There is a bigger issue at play in the media elite’s obsession with white supremacist groups. It speaks to their alarming inability, or unwillingness, to face up to the real source of disarray and conflict in the US today. It isn’t white-supremacist groups who have taken part in the worst, most nihilistic riots to rock America for five decades – it is people who, right or wrongly, identify as ‘left’ or as ‘progressive’. It isn’t the Proud Boys who have laid waste to entire blocks in often quite deprived areas in Kenosha, Minneapolis and Portland – it is supporters of so-called ‘Antifa’ and of Black Lives Matter. It isn’t the Proud Boys who have harassed diners and stormed into suburbia calling people ‘motherfuckers’ and insisting that they bow down to the supposedly correct political worldview – it is the upper middle-class, often white supporters of BLM who have done that, most of whom will shortly be voting Biden for president.

The disconnect between the media’s obsessions and the real world grows more vast by the day. Of course there are white supremacists in the US, and of course their views are vile and racist, but the idea that they are a significant or well-organised force simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. And of course Trump, as president, should be clearer and firmer in his comments on white supremacist or hard-right groups. He should have been clearer in this week’s debate and he should have been clearer after Charlottesville. But why are we even talking about white supremacists right now? Why are we talking about the Proud Boys? They aren’t the ones who have helped to unleash a wave of instability and destruction in recent weeks. It is the identitarian rabble-rousers of Antifa (just an idea, according to Biden) and other ostensibly ‘woke’ groups who have done that.

The media’s myopic focus on white supremacy is a displacement activity of epic proportions. For weeks now, the mainstream media, and much of the Democratic-leaning political class, have refused to speak honestly about the instability in the US and about the divisive, identity-based ideologies that have fuelled it.