprised when an issue or scandal (or fake scandal) bubbles up from the right seemingly out of nowhere, or when an extreme belief manifests itself, they continue to assume that the well-behaved, sober-sounding members of Congress who appear on Sunday morning talk shows are representative of the Republican Party and conservatism.

I'm just a part-time amateur blogger. I'm working in a medium that hasn't been relevant for more than a decade. But I've known from the beginning that the core of conservatism could be found at Free Republic, not at National Review.

The extremism of the American right is one of the most important stories of our time, and it's still not being reported in sufficient detail. Right-wingers tell us who they are every day. We need to pay attention to what they're saying.

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