Among the alt-right’s less hard-core associates, the coverage of the Nazi salutes has been like a light suddenly turned on in a dark room. They scattered, issuing clarifications and recriminations along the way.
Paul Joseph Watson, an editor for the conspiracy-minded site InfoWars, said in July that he was “in the alt-right,” but then denied it last week, going on to argue that two different factions of the group had emerged.
“One is more accurately described as the New Right. These people like to wear MAGA [Make America Great Again] hats, create memes & have fun,” Watson wrote on Facebook, criticizing mainstream media for focusing on Trump’s racist supporters. “They include whites, blacks, Asians, Latinos, gays and everyone else. These are the people who helped Trump win the election.
“The other faction likes to fester in dark corners of sub-reddits” — a reference to branches of the social-media site Reddit — “and obsess about Jews, racial superiority and Adolf Hitler. This is a tiny fringe minority. They had no impact on the election.”
Some white nationalists themselves have a term for the split: the alt-right versus the “alt-lite.”