The Nation, “Advertising, and Bigots, Oh My!

Eric Ward • Jun 16, 2008

Before I get to the point at hand, let’s set a few things straight. Before you accuse me of censorship you should know that I oppose any government interference that infringes on freedom of speech, curbs freedom of press, or restricts American’s ability to petition the government. Maybe it’s the civil libertarian in me, but I embrace the concept of free speech whole-heartedly. So, you may find it strange to hear that I’m pissed at The Nation for utilizing our First Amendment right to run a full-page advertisement sponsored by some bigots in the June 16, 2008 issue.

The Nation is part of a long line of venerable political magazines in the United States, like the right-conservative National Review to the left-liberal Mother Jones. The magazine is one of America’s oldest political rags and runs current political news stories and commentaries. Founded in 1865, The Nation made history when it took leadership against slavery to strengthen American identity by proclaiming itself an abolitionist newspaper. Nearly 150-years later, The Nation appears eager to jettison its past by selling America’s oldest political magazine to the highest bigot.

Nearly one year ago (May 14, 2007), The Nation allowed an organization called The Coalition for the Future American Worker (CFAW) to run a full-page advertisement that contained a plethora of misinformation to exploit and divide the African American community. Even more, The Nation failed to tell its readers that CFAW is really a front group for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national anti-immigrant organization that has accepted millions of dollars from a foundation that funds scientific research to prove that white Americans are biologically superior to African Americans.

Would The Nation accept a full-page ad by the Ku Klux Klan? Would The Nation accept a full-page ad endorsing domestic violence? Would The Nation accept an ad denying the Holocaust? If not, why should demonizing immigrants be any different?

The Federation for American Immigration Reform has very little to do with the national debate on immigration. Instead, FAIR repeatedly injects bigotry and racism into America’s national dialogue on immigration reform. For instance, FAIR does have an interesting history of accepting 1.2 million dollars from a racist foundation (the Pioneer Fund), employing a staff member who belonged to the reconstituted white citizen’s council (Council of Conservative Citizens), and has a board members who maintains ties to political extremists, including white supremacists.

Thru front groups, like CFAW, FAIR is committed to turning Americans against one another. FAIR and its ilk can’t be satisfied by dividing conservatives, they have to split liberals as well. You would think that after twenty years of sustained attacks on liberals by conservatives during the so-called “Culture War,” The Nation would have learned a valuable lesson. Perhaps it has, but I think the wrong one.

The Nation should want its readership to have proper information to make informed opinions, particularly when it comes to advertisements that serve to promote racism and bigotry. Instead, The Nation has decided to show its readership that if someone is trying to divide and confuse your country, the best thing to do is assist racists’ in their effort while making a buck too.

This June, The Nation ran another one page ad sponsored by FAIR, twice! This time, along for the ride, are four other organizations (American Immigration Control Foundation, Social Contract Press, NumbersUSA and Californians for Population Stabilization). Each organization claims to be concerned about immigration, but seem more comfortable associating with organized racism. This time rather than just allowing these bigots access to The Nation’s Black progressive audience, The Nation decided to expand access to progressive environmentalists as well. Once again, instead of giving readers the tools to defend themselves against a racist assault, the magazine hides behind its advertising policy. Unbelievably, The Nation attempts to cover its own derrière by telling those of us committed to one America that they have no control over what type of advertisements are published. Here’s what The Nation says:

On page 27 readers will find an ad paid for by America’s Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning. Needless to say, we disagree with the ad’s premise and politics. Our ad policy can be found here.

Instead of writing a flimsy excuse, The Nation should have used the valuable editorial space to tell its readers that the groups running the ads have relations to political extremists including white supremacists. Here’s what The Nation failed to tell its readers:

• American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF) executive director John Vinson has spoken often to the white nationalists Council of Conservative Citizens. AICF has also
utilized funding from the white supremacists/eugenics Pioneer Fund.

• Social Contract Press editor is Wayne Lutton, who is also on the advisory board of the
white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens.

• NumbersUSA executive director Roy Beck spoke to the white nationalists Council of
Conservative Citizens and writes for the racist Social Contract Press.

• Californians for Population Stabilization is funded by the white supremacists/eugenics
Pioneer Fund. One board member also attempted to recruit vigilantes to help overturn
affirmative action in Missouri.

Is this information left-liberal readers of The Nation would most likely like to know? Probably. Is it information readers will get from The Nation? Not likely. The Nation is too busy making a buck off of suffering immigrants.

Somewhere along the way, The Nation has forgotten the most important lesson of the 1st Amendment (freedom of speech for us regular folk). While even bigots have the right to free speech, none of us are required to build their platform.

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