Extremely hit-or-miss CNN anchor Don Lemon offered an absolutely reasonable, moderate defense of the loose collective of anti-fascism activists known as Antifa on Tuesday night, so, predictably, people are well on their way to making this a Big Bad Thing.
“It says it right in the name: Antifa. Anti-fascism, which is what they were there fighting,” Lemon said on his show, referring to the activists who counter-protested the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville a year ago.
“Listen, no organization is perfect. There was some violence. No one condones violence, but there were different reasons for Antifa and for these neo-Nazis to be there,” Lemon continued. “One, racists, fascists, the other group, fighting racist fascists. There is a distinction there.”
Seems pretty mild and rational to me! But because Fox News and conservative politicians have made “antifa” shorthand for disorder and the destruction of property—the two things they hate the most, and definitely hate more than creeping fascism—bad people on the internet got mad.
Let’s be clear also about what’s going on here. The theme here is, “I’m Donald Trump and I’ll protect you from the scary black people.” [...] This is just part of the same story of LeBron James and Don Lemon and Maxine Waters and the NFL players and the UCLA basketball players. This is about black versus white. This is about Donald Trump’s appeal to racism and it just happens all the time. And we never say it. We don’t say it enough for what it is, but that’s what’s going on here.
Again, this is mostly correct and certainly well argued! But it’s still a bit spicy for a mainstream outlet like CNN, so it’ll probably take about 24 hours for someone to apologize.