On Wednesday we aired an interview with a man who wore a Nazi armband in Seattle. According to people observing him on the bus and then downtown, this man harassed black people — by yelling and throwing bananas at them.
When he arrived downtown, someone punched the guy out.
(We asked him if he harassed people; he said no.)
The overwhelming response to our interview with this neo-Nazi was that we gave him a platform unchallenged.
“That’s what they do – they provoke violence, and they get a media platform,” said Laurie Marhoefer, a historian of Nazi Germany at the University of Washington. “Once they’re put on the air, they’re very good at building bridges to moderate conservatives. They don’t sound like whackadoodle neo-Nazis.
“You had that guy on, and he made a lot of arguments about free speech,” Marhoefer continued. “Arguments that probably appealed really broadly to people who don’t agree with Nazism but who do agree that free speech is a value.
“The upshot is that the people who punched him and the people who support him look violent and look like extremists.”