Somebody help me with this. For the past few weeks, Stephen Bannon, Trump’s new domestic policy adviser has been characterized as a white nationalist and even a white supremacist, even though front-page coverage by several mainstream media appears to have turned up only tenuous ties to radical racialist groups.
Yet, Congressman Keith Ellison, the front runner for the position of chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who has garnered the support of several prominent Democratic leaders, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and and erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, has drawn scarcely a mention lately regarding his past ties with radical Islam and black nationalism.
A former practicing Catholic, Ellison apparently was drawn as a college student to Islam through his association with the Nation of Islam, though he claims that he never formally joined the NOI. Even so, while a college student, he wrote at least two articles in support of NOI – a fact reported by the July 6, 2006 edition Bay State Banner. Yet, I have scoured news.google.com and can can find little reporting of this fact within the mainstream media, though, to be fair, The Washington Post cited Ellison’s alleged ties to the Nation of Islam in an article that ran Sept. 11, 2006.
Recently, The Daily Caller, a partisan news site founded by libertarian-conservative Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, reports that it possesses a couple of columns obtained from the Minnesota Daily indicating that Ellison “was once a proponent of a blacks-only nation carved out of America and cash reparations paid from whites to blacks.” The Daily Caller maintains that “Ellison also called the U.S. Constitution the ‘best evidence of a white racist conspiracy to subjugate other peoples.'”
Yes, simply being a Muslim or associating with an organization like CAIR arguably is not sufficient cause for concern. But this involvement must be considered within the larger context of Ellison’s previous Nation of Islam ties.
Contrast that to the current media focus on Bannon’s alleged racialist ties. Based on my rather extensive review of mainstream media coverage of Stephen Bannon, I find his association with white nationalist and supremacist ties difficult to prove. The allegations are connected only to a few single, rather than multiple, sources. The charges of Bannon’s connection with white nationalism are further complicated by the fact that he worked closely with and acquired Breitbart News from a Jewish conservative and that he employs an African-American executive assistant, which, according to the New York Times, he considers family.
By contrast, Ellison’s past connections with black nationalism and radical Islamism appear to be far more extensive. And while the DNC chairmanship is arguably not as prominent a position as the as the domestic policy adviser to the president, it is still a position of enormous symbolic influence. It seems to me that in terms of subjecting Congressman Ellison to the a thorough-going vetting, the mainstream media have failed.
While undertaking a thorough and entirely legitimate investigation of the racists ties of a prominent figure of the American Right, they have largely ignored what once appeared to be the very palpable racist ties of a prominent member of the American Left.