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"Anti-Fascist Front" article in WW biased and selective

The "Anti-Fascist Front" article in Willamette Week was biased and selective in its coverage. Two of the people quoted in the piece state that their views and actions were misrepresented by the author.
To the Editor, Willamette Week:

As co-authors of a scholarly study of neonazism, we both were shocked by the selective and biased presentation of our views in the recent article by James Pitkin, "Anti-Fascist Front." We wish to correct the record.

Chip Berlet: I do not quibble with the quote that appeared. Pitkin is well aware, however, that 90% of the interview I gave him was supportive of the public confrontation by the anti-fascists. Some folks in Portland's otherwise progressive community have a long and reprehensible history of tolerating and even promoting conspiracy theories tinged (or awash) with racism or antisemitism. I explained this to Pitkin in detail, and suggested for interviews several other well-know progressives aware of this dynamic. At least one was interviewed by Pitkin. While I am critical of certain tactical methods used by the anti-fascists, I otherwise wholeheartedly support their public condemnation and exposure of racists and antisemites.

Stanislav Vysotsky: As a sociologist doing ethnographic research, I try to remain a neutral observer when I am conducting field research. For Pitkin to imply I am secretly working with the anti-fascist group is inaccurate; calls into question my integrity as a scholar; and makes my work more difficult. What I told Pitkin was a summary of current social movement theories explaining how movements and counter-movements use tactical and strategic activities in propaganda, mobilization, and recruitment campaigns. Thus what I said can be found in scores of sociological books, chapters, and journal articles. I was speaking as an academic, not as member of the anti-fascist group.

Chip Berlet
Stanislav Vysotsky
9/23/2009

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