[A]s a public political matter, at least until the Trump campaign, anti-Semitism was largely and increasingly marginalized on the mainstream conservative right. This was in significant part due to the efforts of the late William F. Buckley, who throughout his career made an effort to rid conservatism of its anti-Semitic fringe, including such former allies as Patrick Buchanan and Joseph Sobran.[Ben Shapiro discovers right-wing anti-Semitism, by David Bernstein, Washington Post, May 19, 2016]Let’s accept for the sake of argument Buchanan and Sobran were evil anti-Semites who Buckley successfully purged. (For the record: they were not). But they were undoubtedly major figures at the time. Buchanan was (and is) one of the best-known conservative commentators and a leading candidate for the Republican nomination after Buckley turned on him. Sobran, who died in 2010, was one of the most popular conservative columnists at National Review.In contrast, having run out of even marginally prominent wrong-thinkers, the MSM is now demanding Donald Trump disavow a list of anonymous Twitter supporters. It seems Trump cannot be President unless he personally issues a fiery condemnation of “Jared Taylor Swift,” and “Jazzhands McFeels.”While the MSM has always whined about Trump’s Twitter supporters, the campaign intensified after Jewish reporter Julia Ioffe wrote a tabloid style hit piece on Melania Trump. [Melania Trump on her rise, her family secrets, and her true political views, GQ, April 27, 2016] While Ioffe poses as a serious journalist, she dug up stories about Melania’s father’s first marriage and speculated about whether she had plastic surgery.Melania Trump spoke out against the story and many Trump fans responded with insults, including photoshopping Ioffe’s face onto an image of a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, with the caption “Julia Ioffe at Camp Trump.” Ioffe complained about this abuse and dozens of her journalist friends wrung their hands about this terrible slight.When DuJour magazine asked Melania Trump about it, she responded, “I don’t control my fans, but I don’t agree with what they’re doing. I understand what you mean, but there are people out there who maybe went too far. She provoked them”. [Melania Trump: Writer of GQ profile ‘provoked’ vile, anti-Semitic attackers, by Erik Wemple, Washington Post, May 17, 2016]Jane Eisner, editor and chief of the Jewish newspaper Forward, embodied the conventional response,Black Twitter accounts called the author a honky or joked about wanting Robert Mugabe to kill them. Would anyone demand that Michelle Obama is in anyway responsible for these anonymous Twitter accounts and needs to apologize to the journalist who smeared her?However, because Melania is an attractive white woman married to Donald Trump and Ioffe is a Left-wing Jewish journalist, the Narrative is already set. We know who is Oppressor and who is Victim.Jonathan Weissman, Deputy Washington Editor for The New York Times and supposedly responsible for creating unbiased news rather than editorializing, responded with tweets like:expose the anti-Semitism that “Generations of American Jews did not believe… still existed till now.”This begs an obvious question. If Jews didn’t believe there was such anti-Semitism for generations, how did the ADL and its various clones manage to stay in business during the interim between the Third Reich and Donald Trump’s campaign?Despite his explicitly encouraging trolls to tweet at him, dozens more articles appeared about the pain this poor journalist went through. We were also treated to his musings about “antisemitism in the Trump voter ranks,” and that these Tweeters could hurt Trump at the polls. Eventually the Republican Jewish Committee issued a statement denouncing anti-Semitic tweeters, but journalists are still annoyed the RJC “didn't single out the presumptive presidential nominee from its own party but rather included him — last — on a list of all three active, major-party candidates, as if the offenders are spread evenly among the campaigns” [Republican Jewish group stands up for journalists facing anti-Semitism, but journalists say it missed the point, by Callum Borchers, Washington Post, May 24, 2016].How is random trash talk on Twitter, something literally everyone deals with, suddenly so important?In January, MSNBC host Chris Hayes suggested that Donald Trump was taking a page from the late Sam Francis’s playbook and that ethno-nationalism, not conservative bromides, motivated the GOP base. Rubio consultant Rick Wilson dismissed this as “absurd,” famously dismissing the Alt Right on MSNBC as “childless single men who masturbate to anime” with “Hitler iconography in their Twitter icons. They’re not real political players. These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity.”[MSNBC Guest: Trump’s ‘Alt-Right’ Fans ‘Childless Single Men Who Masturbate to Anime’, by Josh Feldman, Mediaite, January 19, 2016].Now, these supposedly powerless trolls are apparently the bulk of Donald Trump’s supporters and incredibly powerful. This new Narrative is not just coming from the Left, but from anti-Trump cuckservatives.Red State’s Ben Howe recently insisted
After leaving Breitbart to write for National Review, Ben Shapiro suggested Melania’s statement about Ioffe was meant to appeal to “Trump’s anti-Semitic base”. [Donald Trump's Anti-Semitic Supporters, National Review, May 18, 2016]The truth is that no one knows how indicative a few hundred “shitposters” are on Twitter are of the larger movement. In the end, this may not matter, as perception becomes reality. One’s reminded of how Robert Baden-Powell successfully defended Mafeking during the Second Boer War by tricking the Boers into believing his army and arsenal was much larger than it was.It’s great to feel like you are part of some powerful online army constantly on the attack. Yet this perception, true or not, can have a downside. As I previously noted, the anonymity of Twitter can encourage vulgarity. While I feel little sympathy for the drama queen journalists pretending they fear for their safety because someone tweets a Holocaust joke, this type of behavior is counter-productive. At best, it forced the media to pay attention to the Alt Right, but that mission has already been accomplished.Should we condemn it? Of course not. The leaders of the Alt Right, to the extent such “leaders” exist, have no more power or responsibility over trolls and shitposters than does Donald Trump. It is pointless to waste our time or breath denouncing or trying to silence the more provocative amongst our ranks. But as the movement grows beyond anonymous Twitter and 4chan accounts, it matters more that it strikes the right balance between memes and the obscene.Not that the MSM is going to treat us fairly either way.Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.
I don't believe the online Trumpkins are that different than the rally attending Trumpkins despite pushback that Twitter "isn't real life."— Ben (@BenHowe) May 23, 2016