Face Off: New York Times fluff profile contributes to normalization of Neo-Nazis


Hover claims that the events in Charlottesville made him “proud” that the white nationalist movement is growing.

Oh, if only there was a break from the endless barrage of centrist bull that media outlets keep spewing. Yes, it’s hard to learn, understand and practice leftist points of view, and everyone makes mistakes every now and then but running a fluffy profile on an actual neo-Nazi is a pretty obvious mistake.

While I understand the New York Times piece “Neo-Nazi next door” can be seen as charming or quaint, it’s still about someone who, according to the article, makes “casually approving remarks about Hitler.” Casual Neo-Nazism obviously isn’t the same as regular Neo-Nazism, so that makes it O.K..

If the piece were written about literally anyone else who doesn’t “spread the gospel of white nationalism” or think that races should be separate, I might even enjoy it. The fact of the matter is, the NYT’s profile on Tony Hovater shouldn’t have been published in the first place, let alone pitched to the author. The piece itself manages to do two things: victimize Neo-Nazis and normalize them.

The language used in the article, specifically towards the beginning, makes Hovater and other Neo-Nazis like him the victim in today’s society. Richard Fausset, the author of the article, writes how Hovater and his fiance were worried about “Antifa bashing up the ceremony.”

First of all, you’re nobody important. You’re not Richard Spencer; you’re not Milo Yiannopoulos. Why would the big bad anti-fascists show up to your wedding? Is it part of the liberal snowflakes’ plans to destroy the sanctity of straight marriage?

Hovater is also quoted in the article, stating that Donald Trump’s presidency has helped “open a space” for people like him. As if cisgender, straight, white men never had safe spaces before this dumpster fire of a presidency.

Fausset also uses words like “disgusted” and “baffled” to explain how “normal people” would view Hovater’s ideologies. Words like these make the audience sit there and feel sorry for this average Joe, even though he isn’t the victim in this situation.

The true victims are those who Neo-Nazi’s seek to bring down, the marginalized groups who Hitler’s grand vision targeted. Many people like Hovater may try to sell you some diet racism; say they only think the races should keep to themselves, but it’s all the same bullcrap with a different smell.

The profile, on top of trying to make you feel sorry for this bigot, tries to say, “hey look! He eats at Panera’ he goes grocery shopping; he’s just an everyday guy!” 

But seeing that a Neo-Nazi like Hovater is just an average person living an average life isn’t eye-opening. It isn’t leading to any epiphanies about what it truly means to be a white supremacist. This only proves how widespread Neo-Nazism is. Yes, Neo-Nazi’s are at your local, overated sandwich shop. They’re at your grocery stores; your schools, they live next-door to you. Which is why steps have to be taken to stop this movement from growing.

Many centrists all over the country will say how important it is to sit down with these supremacists, try to teach them to be better, understand where they’re coming from. This is something you can do with someone who doesn’t like coffee or avocados, not with someone who thinks that the Holocaust was “overblown.”

It’s absurd to claim that someone who is Black or Latino or Jewish could sit down and have a safe conversation with someone who thinks their existence should be wiped out.

Neo-Nazis are people who have taken violent action against those opposed to them; they are actual domestic terrorists. Look at the University of Virginia students who were violently beaten by White nationalists while the police stood by and watched. Heather Heyer was killed when Neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car through anti-fascist protesters, injuring 19 others in the attack.

Neo-Nazis are everywhere, they’re average people and they’re dangerous. Their ideologies threaten the lives of marginalized groups, and all in all go against everything the American flag is supposed to stand for. Giving these supremacists a platform to speak on and spread their way of thinking, like the Times did, only worsens the issue.

These beliefs shouldn’t be broadcasted, they should be shut down.