An article in the Philadelphia Daily News last Friday, picked up from the Scranton Times-Tribune, contained a term you don’t hear too often: “white people’s rights group.”
It seemed an odd way to describe the European American Action Coalition, run by prominent neo-Nazi Steve Smith — whom the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) instead describes as “a longtime racist activist with a history of violence and top-level ties to numerous white nationalist hate groups.”
SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok says the newspapers — and the Associated Press, which picked up the story — should have known the difference. “A simple Google search would have made this plain to anyone who took five minutes to look.”
A Google search would have also quickly uncovered a photo of Smith, head shaven, standing before a framed portrait of Hitler.
No one seemed to want to take responsibility for the story, about a dispute between the EAAC and the borough of Moosic, Pa., over an event permit. “I suggest you call AP and the Scranton Times-Tribune,” said Daily News city editor Gar Joseph. The Times-Tribune did not respond to a request for comment. An AP editor claimed its version was scrubbed of the language, but several newspapers have posted a version of the article describing EAAC as a “white-rights group” attributed to AP. So far, no one has issued a correction.
The mainstream media has long bent over backward to provide false balance between left and right, even when the right is plain wrong. The same vapid courtesy may now, it seems, be extended to brazen white supremacists.