Mark Pitcavage Profile picture
Sep 3, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
My two cents.

Here's a checklist worth considering before deciding to invite an extremist onto a platform for a 1-on-1 interview or a "debate":

1. Does doing so risk giving the extremist a significant platform from which he/she can grow/reinforce his/her audience?
2. Has the extremist already been substantially covered/exposed?
3. Would a traditional investigative piece with full context be a better way to cover/expose the extremist?
4. Would the extremist be able to exploit a combative/aggressive interview for his/her own purposes?
5. Is there a chance the interviewer might not be as prepared as the extremist or not be able to fully refute/debunk on the spot any allegations made by the extremist?
6. Is there a chance the interview is being sought more because of the notoriety/"get" value of the extremist
than because of anything the interview itself will likely reveal?
7. Is there a substantial likelihood that no noteworthy revelations will come from the interview?
8. Could the entity considering the interview lose credibility by going through with the interview?
If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then the decision should be strongly scrutinized; if the answer to > one of these questions is "yes," then the interview should not take place.

One-on-one public interviews are not the most effective, accurate or meaningful
ways of conducting journalism, while at the same time they really hand a great deal of control over to the interview subject. When the potential interview subject is an extremist, they become quite problematic.

#newyorker #davidremnick #newyorkerfestival

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More from @egavactip

Sep 7, 2018
1. For your Extremist #FridayFlashback, I'd like to share a totally-forgotten incident from September 1999 involving a militia shootout in West Virginia--one of uncounted such episodes involving right-wing extremism over the past 25 years that got very little media attention.
2. A team of fed/state/law enforcement officers were looking for illicit marijuana grows in Lincoln County, West Virginia, when they ran into two brothers who were indeed growing pot out in the woods--but who were also anti-government extremists, part of the militia movement.
3. Investigating an illegal camp on gas company property, the officers ran into Bobby Wayne Hager riding an ATF. Hager tried to pull a gun on the officers but they restrained him--but not before he shouted a warning to his nearby brother. The brother, Everett Hager, opened fire
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Sep 3, 2018
1. Why do the @NewYorker, @MSNBC, and others persist in willingly giving extremist Steve Bannon a free platform? No good comes of this--only the legitimization and normalization of extremism.
2. New Yorker editor David Remnick makes the most common mistake that journalists/others who "debate" or grant 1-on-1 interviews to extremists make. He says, “I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation.”
3. The mistake is thinking that whatever "difficult questions" or "combativeness" the interviewer may deploy will somehow make up for the equalization effect that any 1-on-1 situation with an extremist suggests. They are elevated and the interviewer lowered. Moreover, the more
Read 8 tweets
Aug 17, 2018
1. Gavin McInnes, head of the extreme right Proud Boys group, claims "Nazis are not a thing, Islam is a thing." Well, they're both things, but they ain't the same thing. What he actually wants to do is minimize the danger of white supremacy, of course.…
2. The fact is that right-wing extremists have killed far more people than radical Islamist extremists in this country in recent memory--and of all the different types of right-wing extremists, white supremacists kill the most (by far).
3. Gavin McInnes asks his listeners to "imagine" a number of things: White supremacist training camps, white supremacist harming women, white supremacists planning school shootings. I don't have to "imagine" any of those things, because I know all of those things exist.
Read 7 tweets
Aug 2, 2018
1. Right-wing former convict Dinesh D'Souza's new "movie," "Death of a Nation," is opening on Friday. It claims white supremacists are actually leftists. He even interviews Richard Spencer & paints him as a leftist. And, of course, he claims the Nazis were "firmly on the left."
2. This trope, that Nazis and other white supremacists are somehow magically left-wing, is a convenient bit of historical revisionism designed to leave the right pristine and pure while dumping all the crimes of the right in the pile where all the crimes of the left are. Handy.
3. I never tried to track the origins of this argument, but I don't recall hearing anybody spout it myself until the 1990s. It has become increasingly commonplace and, why not? It fits perfectly into the War on Truth being waged in the U.S. right now. Don't want to own up to
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Aug 1, 2018
1/ Since everybody is talking about Qanon, I will, too, at least a little. Qanon is a rare type of conspiracy theory, because it has all of the following categories:

1. It is anonymous (the proponents of most conspiracy theories love the attention).
2. It is revelatory in nature
2/ (meaning that the originator purports to have access a source of secret but crucial information).
3. It is persistent/ongoing (rather than one info-dump, the originator doles out nuggets over time to entice/increase the audience).

Many conspiracy theories have one or two of
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Read 8 tweets
Jul 30, 2018
I finally had some time today to catch up with sovereign citizen monitoring and came across some interesting examples of sovereign stuff along the way, so I thought I'd share a few of the items with you.

We can start with a bogus diplomatic license plate someone designed.
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Here is a RuSA (Republic for the United States of America) bogus diplomat/private attorney general plate. In sovereign license plate terms, this is the equivalent of a "rare Pepe."
Read 7 tweets

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