Of course, Trump is only the star player in a White House and an administration that have become a clearinghouse for all sorts of hate-group propaganda. Even an abridged list of the dyed-in-the-wool white-supremacist, white-nationalist, and hate groups that have been amplified recently by Trump associates would require a table of contents. Just this week, The Washington Post reported that Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow had hosted Peter Brimelow, a white-nationalist publisher of the racist website VDare, at his birthday party. Among other extreme positions, Brimelow expressed last year his belief that Latino people are more “prone” to committing rape than people of other ethnicities.
Earlier this week, Media Matters reported that, on his campaign website for the 2018 governor’s race, Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and the former leader of Trump’s ill-fated voter-fraud commission, cited a fake statistic about crime committed by immigrants. The stat was dreamed up by white nationalist Peter Gemma, who has an avowed mission to prevent “race-mixing.” In June, the Trump-friendly Iowa congressman Steve King—who’s openly expressed his belief in the superiority of white culture and society—retweeted an anti-immigration message from a British Nazi sympathizer, and hasn’t deleted the tweet.
Carlson has himself often dipped into the pools of white-supremacist content. On his show, he’s recommended the social-media app Gab, which is often described as a white-nationalist haven. Last December—ironically, in a tweet thread attempting to lampoon progressives for calling out racism too often—Carlson tweeted a link to Red Ice TV, a white-nationalist blog. (He later deleted it.)
This list doesn’t even include any of the associations of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and current White House immigration guru Stephen Miller, both far-right activists who’ve worked to advance ideas and personalities that might’ve once been considered “fringe” to the center.
It would be, at best, naive to accept this steady stream of white-supremacist talking points as accidents. At a certain point, praxis is purpose, and an administration that regularly sympathizes with and amplifies white nationalists must be seen as doing so on purpose. This goes beyond the trepidation around calling Trump or any of his individual bigotries “racist,” and runs into a problem at the core of journalism’s current paradigm. Nonpartisanship has to assume some measure of good faith or essential goodness in order to work; today, some journalists endeavor to create those conditions, bending Occam’s razor to its breaking point. Trump and his affiliates are often made into careless, insensitive, or just mildly bigoted figures, with no connection to a broader movement. And people are fooled, over and over.