Inside Americas Far Right; Congressman Ritchie Torres


We take you beyond the headlines and help you understand what it all means for israel and the jewish people. I'm setting koga. And i'm on uber. Brashear cashman daniel umbro so is an independent filmmaker but as a former video journalist for the atlantic he most recently produced the documentary white noise which premiered in october and streaming now on amazon and apple tv to make the film. He spent four years with three well-known leaders of white. Supremacist anti-semitic movements. He's with us now to discuss how those four years inform his views on what we saw unfold last week at the capitol and the fallout sense. Daniel welcome to people at the pod. Thank you for having me. Thank you for the very kind introduction. Well let's rewind five years before the two thousand sixteen election you had just joined the staff of the atlantic as a video journalist. What were you assigned to cover. So i wasn't assign the topic. I was out in front of it and part of it was being young. I was a couple years out of school. I was lurking in weird corners of the internet. At the time. You know all right now obviously as a household name. It's in the site geist many of the figures in my film especially richard spencer are essentially household names. He's synonymous with david duke at this point. If you go back to twenty sixteen. When i started covering the movement these groups were not getting a lot of attention and they really organized and mobilized online so as someone who is younger who is looking for that next story i was lurking on red. I was looking at different chat forums. I even you know peeped into four chan which no one should do without preparations and pretty quickly. I realized that there was an immense amount of energy behind candidate trump much more than the other sixteen republicans that were that were on the debate stage in that. He was humiliating each night. So i brought it to my editors said. Hey guys are you paying attention to this and they said you know. They said things that everyone was noticing that yeah. I'm noticing some trolling on twitter. I'm noticing that a lot of jewish journalists in our black journalists journalists are getting more hate than they used to but there wasn't really in understanding this was trump's base that these people were mobilized behind the candidate who they called somewhat jokingly the god emperor so i pitched covering the outright and it began with a series of short documentaries and articles one of which was a documentary on spencer back before he was well known and one was doing that documentary. I caught a room full of people breaking out into nazi salutes. It was a a really viral video at times. And i think it really clarified something that needed to be clarified. Which is at the alt-right. Wasn't this fun edgy. kind of conservative. Unlike you had been being described in the press it was fundamentally a racist movement white nationalist movement in anti semitic movement and then from there continue to cover the movement. When charlottesville happened eight months later we understood. This had to be a deeper investigation. Jeff goldberg the editor in chief gave me the room to pursue a feature length film when detail that i found very compelling. Is that that moment that you caught those nazi salutes. That was at an event in dc and it was after most of the journalists who had been covering that had left right. I mean you stayed and saw that happen in my recalling that correctly that is right so i mean it's two things one is that i had been talking to richard for months so i had negotiated inside access. He you know he allowed me to be in the room with him when other people weren't and you know that was the genesis of white noise. White noise is all about how people existed private spaces many of the contradictions that that entails but another thing was yeah i was younger. I was eager. I was looking for the story and i was absolutely horrified by whatever seeing so stuck around i mean it was three days probably sixteen eighteen hour days at the end of the third day which gave the speech talking about things about how to be. White is to crusader to be a conqueror. He said for us. It is conquer or die and when i heard words like that across as a through line across the conference i understood that it had to stay till the end so when night ended. I think it was ten or eleven o'clock it was just me and a from the new york times. He filed a written story in and i published the video in both of which really helped shape the way we understood what the is all about well so so talk about negotiating that access. You said you had been spending time with spencer for months. How did you negotiate access to him and two others that you included in the film. Richard is a little bit easier. It's sort of a cliche that all of these people love press presses bad press. That's true to some extent all of them want to be in control of interview. So there's a lot of conversation rightfully so about platforming. What is the appropriate way to cover them. All of them are happy to give you a quick quote. They love to combative interviews. So many reporters the best way to cover them to do a sixty minute style showdown in my view. That's the wrong way to cover them so prepared. They're very savvy. They're quick on their feet and they're going to know how to chop it up for social media. Use it to amplify their messages for me right away. The goal was to gain unprecedented access inside the movement to understand who they are as individuals who are as people to understand motivations and very quickly realized to really capsule so many contradictions at the core of these individuals. So mike cerna vich. He claims to be an alpha male who other men how to live. I realized that he took most of his money from his first wife alimony. He's off his first wife's money who is very successful. In silicon valley he tweets things like diversity is code word for white genocide. Wife is persian and he has half persian kids. Lauren southern the third character in the film with next to impossible to get access to it took eight months of negotiation.

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