Yesterday, someone tweeted out a video purportedly of a random guy being beaten into a “coma” by antifa goons who mistook him for a “Nazi.” It read, “Man walking to grocery store in Berkeley mistaken for being a Nazi is beaten into a coma.” That tweet has since been deleted, but you can see the screen cap below.
I tweeted that the goons in the video deserved jail sentences. Later, it became clear that the original “coma” tweet was inaccurate or incomplete and that the video had been clipped from a longer video shot by Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer. Over the course of the day, I tweeted several times that I thought the coma thing was hyperbole and unverified. I tweeted out a link to an account from the man who heroically threw himself on the man being beaten. Later in the day, Bauer and others demanded I delete the tweet because it pushes “fake news.” He’s now going after Joe Scarborough for retweeting my tweet.
— Shane Bauer (@shane_bauer) August 29, 2017
But here’s what I’m confused about. The video shows the beating. Here’s Bauer’s original tweet:
Antifa beat down apparent alt-righter. pic.twitter.com/WVdDJqLKmA
— Shane Bauer (@shane_bauer) August 27, 2017
I’m perfectly happy to retweet this video out with the caption “these people deserve jail sentences.” (In fact, I think I will after I post this.) Why? Because whether the man is an alt-righter or not is utterly irrelevant.
The best Bauer could do in his original tweet was call the victim an “apparent alt-righter.” What made it apparent? That he was being beaten?
Bauer was content to leave it at that, which I find inexplicable. But this and the reaction to it strike me as symptoms of a much larger problem. Countless people rely on the fallacious reasoning that antifa is “anti-fascist,” therefore anyone they fight must be fascist.
“Antifa” is short for anti-fascist. The only ones who should oppose antifa are fascists.
— Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) August 27, 2017
That’s not how it works. First of all, it seems pretty obvious that antifa’s definition of “fascist” is remarkably elastic, including defenders of free speech and mainstream conservatism. I for one refuse to defer to masked vigilantes as the…