August 12 marks the first year since the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which saw the killing of antifascist protester Heather Heyer at the hands of white supremacist James Alex Fields. This weekend, Jason Kessler, the organizer behind the first event, will hold a second event, cleverly called ‘Unite the Right 2,’ in Washington D.C. And for some reason this morning, NPR decided to give him a platform on Friday to talk about why racism is good.
After a disclosure that “What you’re about to hear is racist”—yeah, I could’ve guessed that—NPR dove right in. Kessler described himself as “not a white supremacist” and “not even a white nationalist,” adding, “I consider myself a civil and human rights advocate focusing on the underrepresented Caucasian demographic.”
Interviewer Noel King then asked him, “In what ways are white people in America underrepresented?” Kessler responded that white people are not being allowed to organize into political groups (what’s the Republican Party, then?) and that there’s a “stigma” around it. Essentially, what Kessler was saying is that there should be a White Entertainment Television.
When King disputed Kessler’s claim that the First Amendment is under attack because he’s about to march on Washington—not the best argument, all things considered—Kessler haughtily responded, “Well, I’m trying to explain it to you, but you’re not listening to me.”
King then asked Kessler about the speakers at his rally, which include former KKK grand wizard David Duke. “I don’t think you know anything about my rally,” Kessler whined. “I haven’t announced who the speakers are yet to anybody, you’re going off left-wing rumor mills.” Kessler listed the speakers in his National Park Service application. King pointed this out, and Kessler responded that he’s “stated numerous times that I don’t want neo-Nazis at my rally, and they’re not welcome.” (Good thing, because it looks like they don’t want to be there, either.)
Eventually, we got to the differences between races, because that’s what everyone wants to hear on their miserable Friday morning commute. “Do you think that white people are smarter than black people?” King asked. Kessler then proceeded to literally rank the races:
There is enormous variation between individuals, but the IQ testing is pretty clear that it seems like Ashekenazi Jews rate the highest in intelligence, then Asians, then white people, then, uh, Hispanic people and black people. There’s enormous variation, but as a matter of science, IQ testing is pretty clear.
When King exasperatedly said that Kessler “doesn’t sound like someone who wants to unite people” (uh, no kidding), Kessler shot back, “Well, you sound like someone who doesn’t respect science!”
The press, it should be noted, does not usually give a platform to everyone who can organize a political group of 300 people for a weekend rally in D.C., which is the high-end number of attendees Kessler expects according to his National Park Service application. And while King handled the interview well enough, the larger issue is that there was absolutely no reason for NPR to hand over its sizable audience to Jason Kessler, a man who was recently banned from the campus of the college he graduated from for being a creepy dipshit. Sunlight can be the best disinfectant in some cases. Avowed white supremacists are not one of those cases, because the history of the world for the past five hundred years has shone a light on who these people are and what they believe.
This interview was never going to yield any new information or insight. By giving Kessler a microphone to spew the same bullshit we’ve heard from him for over a year, NPR played the part of an enabler, not a news organization.