It’s hard to watch, but it’s required viewing. The Vice News report on the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville is a fascinating and disturbing trip through the inner sanctum of white supremacy, exposing a closely guarded but central tenet of the alt-right movement. The 22-minute episode cuts to the true motivations of the rally, contradicting in plain terms that among the participants were some “very fine people,” as the president claimed. As reporter Elle Reeve said afterward: “They didn’t talk about Robert E. Lee being a brilliant military tactician. They chanted about Jews.”
Embedded with organizers before, during, and after the rally, Reeve hears the unfiltered thoughts of white men who’ve turned their fear of irrelevance into explosive rage. They speak proudly of inflicting violence in Charlottesville and yearn for more. The interviews, with their spontaneity and emotion, feel like honest translations of the thinly veiled “America First” declarations made by those in Washington.
The episode, called “Charlottesville: Race and Terror,” can be viewed below. So far, it’s been watched more than 56 million times. Few contemporary media reports are as important to watch as this one to understand the portion of the United States’ population whose rhetoric is as confusing as it is deplorable.