NPR Smears Conservative Group as 'Alt-Right' 'White Nationalist,' Even Though Founder Is Asian-American

Friday's Morning Edition on NPR hyped two "far-right" protests planned in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday. However, the public radio network improperly labeled Patriot Prayer, the group behind one of the demonstrations, as "alt-right." In fact, the controversial liberal Southern Poverty Law Center "does not list Patriot Prayer as such, nor is [founder Joey] Gibson considered an extremist," acccording to a Wednesday report from The Mercury News.

Host David Greene led into correspondent Eric Westervelt's report by outlining that "the Bay Area is a mecca for free speech and political activism. But for some residents, upcoming 'alt-right' rallies go too far. Two right-wing protests are planned for this weekend — one in San Francisco, another in Berkeley. The racist violence that resulted in one murder two weeks ago in Charlottesville is on the minds of city leaders, counter-protesters, and those organizing the events."

Ironically and unsurprisingly, the notoriously left-wing region is so supportive of free speech that The Guardian reported on Thursday that leftist dog owners organized a mass dog waste drop in the parkland venue for Patriot Prayer's protest. Gibson also announced later on Friday that his planned rally was cancelled, according to a Friday write-up from The Mercury News. The Patriot Prayer leader "blamed politicians like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee for characterizing the rally as a white nationalist event."

Westervelt first detailed that "it's no coincidence far-right activists are targeting liberal cities long known for their embrace of leftist politics, free speech, and diversity. 'Talk about kicking the hornet's nest,' is how far-right activist Kyle Chapman put it on Facebook — urging supporters to head to rallies in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend." The NPR journalist mentioned Chapman, an actual alt-righter, only in passing, and devoted more attention on Gibson:

ERIC WESTERVELT: ...[T]he organizer of Saturday's San Francisco rally — Joey Gibson, founder of the group Patriot Prayer — insists he doesn't want to kick the hornet's nest. He has denounced the violence in Charlottesville; and Gibson insisted to a TV station in Portland, Oregon he isn't a racist, and doesn't want racists at his rallies.

JOEY GIBSON, FOUNDER, PATRIOT PRAYER: I'm brown. So I'm definitely not a white supremacist; definitely not a white nationalist; definitely not a Nazi...I want limited government, you know? Hitler was all about big government.

Westervelt continued by turning to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino, who pointed out that "the anti-fascist [antifa] movement does think he's [Gibson is] an extremist and an antagonist." The correspondent added that Levin claimed that "Gibson's events often attract a wide range of racist, white nationalist, conspiracy theorists, and anti-government extremists."

It should be pointed out that far-left antifa activists assaulted Gibson with mace at a June 2017 demonstration outside the infamously leftist Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The Patriot Prayer founder played up the differences between his group and the masked radicals: "If we're white supremacists, why do we have more people of color rolling with us than they do? That's what I want to understand. All those people dressed in all black, they're the most whitest (sic) people I've ever met in my life."

The NPR journalist ended his report by highlighting some of the planned counter-protests: "They include a mobile dance party called 'Loved Up.' And the group 'Calling All Clowns' says its members will use wit and absurdity to — quote, 'mercilessly ridicule any neo-Nazis, white supremacists, or alt-right trolls who dare show their face in San Francisco.'"

The full transcript of Eric Westervelt's report on NPR's Morning Edition, which aired on August 25, 2017:

DAVID GREENE: The Bay Area is a mecca for free speech and political activism. But for some residents, upcoming 'alt-right' rallies go too far. Two right-wing protests are planned for this weekend — one in San Francisco, another in Berkeley. The racist violence that resulted in one murder two weeks ago in Charlottesville is on the minds of city leaders, counter-protesters, and those organizing the events, as NPR's Eric Westervelt reports.

ERIC WESTERVELT: It's no coincidence far-right activists are targeting liberal cities long known for their embrace of leftist politics, free speech, and diversity. 'Talk about kicking the hornet's nest,' is how far-right activist Kyle Chapman put it on Facebook — urging supporters to head to rallies in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend.

But the organizer of Saturday's San Francisco rally — Joey Gibson, founder of the group Patriot Prayer — insists he doesn't want to kick the hornet's nest. He has denounced the violence in Charlottesville; and Gibson insisted to a TV station in Portland, Oregon he isn't a racist, and doesn't want racists at his rallies.

JOEY GIBSON, FOUNDER, PATRIOT PRAYER: I'm brown. So I'm definitely not a white supremacist; definitely not a white nationalist; definitely not a Nazi, because I'm — you know, I want limited government, you know? Hitler was all about big government.

WESTERVELT: Members of the anti-fascist, or antifa, groups in the Bay Area, have vowed to confront Sunday's event in Berkeley and Gibson's San Francisco rally tomorrow.

BRIAN LEVIN, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY: The anti-fascist movement does think he's an extremist and an antagonist, and wants to — quote, 'shut them down.' So that's why this stuff can go south pretty quick.

WESTERVELT: That's Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State, San Bernardino. He says Gibson's events often attract a wide range of racist, white nationalist, conspiracy theorists, and anti-government extremists.

LEVIN: There's a diversity of people who show up. But whether or not you put the fly in the soup, or you just allow flies to go with your soup, you still don't want to drink the soup.

WESTERVELT: Meantime, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is calling for calm.

SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR ED LEE: God pray nobody gets hurt, because these people with hate-filled messages are coming in to our city to wreak havoc.

WESTERVELT: Mayor Lee is urging people to stay away; and instead, join one of the numerous peaceful counter-protests — many of which are in keeping with the San Francisco spirit. They include a mobile dance party called 'Loved Up.' And the group 'Calling All Clowns' says its members will use wit and absurdity to — quote, 'mercilessly ridicule any neo-Nazis, white supremacists, or alt-right trolls who dare show their face in San Francisco.' Eric Westervelt, NPR News, San Francisco.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
Labeling Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Protesters NPR Morning Edition David Greene
Matthew Balan's picture