Richard Spencer apparently has people talking again as he prepares to make a speech at the University of Florida.
In case you are unfamiliar with Spencer, he basically believes in white nationalism and a demographic heavily skewed towards those of European ancestry.
As a Jewish man, I find Spencer’s views to be both wrongheaded and bigoted.
I also find much of the media attention he draws and violent reactions towards his presence to be the absolute wrong way to combat his ideas.
Over the past two years, stories have been written about the “alt-right” and how conservatives are going to have to deal with the influence and popularity of people like Spencer.
The problem is, this is a completely false narrative. Spencer does not have any major influence or following. In fact, up until the media started building him up, virtually nobody even knew who he was.
He was just an obscure individual with a fringe think tank until he started being given all kinds of attention because he coined the term “alt-right” and many wanted to tie Donald Trump into that movement.
So they gave Spencer the spotlight he so desperately craved because they wanted to use him and his white nationalist views in an attempt to write President Trump off as a racist.
That’s why there was so much coverage of Spencer’s post-election event in Washington D.C., where he spoke to a room of maybe 100 people and jokingly shouted “Hail Trump” as a way to keep the spotlight on himself.
Of course, the media played it up like this was some large, dangerous group that was spreading hate across America. In truth, it was nothing more than a bunch of social rejects who found themselves finally being paid attention to ― not by President Trump, but by hordes of eager reporters.
Michael C. Moynihan of Vice News summed it up best at the time, joking on the Fifth Column podcast that when there are more reporters than people attending the event, you know the story is being way overblown.
For his part, I don’t really blame Spencer. I may not like his views one bit, but I see exactly what he is doing. He knows the media see him as a representative for what they believe vaulted President Trump into power ― white resentment ― and he is more than happy to soak up as much coverage as he can.
In essence, he is reveling in being a national bad guy, because it keeps people talking about him while providing the public with the illusion that he has any significance.
For as much media coverage as it received, even the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville only garnered several hundred racists who share Spencer’s views.
Truth be told, he has very few people in a country of 320 million people who take him or his ideas seriously, and nobody cares about him except those who wish to serve their own agendas by trying to tie him to President Trump.
If you are as disgusted with Spencer as I am, I suggest you remember, it is attention he craves, so stop giving it to him.
Tempting though it may be to shout at him or promote violent action against him, we would all be best served understanding that the best way to hurt Spencer and his cause is to simply ignore him.
Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157