Actual CNN headline: “A kinder, gentler Ku Klux Klan? ‘We do not hate anyone,’ imperial wizard says”

“Objectivity” in journalism has been redefined to mean that every idea spouted by someone with a publicist deserves equal weight, regardless of whether it’s a bold faced lie. At least that’s the only conclusion I can come to when I see CNN writing about the nice, friendly, environmentalist organization known as the KKK.

“We’re not racists,” [April] Chambers, [secretary of the North Georgia chapter of the Ku Klux Klan] told CNN Monday. “We just want to be with white people.”

The North Georgia KKK was trying to adopt a highway. Which isn’t even a veiled attempt to win positive publicity – it’s completely unsubtle and obvious. But apparently that’s enough for CNN to publish an article that serves as free PR for the KKK. (I’m not linking to the article. I don’t want to help CNN’s web stats for advertising for the Klan.) Shockingly, a Georgia official has said the hate group will not get to adopt a highway.

Yeah, CNN throws in a couple inches of alternative perspective, you know, for “balance”:

“These groups are interested in the press they know they are going to get off this – it doesn’t have anything to do with improving the world,” said Mark Potok, editor in chief of the Intelligence Report, which tracks hate groups and extremists for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Which is why you don’t fucking publish the article. Except I guess “objectivity” now means exercising zero editorial judgement to notice when you’re being played by bigots.

The KKK is a hate group. Do I really need to say that? Does it really just take members of the Klan saying “We’re not racist!” for us to accept that they’re all hugs and puppies now? Even though they all manage to make creepy statements about looking out for white interests and sticking with white people immediately after? Have we forgotten there’s a racist hierarchy in this country, and that the Klan are some of the worst, most violent defenders of that system? Really?

You can tweet @CNN or email to let them know free advertising for a racist hate group is not news.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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Join the Conversation

  • toongrrl

    I tweeted!
    Short and simple, but says it all

  • Kait Mauro

    Absolutely disgusting.

  • Brian Flowers

    I don’t get it. The Klan isn’t going to just disappear — as much as you’d like it to, that’s not going to happen. Which means we have two options — either force it to disband, or redirect it to actual positive efforts. And forcing it to disband is not a legitimate option either — as much as you hate what they say, they do have every right to say it. You can’t fight oppression with more oppression.

    So, they want to adopt a highway. Maybe it’s just for publicity. Maybe not. Point is, it’s actually a GOOD THING. I’d much rather have them spending a few hours cleaning up a highway than burning crosses or preaching hate or whatever the hell they do these days. Maybe it’s just for publicity — but that’s EXACTLY THE POINT! Isn’t that EXACTLY what we want??? The negative publicity is FORCING them to start acting more positively! It’s not like they’re looking for a forum to preach from. Let them go out and do something good for the community. Then when they need more good publicity, they’ll have to start looking for something else.

    Ever do ANY human rights work? Publicity is entirely how a lot of those organizations operate. Look at Amnesty International. The entire strategy for stopping human rights abuses is to make them public and highly visible, so that the bad publicity will force the oppressor to change their actions. And it works. Preventing the Klan from doing things like this is preventing the organization from reforming! I understand that, particularly given their history, you’d rather just have them disappear. I would too. But if they won’t go away — or even until they go away — we might as well let them actually do some good.

    On an unrelated note — your website crashed my browser (Firefox 13) three times while trying to create an account and post, and it’s saying the avatar directory isn’t writable by the server. You should probably look into that.

  • Brittany

    I would think CNN would understand how “publicity” works.

    I know it’s bad, but I have to laugh at this. The Ku Klux Klan is saying “We’re not racists! We just like white people, and have issues with non-white people!” and a news outlet is seriously going “Yeah, okay.”

  • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    “We don’t hate anyone we just want to be with white people” – is she being satirical? (I already know the answer to that.)

  • Brüno

    Blacks dont get to wear the white ghost costume? I am sure they are very sad now.