You Won't Believe the NY Times Double Standard on Jason Aldean and 'Racist Vigilantism'

August 7th, 2023 6:46 AM

The New York Times looked ridiculous in several articles on alleged racism and "vigilantism." Jason Aldean's song "Try That In a Small Town" never mentioned race, but was somehow a call to racist violence. But a South African leader chanted "Kill the Boer!" -- an explicit call to violence against white South African farmers -- and the Times pooh-poohed it as a "far right" conspiracy theory. The Twitter account "Defiant L's" captured the headline contrast: 

On August 2, Times reporter John Eligon reported from South Africa:

The political rally was winding down when the brash leader of a leftist South African party grabbed the microphone and began to stomp and chant. Thousands of supporters joined in, and when he reached the climax, they pointed their fingers in the air like guns.

“Kill the Boer!” Julius Malema chanted, referring to white farmers. The crowd in a stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday roared back in approval.

A video clip of that moment shot across the internet and was seized upon by some Americans on the far right, who said that it was a call to violence.

But you're not supposed to take this as a violent threat, despite people pointing fingers like guns. It's the same way liberal journalists have tried to claim Iranians chanting "Death to America" should not be taken literally. Eligon said this "Kill the Boer" thing started under apartheid so it's okay: 

Despite the words, the song should not be taken as a literal call to violence, according to Mr. Malema and veterans and historians of the anti-apartheid struggle.

Similarly, he said, the phrase “kill the Boer” — the word means farmer in Dutch and Afrikaans — is not meant to promote violence against individual farmers. “It was a call to mobilize against an oppressive system,” Mr. Ngqulunga said.

Nomalanga Mkhize, a historian at Nelson Mandela University, said of the chant: “Young people feel that it rouses them up when they sing it today. I don’t think that they intend it to mean any harm.”

They didn't mean any harm with their finger guns, chanting about killing?

This is a much different standard than the Times on Jason Aldean. On July 19, Livia Albeck-Ripka touted the Aldean video was "filmed at the site of a lynching, amid accusations that its lyrics and message are offensive."

The video, released on Friday, was shot in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., a site known for the 1927 mob lynching of Henry Choate, an 18-year-old Black man, and is interspersed with violent news footage, including protests. An American flag is draped between the building’s central pillars, while Aldean, strumming a guitar, lists what he imagines as big city behavior that would not be well received in a small town; “carjack an old lady”; “cuss out a cop”; “stomp on the flag.”

State Representative Justin Jones of Tennessee, a Democrat, condemned the song on Twitter, describing it as a “heinous song calling for racist violence” that promoted “a shameful vision of gun extremism and vigilantism.”

It's amazing that leftists can hear a protest against violent crimes like "carjack an old lady" and automatically assume blacks are associated with it. Ben Sisario repeated the claim on August 2, the same day as the Eligon piece: 

Last week, Jason Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town,” which the country star portrays as a paean to neighborly values but critics have described as a call to racist vigilantism, opened at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, after its music video became a culture war battleground.

Now the song has ascended to the peak, becoming the first No. 1 single on Billboard’s all-genre singles chart in Aldean’s nearly two-decade career as a top Nashville hitmaker.