CNN allowed correspondent Alisyn Camerota to bring Arthur Jones, American Nazi Party leader and Republican candidate for local office in Illinois, on air. It went about as well as anyone could have expected:
Camerota noted that Jones dresses in Nazi garb and celebrates Hitler’s birthday.
“You’re a Nazi,” she charged.
Things then started to get heated when Camerota said that Jones’s website is “filled with the most vile, rancid rhetoric I think I’ve ever read.”
“It’s not vile and rancid it’s the truth!” Jones shot back. “You jews media, you’ve gone absolutely nuts!”
What did we learn from this enlightening exchange? Not much, unless you weren’t quite sure that the leader of the American Nazi Party is, well, a Nazi.
Journalists covering the extreme right have to walk a careful line. Their activities are newsworthy, but they shouldn’t simply be handed a megaphone to spread hate. Though Camerota challenged Jones, the entire segment has the feel of performance, designed to make Camerota look like a hard-hitting journalist. There are several ways to cover Jones’s candidacy, and this is just about the stupidest one.