Sean Hannity and RedState are at war over a RedState post by writer Susan Wright.
Titled “Sean Hannity Strips Away Any Prior Denials of Alt-Right Involvement,” Wright’s post accuses the conservative talk show host of aligning with the racist members of the “alt-right.”
Why? Due to one retweet by Hannity.
From Wright’s post:
Silly Trump fanboy, Sean Hannity, has pretty much gone off the rails now, as far as his devotion to his idol, Trump.
So much so, that he’s dived headfirst into the festering cesspool of alt-right idiocy. After months of claiming the high road, denying any connection between Trump supporters and racially motivated players, Hannity gives in and promotes the ignoble cause of white nationalists.
SooperMexican pointed out over at theRightScoop that it all began with Hannity’s tweets, attacking John Zigler, a NeverTrumper radio commentator:
Not content to stop there, Hannity went on to retweet a Twitter user with the handle “Pantszilla77.”
From that one retweet, Wright concludes that Hannity has:
… dived headfirst into the festering cesspool of alt-right idiocy.
Is this a fair assessment? Is it true? Let’s look at Wright’s headline first:
Sean Hannity Strips Away Any Prior Denials of Alt-Right Involvement
So what does it mean to be “involved” with the alt-right? I propose it means a lot more than simply retweeting one of them in a Twitter argument. Additionally, is it possible that one could retweet the alt-right pejorative “cuckservative” against NeverTrumpers without being “involved” with them? And without embracing their “white nationalism”?
Common sense and fair judgment say you can. Yet the tweet from @SooperMexican which Wright cites abandons fair judgment, accusing Hannity of becoming alt-right:
— ¡El Sooopèrr! ن c137 (@SooperMexican) December 10, 2016
Reading the thread, I feel like I’m watching 10-year-old bullies on a playground.
Wright praises @SooperMexican for supposedly bringing truth and enlightenment to the American public:
SooperMexican was good enough to show the world who Hannity is now aligning himself with on Twitter.
Hannity, of course, fired back that he wasn’t aligned with the alt-right and that Wright’s post was slanderous. Then Twitchy.com jumped into the fray, defending Wright:
How is it slanderous to highlight your own words in context? Answer: It’s not.
But that’s not what Wright did. Wright had gone much further, using judgment terms like “aligning” and “involvement.” She wrote that Hannity had become “involved” with the alt-right, and now “promotes the ignoble cause of white nationalists.”
Is Hannity, with the tweet of “cuckservative,” promoting white nationalism? Due to a single retweet, is it fair to think Hannity is now a racist?
Wright tries to make the connection by quoting SooperMexican, who has written:
“Cuckservative” has been adopted by the alt-right to refer to conservatives they say have sold the white race out. It refers to being “cuckolded” which is when a man’s wife cheats on him with someone else — they love making allusions to white conservatives letting blacks and other minorities have sex with their wives.
Yet, is this the most common definition of the term? On Wikipedia, you’ll get this answer:
One definition of a “cuckservative” is a conservative who sells out, having bought into all the key premises of the left, and sympathizes with liberal values According to Richard B. Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, the term is a shorthand used to express “a certain kind of contempt for mainstream conservatives.” The phrase is similar to “Republican In Name Only” (RINO).
Social conservatives who use the term condemn what they see as Republicans running on socially conservative values to appeal to their base during an election cycle, only to use vote trading to compromise on those values while in office. The term cuckold has a long history as an insult implying that a specific man is weak and emasculated, and may even feel pleasure at his own humiliation because of sexual masochism.
The term “cuckservative” similarly implies that certain male Republicans are humiliated through their actions while feeling thrilled and excited from their own degradation because of the abandonment of their own moral standards.
And here’s a definition from Urban Dictionary:
A cuckservative is a self-styled “conservative” who will cravenly sell out and undermine his home country’s people, culture, and national interest in order to win approval with parties hostile or indifferent to them.
Wikipedia also writes:
Some American political writers have suggested that the term is racially charged by being seemingly derived from a genre of interracial pornography in which a white married woman spurns her white husband for sex with a black man.
Simply, there is no case to be made that this latter definition is the most prevalent or widely accepted. Yet Wright inaccurately and manipulatively referenced only the racially charged definition in an attempt to close the gap between Hannity’s retweet and the character-destroying label of “white nationalism.”
Hannity’s retweet was merely an attack on a NeverTrumper according to the most common definition. It had nothing to do with becoming involved in racism or aligning with the dark urges of the alt-right.
Wright’s post was disingenuous and irresponsible. But most importantly, and the reason I’ve chosen to write this rebuttal, Wright’s irresponsible post ran on a conservative website.
I’m not writing to defend Hannity — he can do that quite well himself — but to bring to your attention the seriousness of what we’re observing here. This is a Twitter war with significance.
For too long, the Left has used racist labeling to attack, stigmatize, and delegitimize conservatives. (I wrote about it here.)
To see people on the Right smearing one another with this same tactic is an abomination, as this act opposes the very principles of conservatism they claim to defend.
In my post on liberals calling Republicans racists, I wrote:
The truth is, except for a small group of fringe racists, the GOP and most of the people voting for Trump are not racists. They’re angry, they want our laws and values of freedom to be respected, they want to stop America from being artificially transformed through mass immigration, and they want liberalism stopped and their moral authority as cultural conservatives restored.
Republicans concerned about racism in the GOP need to take a deep breath and get some perspective.
Instead of attacking those in their own ranks (even those who don’t conform to every jot and tittle of the conservative code), they need to focus on what’s most important: ripping off the racist (along with homophobic and sexist) label that has been slapped on them and putting it squarely where it belongs: on the Left.
Using inaccurate racist labeling to tear down your opponent undermines the unity we need as Republicans to repair the damage statist Democrats have done to our nation. Name-calling happens. People lose tempers, especially on Twitter, but the label of “racist” is a serious one, with a long history and loaded with a lot of power to stigmatize and silence. Not only that, the Left is continuing to do it, and to engage in the same shameless tactics strengthens them, not conservatives.
My plea to everyone on the Right: be very cautious about whom you label a racist.
If you’re going to even hint at the label, you’d better be damn sure it fits. In Hannity’s case, we all know it does not. He has a lifetime of work showing that he’s not anything close to being a racist.
To smear a man’s reputation based on a retweet is shameful. We on the Right can do better. We need to do better. We need to be circumspect, judicious, fair, and intent not only on championing conservatism, but one another for the sake of the civil society. Let’s not allow our anger over an election, our pride, or our bitterness blind us to the truth of who people really are.
If we do, we might as well admit that we have become the monsters we think we’re fighting.