The dilemma of writing about hatemongers

What do you do about a fellow named Matt Hale, the leader of what is now called “The Creativity Movement (formerly the World Church of the Creator)?

‘white supremacy’

As racists so aptly demonstrate in word and in deed, so-called ‘white supremacy’ easily is among the dumbest and most anti-social ‘philosophies’ ever concocted.

And what should we write about the National Alliance, the shrinking group which littered Swampscott lawns with idiotic but protected free speech pamphlets last week?

Journalists hate these decisions.

Hale is the alleged leader of the Creativity Movement, formerly the “World Church of the Creator,” which is not world-wide, not a church and actually thinks its own members are “creators.” (It lost the right to call itself “Church of the Creator” in a copyright suit and was forced to change its name.)

But somebody affiliated with that Illinois-based group threw little bags of claptrap called “Facts…” on hundreds, maybe thousands, of Swampscott and Marblehead lawns and driveways June 1999. We suspect, but can’t prove, that the same individual or individuals did the same last week, this time for the National Alliance, a West Virginia-based group.

Swampscott Police Sgt. Gary Lord says the groups – it turns out the groups are related by similar philosophies and have cooperated in rallies in the past – visit our towns roughly twice a year.

The stuff they offer is not facts. It is anti-everybody, but especially anti-Semitic. Hale and his group even think most white people are dumb because they are easily brainwashed by the others Hale doesn’t like: Jews, Christians, African-Americans, Asians among them.

So what’s the problem for newspaper people? Both the National Alliance and the Creativity Movement LOVE to have journalists write about them. Both groups republish our articles on their Web sites for all the world to see. There is no doubt they’ll do it with this column.

In short, they believe that publicity is good, no matter what the stories say. And they’ll be glad I wrote this column.

So how do you tell ordinary people about what’s going on? After all, in moments of candor, the Creativity Movement doesn’t mind being called a hate group. Is WCOTC a “hate group”? Sure, says Hale, “if you love … your own white race, then hate for your enemies comes natural.”

Can you point to the fact that Hale called Ben Smith – the man who drove around Illinois and Indiana in July 1999 killing people he identified as minorities – his “protégé”?

Nope, sorry, Hale had his eulogy of Smith, full of praise for Smith’s courage, dedication and loyalty to his “racial comrades,” right on the Internet for easy listening. The eulogy ends with Hale proclaiming “Rahowa” – an acronym for Racial Holy War.

Should journalists give Hale and the National Alliance lots of publicity so people can see how ridiculous they are? How about organizing a big campaign to tell Hale and friends that the North Shore doesn’t want them?

Wonderful ideas, says Hale. In his eulogy, Hale praised murderer Ben Smith precisely for winning “more attention for Creativity.” In his mind, what he calls “white racialism” can only spread with more publicity.

And the National Alliance, which sponsored a couple of rallies with the Creativity Movement but then offended the “movement” when its leader, Erich Gliebe, called other white separatists bad names, does the same. Its Web site currently has stories from a Baltimore TV station and a Baton Rouge newspapers, both about “leafleting campaigns” in those areas, posted right there. There are others.

In other words, Matt Hale and the National Alliance its less-visible leader love to see their organizations’ name in print. They will love this column.

It’s maddening.

In 1999, Hale actually called me after reading a June 17 story about his henchperson’s first foray into our area.

“Facts,” he said. “They’re facts in our publication. We have distributed 100,000 of them in Massachusetts. And if somebody doesn’t think they’re facts, I welcome their challenge.”

Hale said his movement has 100,000 members worldwide. Well, actually, he admitted that some dropped out after Ben Smith’s murderous shooting spree.

“To them I say ‘good riddance,'” Hale said in Smith’s eulogy. Hale also claims individuals do not count as much as the white race as a whole; the interests of the group take precedence over the individual.

Uh, huh. Sure, Matt.

Listen carefully. He’s not even in favor of liberty for white individuals, as he defines them, just for the white race, assuming there really is one.

Sadly, Matt Hale is proof that America works as it was designed: it protects the rights of individuals like Matt Hale to speak their twisted little minds.

It works for the National Alliance too. You might even have heard of its most famous book, a novel called “The Turner Diaries.” Maybe not, but Tim McVeigh, the Olkahoma City bomber, read it; it was in his car when he was arrested. But who can favor censorship of books?

The National Alliance even publishes a newsletter for listeners to its radio program. The newsletter is called “Free Speech.” And what American can be against free speech?

Unfortunately, groups likes these leave us wondering what’s right. Do we write about their activities, their leafleting of Swampscott, or not? If we do, we risk giving people the information they need to adopt their philosophy. And if we don’t, we risk ignoring an evil tendency until it’s too late.

So I vote with the “write about them” team. They’re wrong on every point, flat out wrong. And if they said the sun rises in the east, I’d be suspicious.

So go ahead. Read about the National Alliance. And because journalists have long been taught to anticipate readers’ questions and try to answer them, here’s the answer: And for the other side, read and search for National Alliance.

Read. Think. Then ignore what you read.

George Derringer is editor of the Swampscott Reporter.

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Swampscott Reporter, USA
Jan. 8, 2004 Opinion
George Derringer

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 9, 2004.
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