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NPR Listeners React To Interview With Alt-Right Leader Richard Spencer


We're going to take a few minutes to hear your reactions to an interview on yesterday's show. That interview was with a man named Richard Spencer. He's a leader of the so-called alt-right. That is a white nationalist movement known for promoting racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny. We talked to him because this group has growing influence. The chief strategist in Donald Trump's upcoming administration, Steve Bannon, used to run a website that he called, quote, "the platform for the alt-right."


After the interview, we heard from a lot of you. Many of you thought we were normalizing the views of white nationalists. Carolyn Sherayko of Virginia emailed us this - (reading) I object to giving Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, airtime on today's show. His views are offensive and just plain wrong in the eyes of most Americans.

She goes on, (reading) the media have a lesson to learn in letting people like this earn legitimacy in the so-called interest of balanced coverage. I know about these views because I live among them. Do not give them a broader audience.

And Ellen McCain of Indiana wrote, (reading) there is no excuse for giving a platform for this kind of sick thinking.

MCEVERS: In Texas, Robert Fujimoto wrote in responding to Spencer's claim that, quote, "Europeans defined America." Fujimoto said, (reading) I feel I must remind Spencer that America was built upon the burden of non-European-descent peoples, from the African slaves that the people of European descent bought to the Chinese immigrants that built the railroads to the Native peoples who were so treated with disdain.

SIEGEL: We also heard from listeners like Kriste Rees of Arkansas. She writes this - (reading) I am crying over the airing of the interview with Richard Spencer on the alt-right. His awful, hateful, immoral statements conflict with every bit of what I believe about America.

Rees goes on to say, (reading) I do not fault you for airing the interview. I do fault you for waiting to air it until after the election.

MCEVERS: Lisa Okamato tweeted, (reading) I wholeheartedly believe in airing this interview. Choosing to ignore such a voice would equate to being willfully blind.

And we heard from Stefan Burton-Schnuell, who lives in New Jersey. He tweeted, (reading) as a 50-year-old German, I found listening to this deluded man very painful but also necessary.

SIEGEL: Thanks to everyone who listened and to everyone who wrote with your reactions. You can email the show by going to our website,, and clicking on contact at the bottom of the page. And you can tweet us @npratc. I'm @RSeigel47.

MCEVERS: And I'm @kellymcevers. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.