NBC “Today” host Megyn Kelly insisted that the “dog whistles” used by white supremacists on the internet were not “racist” when she used the same terms while working at Fox News.
Kelly interviewed former white supremacist Christian Picciolini, who wrote a book about how he “got out” of the movement.
“These white nationalist groups today are essentially a better-packaged version of what we were thirty years ago,” he said, explaining that skinheads decided to blend in so as not to turn off the “average American racist.”
The conversation inevitably drifted to President Donald Trump and whether he uses “dog whistles” to appeal to white supremacists.
“I do believe that there were dog whistles,” Picciolini replied. “But to somebody like me, I can tell you that’s a bullhorn. I heard them loud and clear. When they referred to globalism, I knew that they were talking about the global Jewish conspiracy. When they use terms like ‘the liberal media,’ those are terms we use to use but we use to call it the Jewish media.”
“Can I just say,” Kelly interrupted, “Having worked at Fox News for 13 years, we used to criticize the MSM [mainstream media], some would call them the liberal media and it didn’t mean that.”
“It meant, you know, left-leaning,” she said. “People who were not open-minded toward the views of half the country, conservative people.”
“That’s also the power of their marketing,” Picciolini noted. “They can take words that are hateful and massage them to get them into the lexicon to make it normalized.”
“So you pick something that is okay,” Kelly said, “a term that has nothing to do with white supremacy and you adopt it. And to your people, it has a very different meaning. Like, with a wink and a nod.”
“Absolutely,” he answered. “To the people I was involved with years ago, that is a high-five. That is a license to go out and be more violent. That’s why we’re seeing a rise in hate crimes, because they feel as though the administration today, if they’re not supportive of it are at least turning a blind eye to it.”
“The way he defied the country after Charlottesville, where he put both sides on the same moral plane, this is what people call dog whistles. But to people like me and in our network, it’s a bullhorn,” Picciolini said.
“It’s not lost on us. We recognize immediately the things that are said as ‘dog whistles’ speak clearly to the people in the [white supremacist] movement,” he explained.
“If we had a president 30 years ago who said what Donald Trump has said, we would have rejoiced,” he said, specifically pointing to Trump’s hateful rhetoric against immigrants and Muslims.
Picciolini said Trump’s remarks are like dumping a “bucket of gasoline” on the fire of racism that had existed long before him.
“It’s pretty clear that the perfect storm in this recipe for disaster is happening right now,” he said.