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Interviewing a white nationalist

by on October 11, 2013

The NYT’s John Eligon: “I was in tiny Leith, N.D., (population 24), approaching the rickety house of a white supremacist. Would the sight of me, a black man, at his door startle him so much that he would shoot first and ask questions later?” Here’s the account.

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One Comment
  1. This article is interesting because it brings up a number of issues we’ve discussed in class so far. The most immediate issue is interviewing someone who is so blatantly offensive and against your personal beliefs. It is easy enough to say that you could be professional in such circumstances, but I’m not sure that I could stay neutral and calmly continue asking questions when I so disagree with the answers. Eligon calls his tactic a “wall of professionalism” in his personal account of the interview linked to above, which I think is an accurate way of describing the very intentional way a professional needs to be maintained in an interview like that. The article itself brings up a different issue we’ve discussed more recently – the use of online, technically published material like the content on material on message boards. In addition to interviews with Cobb and those familiar with him, Eligon quotes posts on “white power message boards.” It would be interesting to know if Eligon talked to Cobb about quoting his online posts in his article, because legally they are published material so it comes down to an ethical choice.

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