A newspaper in Ireland has been accused of glamorising white nationalists by publishing a sympathetic guide to the alt-right.
"The alt-right movement: everything you need to know," was published yesterday by the Irish Times in the style of a glossary, including language some readers found offensive.
It came under fire for ignoring the white supremacism at the heart of the alt-right movement, which was instead described as:
"A young, energetic upstart faction of the Trump coalition heavily active on Twitter and underground forums. Characterised by nationalism, scepticism toward globalism and an irreverent sense of humour."
Other terms defined included "Blue hair" ("An aggressive, unpleasant feminist with brightly coloured hair"), and "Snowflake" ("A person with an unusual, potentially dubious, gender identity").
American white nationalist Richard Spencer, named in the article in reference to his haircut, retweeted author Nick Pell when he shared the article yesterday. Spencer was filmed leading a crowd in Nazi salutes for US president-elect Donald Trump last November. Trump has since disavowed the alt-right movement.
Irish-based American writer Pell, also published in the Washington Post, describes himself on Twitter as a "misanthropic extrovert", but has also claimed he is not a member of the alt-right.
The executive director of human rights group Amnesty in Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, was among those questioning the decision to publish an op-ed from Pell.
Irish Times contributor Maeve Higgins also questioned the decision to allow someone apparently sympathetic to the alt-right to write about the movement.
The Irish Times, which has since defended its decision to publish the opinion piece, was criticised online for "pandering to Nazis".
People offered their own, simpler guides to the alt-right.
John McManus, opinion editor of the Irish Times, defended the decision to publish Pell's op-ed, saying the article met the criteria of "stimulating and advancing arguments about matters of public interest".
"At a minimum it decodes a lot of the alt-right movement’s language and at best it gives a clear indication of its thinking and ideology," he wrote.
"There is a wider issue of to whom we should or should not give a platform in The Irish Times. There are limits of course, but fundamentally we don’t subscribe to the notion of denying a platform to people we don’t agree with or that will provoke strong debate, as the Nicholas Pell piece has done. We have, for example, recently run trenchant pro- and anti-abortion pieces."
McManus acknowledged that some of the language in the piece had "clearly offended people". He said it was felt that leaving it in "gave a deeper insight into the nature" of the alt-right.
But he insisted the Irish Times was "unambiguous" in its opposition to what the alt-right stands for.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Pell.
Matthew Champion is a deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Matthew Champion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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