The news site Vice posted an article on Thursday with the title, “Why Are So Many Marines Neo-Nazis?” It would have been just another drab, dreary accounting by a left-wing site of “extremist” plots by the right, except for the small detail that it appeared yesterday.
Yesterday, 12 United States Marines gave their lives in service to their country when they were blown up by a real extremist — a member of the terrorist Islamic State. Needless to say, Vice trying to portray Marines as their fathers and grandfathers did — baby-killing, PTSD-rattled automatons who were a threat to peaceful Americans — didn’t work for a lot of people.
This is especially true when they tweeted out a promo for the hit piece.
“While many vets are being outed as far-right extremists, one branch keeps popping up when it comes to neo-Nazis: the United States Marine Corps.”
The tweet has since been deleted. Apparently, even woke leftists have a sense of the time and place. But not before the firestorm blew up Twitter.
Meghan McCain, the former co-host of “The View,” tweeted a succinct response. “Go F^^k yourself” — a sentiment echoed in various ways hundreds of times.
— Matthew Betley 🇺🇸 (@MatthewBetley) August 26, 2021
The hit piece was full of opinion, fact flakes, and, of course, plenty of innuendoes.
“It seems to me that the anecdotal evidence is piling up that there is something weird about the Marines,” said Heidi Beirich, a longtime expert on right-wing extremism and the chief strategy officer at the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. “I think it has to do with a couple of things. The Marines have the most hardcore culture in in the military, aside from some of the Special Forces teams; they’re also centralized on a couple of bases. So they’re not as distributed throughout the United States as other forces are.”
There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Marines are 100 percent stand-up, four-square Americans — law-abiding, responsible, compassionate, giving, selfless human beings with families, friends, and comrades who work tirelessly to make America a better place. That’s the overwhelming majority of Marines.
Oh, and they fight our wars too.
So why concentrate a piece of “journalism” on the few dozen brainless numbskulls who want to blow people up? And why hint — even broadly — that somehow the United States Marine Corps is responsible?
Why are so many Vice articles hot steaming clickbait garbage?
— Shmooth Operator (@ShmoothO) August 26, 2021
That’s a great question. All websites — including this one — run copy at least partly because it will draw readers.
But Vice is the king of clickbait. There isn’t a single story they publish that doesn’t have some element of sensationalism — breathless copy, startling pictures, heart-tugging, weepy human interest stories.
No doubt their timing could have been better for a story about Marines in extremist groups (maybe for their next hit piece they can do one on public school teachers in Antifa). But they make no attempt to contextualize the information they’re reporting. They deliberately leave the impression that the Marine Corps is made up of current and former members who are a bunch of racist neo-Nazi yahoos with itchy trigger fingers.
It’s the same baloney that was being peddled by leftists in the 1970s when retired Marines became the poster children of PTSD-fueled rage. It was a catchall explanation for acts of violence committed by Marines returning from Vietnam — shorthand for the American experience during the war.
It was bullls**t then. It’s bulls**t now.