Dear media: Please stop normalizing the alt-right

For some reporters, I imagine it’s a matter of perception. Conservative critics of Trump were relentlessly attacked by astroturfing neo-Nazi types on the social media during the primaries. After the primaries, when liberal journalists finally focused on Trump, they too became the target of harassment. The hate became a huge story because of these personal experiences.

But that’s a generous reading of events. Another reading is that coverage is driven with the cynical purpose of exaggerating the importance of neo-Nazis to tie them to Republicans. The media will now demand the administration denounce white supremacists every time they have a meeting — which itself intimates that there is a connection. Conflating these scary things can create the impression that conservatism is Trump which is Bannon which is Duke which is Spencer.

I’m afraid it’s not that simple. And attempting to make it that simple only weakens legitimate criticism of the president-elect — of which there is plenty.