In an article about Jewish culture, a writer for the conservative opinion outlet Townhall linked to the neo-Nazi, hate website Stormfront.
A few paragraphs into the now-deleted piece — which was titled “Is It Time for a New Jesus Movement Among Jewish Millennials?” — author Michael Brown used information from the white supremacist website to make a point about the impact Jewish celebrities had on the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
The full Stormfront reference went as follows:
“One website notes that, among the bands that played at Woodstock, Jefferson Airplane had three Jewish members, Sha Na Na had three, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears had 5. Both Country Joe McDonald and Arlo Guthrie were born to Jewish mothers, while singing icons like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and “Mamma” Cass Elliot were Jewish, just to name a few.”
That “one website” turned out to be the longest running and one of the most popular white supremacist sites.
Since publishing the article and receiving criticism over it, editors at Townhall took a number of steps to bungle this public relations nightmare. Initially, they removed the link but left up the article in its entirety, simply providing the editor’s note, “This article has been updated.” Upon realizing this solution was not enough, editors chose to pull the piece entirely — though, it is still accessible via the web archiving service Wayback Machine. Then, the site re-posted the original link to the article — completely stripped of its content — and re-named it, “An Author’s Note from Michael Brown.”
In the new post, editors of the site — who, if given the benefit of the doubt, did not catch the link — stated, “We’d like to apologize for this oversight.” As for Brown, he claimed he had no idea he had linked to a neo-Nazi website.
“I did a search for online articles referencing prominent Jews involved in the counterculture revolution of the 60s,” he explained. “I found one useful list in an article I then linked in my piece. Subsequently, it was pointed out to me that the article was posted a Neo-Nazi website.”
Brown, who is Jewish himself, added that he found this realization “shocking” and voiced regret for linking to Stormfront. Yet, there are a few eyebrow-raising problems with Brown’s apology and plea of ignorance.
Nine words into the article that Brown found credible enough to reference, the neo-Nazi author uses a slur against African-Americans and proceeds to disparage the Civil Rights movement by claiming it was a “Jewish organized” plot against white Americans.
“Following on the footsteps of the Jewish organized Negro dissident campaign often referred to as the ‘Civil Rights movement,’ Jewish Communists in the 1960’s began turning their attention toward luring White American youths away from the solid traditional family values,” wrote the white supremacist in the opening paragraph of the Townhall-linked article.
Additionally, in the portion that is directly referenced by Brown, the neo-Nazi smears those involved in the counter-cultural movement by calling them “Jewish instigators” and suggesting they are responsible for the “communist movement.”
If the racist slur and “Jewish instigator” smears weren’t enough, on the Stormfront page the slogans “Voice of the new embattled white minority!” and “White Pride World Wide” are plastered across the top in a way that realistically cannot be missed.
When reached for comment, Brown told this reporter that he “didn’t read the article” and only used it to reference the list of Jewish counter-cultural icons. “Again, my bad, totally,” he said. Additionally, multiple Townhall editors — including Fox News contributors Guy Benson and Katie Pavlich — were contacted by Mediaite in a number of ways for comment. Benson responded to a Facebook message shortly after this piece was published, explaining the site has publicly apologized for the incident and will take “additional steps” to ensure this does not happen again.
“Townhall would never, ever deliberately link to or cite a website run by racist neo-Nazis as a credible source,” said Benson, noting the issue has since been “dealt with” and the outlet is running an internal investigation to understand how the “oversight” happened.
The only conservative media figure who was willing to defend Brown’s neo-Nazi reference is The Federalist senior contributor David Marcus, who tweeted that people criticizing Brown and Townhall were just “self-righteous.” After Marcus was called-out by a number of prominent figures for defending the Stormfront link, he doubled-down, tweeting, “If Stormfront says something that’s true it’s not racist to link to that.”
This Townhall–Stormfront incident comes just after other online conservative outlets have faced backlash over racist content. Such call-outs include The Federalist for using a “black-crime” tag, the Daily Caller for frequently publishing work by avowed white nationalists — including one of the Unite The Right organizers — and the Daily Wire for posting a widely-condemned video smearing Native Americans as cannibals on Columbus Day.
Editor’s note – This piece has been updated to note responses from both Brown and Benson.
[featured image via screengrab/Townhall.com]
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