If it wasn’t already blatantly obvious, Democrats and mainstream media reporters (but I repeat myself) are hoping for conflict and bloodshed at tomorrow’s Lobby Day in Richmond. As Elizabeth Vaughn covered, one pro-2A Virginia State Senator warned, “We are being set up
Elected officials from Gov. Ralph (“Blackface”) Northam on down and their friends in the media are working around the clock to label Lobby Day as a “white nationalist” rally and make gun owners and white nationalists synonymous in the eyes of the public. There have been arrests of alleged white nationalists who purportedly had plans to travel to Richmond on Monday and commit violent acts, but the men arrested were not Virginians; they seemed to be using the media hubbub to rev up their hatred and use Lobby Day as an outlet.
Those who wish for a safe, peaceful day of protest and an end to divisive politics and rhetoric in our country aren’t helped by one Ben Collins of NBC News, who clutched his pearls as he tweeted this thread:
Reporters covering tomorrow's white nationalist rally in Virginia, I'm absolutely begging you:
Verify information before you send it out tomorrow, even if it's a very sensational rumor you heard from a cop.
Don't become a hero in neo-Nazi propaganda circles with made-up stuff.
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) January 19, 2020
“Reporters covering tomorrow’s white nationalist rally in Virginia, I’m absolutely begging you: Verify information before you send it out tomorrow, even if it’s a very sensational rumor you heard from a cop. Don’t become a hero in neo-Nazi propaganda circles with made-up stuff.
“It may sound like an incredible story that the person wearing a swastika was actually an Antifa supersoldier in disguise, but guess what?
“That’s a known propaganda technique from white nationalists that occurs at almost every single neo-Nazi to absolve them violent behavior.
“I’m bottom-of-my-heart pleading: Just verify stuff the way you usually do at tomorrow’s Virginia rally.
“You’re in the physical embodiment of 4chan.
“If you hear a spectacular rumor from anyone, including law enforcement or a really well-dressed dude in a suit, be skeptical.”
Let’s break down Ben’s unhelpful propaganda.
First, he labels it a “white nationalist” rally. Someone who wasn’t seeking to fan the flames would call the rally by its proper name.
Then, he perpetuates a rumor that there’s “a known propaganda technique from white nationalists” to tell journalists that “the person wearing a swastika was actually an Antifa supersoldier in disguise…to absolve them [of] violent behavior.” Oh really? I’m pretty sure the people who threw a concrete milkshake at Andy Ngo weren’t Antifa supersoldiers wearing a swastika. They were just Antifa hoodlums. Name one instance where the scenario you outlined happened, Ben. A verified instance. You know, since you’re big on making sure information is verified before it’s sent out.
Finally, he calls Lobby Day “the physical embodiment of 4chan.”
In follow-up tweets, Collins posts links to the stories about a handful of white nationalists being arrested prior to the rally. He says that 4chan and Reddit are full of white nationalists making plans and we should all know this. Assuming that’s true, Ben Collins, perhaps your sleuthy investigative reporting could be helpful in bringing sunshine to these evil plans and perhaps helping thwart them? As you told Stephen Gutkowski, since you “mean well” you could do your part in not associating white nationalists with the Virginian gun owners who lobby their government (taking advantage of the awesome First Amendment) every year on the same weekend?
That would be the responsible, unbiased, journalistic thing to do.