Dear fellow Poets,
Last week, The Quaker Campus published a letter from a Mr. Mark Alan Peter that was a response to my article “Brace Yourself for Trump’s Alt-Right Cabinet” (See Volume 103 Issue 12 page 2). That letter spewed false information. This letter that I am writing is not meant to change Mr. Peter’s mind. Instead, it is meant to address Mr. Peter’s false information and present you with the truth.
First of all, my article was about the dangers of Mr. Bannon, not Mr. Brannon with an ‘r’, as Mr. Peter called him in his letter. As many of you should know, Bannon is a controversial figure because of his affiliation with the Alt-Right. While Mr. Peter does not believe that Bannon has any ties to the Alt-Right, in an interview with the Investigative Fund, Bannon himself said, “We’re [Breitbart News] the platform for the Alt-Right.” If you read my article, you will know that I referred to Breitbart News as being prejudiced and discriminatory. Go to their website, and I am sure you will come to the same conclusion.
Mr. Peter argued that there was no way Breitbart News could be racist because they employ the Jewish “gay Milo,” which is an insulting way to address someone as Mr. Peter did. Judaism is not a race. According to chabad.org, a site run by those who practice Judaism, while “the Jewish people began with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, many people have converted to become Jewish. Today, there are African Jews, Japanese Jews, even Eskimo Jews. It seems difficult to call such a mixture a ‘race.’”
That being said, just because Breitbart News has one Jewish man working for them does not mean that they are not racist. In 1965, then New York Times reporter McCandish Philips exposed the Orthodox Jewish background of senior Klu Klux Klan (KKK) official Dan Burros. Burros was raised Jewish but grew to hate Jews. He joined the Nazi Party and then the KKK. Having a Jewish man work for Breitbart News is a brilliant way to inoculate Breitbart News against charges of white supremacist anti-semitism. And while Milo Yiannopoulus, the man that Mr. Peter is referring to, might identify as a Jew that does not mean he is not prejudiced toward other minority groups.
Moreover, Mr. Peter says that the students of Berkeley violently protested against Yiannopoulus. However, according to Berkeley News, “The violence was instigated by a group of about 150 masked agitators who came onto campus and interrupted an otherwise non-violent protest.” The “non-violent” students were protesting Yiannopoulus, an associate editor for Breitbart News, because he, like Bannon, is also a controversial figure. However, Yiannopoulus is controversial not because he is gay but because he frequently makes misogynist, racist, homophobic, and transphobic remarks.
Back in July 2016, The Washington Post reported that Yiannopoulus was banned from Twitter after leading a “racist abuse campaign” against actress Leslie Jones, whom he said was “barely literate.” Yiannopoulus made fun of Jones for how she responded to the racist tweets. He even tweeted out fake screenshots that made it appear as if Jones were making offensive posts.
While on his “Dangerous Faggot” college speaking tour (yes, that is what he calls it), Yiannopoulus verbally attacked a transgender student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. According to Journal Sentinel, Yiannopoulus claimed that the student was a man trying to find a way into the women’s restroom. He then said, “The way you know he's failed [his transition from male to female] is I can still bang him.”
Those two examples I just gave are a couple of reasons the students at Berkeley protested. While I understand the anger of the rioters, I want to be clear that I don’t condone the actions of the agitators and that Mr. Peter was incorrect in accusing the Berkeley students of the violence.
Another issue Mr. Peter stated was that I used “fake news” to get my point across. However, according to mediabiasfactcheck.com, though the New York Times, CNN, and New York Magazine may be slightly more liberal publications, their factual reporting rates are high. Politifact calculated that 80 percent of CNN articles are somewhere between half true oto absolutely true. As for Breitbart News, it leans towards the extreme right and its factual reporting rate is mixed, meaning that they are not a reliable source.
What I find ironic about Mr. Peter’s letter is that he demands that I cite 15 sources and yet, sources are nowhere to be found in his letter. How does Mr. Peter know that the “Chinese want to censor [media outlets] and shut down what they deem as fake news”? Wouldn’t that only affect China, which would have no impact on our first amendment rights as Mr. Peter claims they will? Does he have evidence that “homosexuality is contrary to physiology, world religions, morality, genetics, evolution, and history,” as he claims he does? And what point was Mr. Peter making when he said that “Jon Trott’s book proves the thesis of his book”? Shouldn’t his book prove its own thesis? Or are two separate books being referenced in this statement? If I am to be criticized for my opinion for lacking 15 sources that are not “fake news,” then Mr. Peter should have some evidence to back up his argument, as well.
It saddens me that an alumnus does not know how to structure his argument or get his points across accurately. Remember, fellow Poets, to cite your sources, check your spelling, make your points clear, and beware of misinformation. We are living in a time where it can be hard to distinguish reliable sources. The key here is cross-checking. Don’t take any story at face value. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is better to make sure you have the correct information.