August 20, 2019

ADL, Wiesenthal Center Slam CNN for Giving White Nationalist Leader a Platform

Photo from Good Free Photos.

Staff members of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center are among those criticizing CNN for giving avowed white nationalist Richard Spencer a platform on July 16.

CNN’s Sara Sidner asked Spencer for his reaction to President Donald Trump’s July 14 tweets telling four Democratic congresswoman to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.” Spencer said the tweets were “red meat” for white nationalists but he called such tweets “meaningless and cheap.”

ADL Center on Extremism Director Oren Segal tweeted that he was “alarmed” to see that CNN gave Spencer a platform.

ADL Center on Extremism Research Fellow Mark Pitcavage replied to Segal in a tweet that stated, “Giving an extremist a media platform gives them unearned legitimacy. A white supremacist may be racist but that does not mean they are an expert on racism or a suitable person to put on air when issues related to racism arise.”

Similarly, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal in a statement, “Media’s role with talking head professional racists and bigots is to expose their hate, not provide a platform for their extremist agenda in the mainstream of our political and media culture. What was CNN thinking?”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper explained on Twitter that Sidner “covers racists and white supremacists for us (among other subjects) and does a great job. She did a taped package for cnn about the reaction of white supremacists to the president’s tweets.”

CNN did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

The ADL has described Spencer as “the most recognizable public face of the alt right, a loose network of people who promote white identity and reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.” Spencer has openly advocated for a white ethno-state.