, 7 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
CNN brought white supremacist Richard Spencer on air to talk about how Trump’s racist tweets weren’t racist enough.

Great job, CNN. Really stellar work you’re doing normalizing extremism.
The problem with bringing white supremacists on air (to discuss anything) is that you’re inherently sending the message that their ideas are worthy of consideration — even though we know the endpoint of those ideas is violence, and ultimately, genocide. 1/
Richard Spencer and other white supremacists have explicitly talked about their desire to shift the Overton Window — meaning, to move their beliefs & ideology from “unthinkable” to an accepted (even if widely condemned) part of our public discourse. 2/

The idea behind the Overton Window is that today’s fringe ideas/beliefs can become tomorrow’s normal by shifting the boundaries of acceptable discourse. You do that by introducing people to more & more extreme ideas, so everything else seems reasonable in comparison. 3/
So it’s not that Richard Spencer being on CNN is going to make people suddenly accept his ideas or think Nazis are good. But when people get used to hearing his ideas, other extreme ideas start sounding kind of normal.

If you don’t think this is a strategy, think again.👇 4/
Overton Window theory posits that politicians are constrained by the boundaries of what the public considers acceptable political discourse. But if you can shift the boundaries, you can create space for politicians to do things/enact policies that were previously unthinkable. 5/
Every time CNN or another mainstream outlet gives a platform to white supremacists like Richard Spencer, they’re helping extremists push their ideas into the range of topics tolerated in public discourse. They’re moving those ideas closer to the center of political discourse. 6/
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