NBC just dangerously normalized the misogynistic, "alt-right"-associated society "Proud Boys" - 2017-11-06
The video troupe at NBC Left Field has created a glossy short documentary about the self-described "Western chauvinist" organization Proud Boys, uncritically presenting the group as an all-male "fraternal society of nationalists" aggrieved that men are supposedly under attack in America. The short documentary took statements from Proud Boys members at face value without giving audiences the complete picture of this violent-prone organization, which is actually a gateway to extremism like white supremacy.
NBC Left Field, an NBC News division that bills itself as "a new internationally-minded video troupe that makes short, creative docs and features," covered the Proud Boys as a quirky curiosity, naively presenting members' views as playfully eccentric as opposed to extremist and discriminatory ideologies. NBC team allowed the Proud Boys to normalize and mainstream their extremism by uncritically airing group members statements like "there's a mainstream societal attack on being a hetero cis white men," or playing footage of its founder Gavin McInnes saying, "I think it's fair to call me Islamophobic," without any pushback. And it did so without mentioning the ties some Proud Boys members have to white supremacy or their philosophy of violence, which they have organized around and acted upon, including in Charlottesville. No wonder McInnes, who habitually rails against mainstream media, was thrilled with the kid-glove treatment.
By presenting the group as a solution to the loneliness of men who feel targeted by what one called a "mainstream societal attack," NBC's Aurora Almendral inadvertently validated their grievances while failing to give her audience the full picture of what the boys stand for.