UPDATE: Jason Whitlock responded to us on Twitter: "Your story is too hard on Dana Benbow. Check the 'contributing' sentence at the end of her article. USA Today unleashed 4 additional reporters on Benbow's story. She wrote one thing and then 4 other reporters joined the battle. Took 5 people to combat my opinion. "
Sports and culture commentator Jason Whitlock, who recently ended his partnership with Outkick, went on the attack against Black Lives Matter over the weekend. He didn’t do so without rebuttal from BLM-sympathizing USA Today.
In an email message to the Indianapolis Star, Whitlock said BLM is a "cleverly marketed slogan that provides cover for extremists to undermine racial progress and bully American citizens to support Democrat politicians.
"Despite the sweet-sounding name, Black Lives Matter acts as a racial divider, no different from the KKK."
“The rise of the Black Lives Matter social justice movement was spurred by the deaths of Black men, women and children across the U.S. during interactions with police officers, inspiring protests and calls for police reform. The Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups have terrorized Black communities, carrying out lynchings and destroying Black schools.”
Also in Benbow’s story defending BLM, Notre Dame professor and historian Richard Pierce ripped Whitlock's comments as a “provocative, inflammatory screed.” Pierce also differentiated the two groups because KKK rioters wore hoods to hide their identity, which “added to their intimidation.” Pearce said he’s never seen a hooded BLM protester, and their protest marches “correlate more strongly with events of inequality rather than the public election cycle.”
Benbow backed Black Lives Matter activities as “permitted events which take place under the protection of the First Amendment.” You know -- Constitutional acts like the looting and arson in Minneapolis last summer.
In excusing away the violent Antifa mobs, Benbow called them “loosely affiliated, left-leaning, anti-racist groups that monitor and track the activities of local neo-Nazis. The movement has no unified structure or national leadership but has emerged in the form of local bodies nationwide, particularly on the West Coast.”
A recent story on Antifa by the New York Post’s Jason Rantz lends some credence to Whitlock’s assessment of Antifa.:
“Last year, Dems allowed violent activists to hold their cities hostage. On both coasts and in blue-governed heartland cities like Minneapolis, left-wing rioting was met with sheepish apologies and acquiescence to insane demands. National Democratic leaders, meanwhile, denied that any rioting was taking place (New York’s Rep. Jerry Nadler) or that such a group as Antifa even exists (Joe Biden).”
Citing a History.com link, Whitlock said the KKK “used intimidation, destroyed property, assaulted and killed in an effort to influence upcoming elections.” It’s not a coincidence, Whitlock added, that "Black Lives Matter riots picked up during an election cycle and disappear after the votes have been counted.
"My analogy is far more substantive and accurate than pretending the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were an armed insurrection analogous to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Black Lives Matter, founded by self-described trained Marxists, has a stated goal of disrupting Western Civilization traditions and values."
Benbow shot back that USA TODAY's Fact Check team has previously denied that the Democratic Party founded the KKK. The KKK was "founded by Democrats, but not the party," the fact checkers concluded, hardly exonerating the party.
“The KKK is almost a paramilitary organization that’s trying to benefit one party. It syncs up with the Democratic Party, which really was a racist party openly at the time,” Jon Grinspan, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History curator of political and military history, told USA TODAY. "But the KKK isn’t the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party isn’t the KKK.”
Benbow also makes the spurious claim that, in the mid-20th century, the parties switched on race and the GOP became the more racist party. This ignores a lot of history, including the fact that a higher percentage of Republicans in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act than Democrats.