On Thursday, TFPP reported that Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat and deputy Democrat National Committee chair, tweeted a selfie with “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” by Dartmouth professor and former Occupy Wall Street activist Mark Bray.
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 3, 2018
This, of course, is kind of a big deal on a number of levels — the Antifa movement has a well-documented history of violence, even far-left Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has disavowed it, and the author Bray has openly defended violence against vaguely-defined “fascists.”
One would think that a major national party leader playing footsie with radical thugs would be a pretty big story. But to Newsweek’s Michael Edison Hayden, the real story is who complained about Ellison’s tweet:
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 4, 2018
Yes, Ellison is clearly the victim here. But the best part is how desperate Hayden is to find examples of “Islamophobes” to pad this crap out:
Opponents jumped on the tweet, with Fox News and other conservative outlets like Gateway Pundit and Alex Jones’s InfoWars covering it, and running anti-Muslim comments underneath the articles.
“A Muslim promoting terrorism is not news,” commenter Supah Cisgender wrote on Gateway Pundit.
Other comments labeled the representative a “terrorist.” Pundits on the far-right also recycled talking points about “antifa,” a catch-all word for leftist protesters that has been associated with dozens of fake news stories since the start of Trump’s presidency.
The Daily Wire’s Harry Khachatrian pointed out the sheer preposterousness of citing anonymous blog commenters on fringe websites as some sort of national story or trend:
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) January 4, 2018
As for an actual defense of Ellison, this is the best Hayden can come up with:
Newsweek was unable to reach Ellison for comment about his tweet, but it is unclear whether or not he “endorsed” the book, or whether he was simply making a joke.
The subject matter of the book details the history of antifascism, and helps to explain how and why they protest. The text itself is politically neutral, though Bray is himself an activist.
I don’t know what’s lamer: the idea that Newsweek would accept the “joke” defense if a prominent Republican had tweeted about a Richard Spencer book driving liberals nuts, or the convenient omission of Bray quotes like this:
“No one is saying that if you’re slugged in the face you have to sit there and take it,” Cohen said. “The question here is, when white nationalists want to walk down the street, should people stop them? That’s a very different issue.”
“I think it’s a spectacularly bad idea,” Cohen argued, “to give one group the right to silence another group of people. It’s contrary to our values embodied in the First Amendment.”
“Fascism cannot be defeated by speech,” Bray asserted, contending that Antifa needs to strike now to prevent the proliferation of neo-Nazis.
Just as many mainstream liberals did, Bray lauds the well-publicized antifa sucker-punch of alt-right leader Richard Spencer as a contributor toward “legitimizing anti-fascism.” This was on Inauguration Day, when Spencer was giving an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and an antifa member punched Spencer as he was being interviewed on a Washington street. Footage of the reeling white supremacist went massively viral and triggered a wide-ranging debate over the righteousness of “Nazi punching.”
But Bray also writes glowingly of “the most iconic moment of the day… when a limousine was set ablaze.” Bray neglects to mention the immolated limousine was occupied by a Latino driver who suffered minor injuries in the attack, and the vehicle was owned by a Muslim immigrant, who asserts he was later harassed by individuals who mistook him for a Trump supporter.
I think we have a new finalist for those Corrupt Media Awards Donald Trump is teasing for next week…