…But David French at National Review has other post-election targets in mind—namely, the imaginary cabal of white supremacists taking over the Republican Party.
Outlandish Claims, Distorted Evidence
French’s November 15 column, “The White-Supremacy Surge,” is more cowbell to amplify the media’s nonstop drumbeat that Donald Trump and his supporters are bigots, anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis. (A despicable Washington Post column over the weekend suggested that massacres and death squads might be in the offing because of Trump.)
Sadly, French’s incendiary analysis wasn’t far from that Post screed. It is a literary junk drawer of anecdotal evidence and conjecture scattered with overworn insults about Trump supporters.
In an attempt to boost his inaccurate claim that white supremacy is surging, French cited a sketchy study while overlooking exculpatory data in the very same report, and he mentioned random racial crimes that are vile but no indicator of a coordinated white supremacist movement. “Trump’s words have emboldened white supremacists,” French outlandishly declared, again without evidence.
In an effort to prove his case, French conflated a rise in white supremacy with a speculative rise in hate crimes. According to a May 2018 report from California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism—the paper French cites in his column—hate crimes increased by 12 percent in 2017 in 10 major cities. (The report documents the number of allegations, not convictions, reported to police. Dr. Brian Levin, one of the authors, confirmed to me via email that the center’s data “cover hate crimes reported to police at time complaint is made and is not dependent on how it is eventually charged.”)
A closer look at the statistics included in the report not only fails to bolster French’s claim, the data show that whites are the third-most frequently targeted group of victims, after black and LGBT people. Jews, Mexicans, and Muslims are less likely to be a victim of a hate crime than a white person, according to the study. Further—and highly relevant here—there is no proof that white supremacists committed most of the offenses noted in the study.
Then this: “We are forecasting a small to moderate increase for hate crime for 2017. Only a small number of agencies have partial year data for 2018, but most are down significantly… we are forecasting a significant national decrease in 2018 but only for the first half of the year.” (Emphasis added.)
So, despite the hysterical warnings from French and his collaborators in the media, there was only a small increase in hate crimes last year and those numbers dropped significantly in the first half of the year. This means there is no “surge” either in hate crimes or white supremacy. (The synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh last month singularly will change that forecast for the year. Trump also has been blamed for that massacre by French’s NR colleague, Jonah Goldberg, even though the shooter did not vote for Trump and criticized the president for being “surrounded by kikes.”)
…He slammed Breitbart and The Federalist for allegedly endorsing white supremacy. (The author of the Federalistpiece he misrepresents is Jewish.) Non church-going Trump voters are closet racists, French concluded, because not enough of them have “warm feelings” for blacks, according to one survey: “The white-supremacist surge is a symptom of a greater disease, and it’s a disease with no easy cure.”
…A greater threat to civil society, in reality, is contemptible pieces of writing like French’s, which are intended to malign innocent people based on race and political affiliation, and further divide the country he laughably claims to want to save.