New York Times article on New Carlisle extremist brings condemnation

Published: Sunday, November 26, 2017 @ 2:21 PM
Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 12:39 AM

NYT reacts to Nazi sympathizer story

The New York Times published a long article this weekend about a New Carlisle man with avowed Nazi leanings, and some readers are saying the article seeks to make white-separatist leanings seem ‘normal.’

The story examines a 29-year-old welder and New Carlisle resident, Tony Hovater. The Times author writes that he met with Hovater and his wife at a Huber Heights Applebee’s restaurant, dined on turkey sandwiches with him at a Panera Bread and visited the couple’s home.

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Hovater expresses sympathy with Nazism and white separatism. The story quotes him as saying of Adolf Hitler “I think he was a guy who really believed in his cause. He really believed he was fighting for his people and doing what he thought was right.”

The article noted the books Hovater has on his bookshelf and recounts his ideological journey from “leftist” to “ardent libertarian” to “fascist activist.”

“He is the Nazi sympathizer next door, polite and low-key at a time the old boundaries of accepted political activity can seem alarmingly in flux,” New York Times Reporter Richard Fausset wrote in a story that appeared online this weekend. “Most Americans would be disgusted and baffled by his casually approving remarks about Hitler, disdain for democracy and belief that the races are better off separate. But his tattoos are innocuous pop-culture references.”

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Reaction to the article was swift. Some readers took issue with the story’s tone and general approach, which seems to dwell on Hovater’s low-key mannerisms, his cats, his fondness for “Seinfeld,” rather than his actual views.

RELATED: NYT accused of normalizing white nationalism in ‘Nazi Sympathizer’ profile

“What’s problematic about the story, ultimately, is not that it humanizes a man with repugnant views — he is, of course, a human,” said an article on the web site “Quartz.” “It’s the lack of any explanation to the reader of why exactly this story exists, and what the writer expects the reader to glean from it. Without that we have, essentially, a puff piece about a Nazi sympathizer.”

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Ezra Klein, a former Washington Post columnist and co-founder of Vox.com, tweeted: “The problem with this article isn’t that it’s about a Nazi but that it doesn’t add anything to our understanding of modern Nazis. Of course racists shop at supermarkets and play in bands and enjoy Seinfeld and own cats. That evil is also banal is not new.”

“This article does more to normalize neo-Nazism than anything I’ve read in a long time,” tweeted Nate Silver, founder of the data-crunching web site FiveThirtyEight.com.

RELATED: The problem with the NYT profile of Nazi sympathizer

Other readers blasted the Times for linking to web sites that sell swastika armbands and for normalizing “white supremacy.”

In a companion piece — “I Interviewed a White Nationalist and Fascist. What was I Left with?” — Fausset himself expresses some dissatisfaction with his story’s tone and laments that he couldn’t answer more fully questions about how this local man came to embrace his views.

“What prompted him to take his ideas beyond his living room, beyond the chat rooms, and on to Charlottesville, where he marched in August alongside allies like the neo-Confederate League of the South and the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement, which bills itself as ‘America’s premier white civil rights organization?’” he wrote “Where was his Rosebud?”

RELATED: Atlantic article looks at racism in region

“I still don’t think I really found them,” Fausset says of his failure to find meaningful answers.

Lee Hannah, a Wright State University political science professor, doesn’t believe the Times article answered any meaningful questions.

“And that is very problematic,” Hannah told this news outlet. “If there’s any value in this article, it is in reading the quotes of Mr. Hovater and see that he holds naive and uninformed views on the realities of fascism and historical monsters like Adolf Hitler.

“Any person schooled in history should be equipped to challenge his views. However, many will see that the reporter’s deferential treatment of his subject provides more of a platform for these views, rather than a condemnation,” Hannah added.

Glenn Duerr — a Cedarville University associate professor of international studies who has studied far right movements both in Europe and in the United States — said he believes he sees what the story was trying to accomplish, offering a perspective on a “young couple” who traffics in certain circles.

“It gives the sense of an average person in a group like this … it speaks to a new generation of people belonging to hate groups, alt-right groups, etc. As portrayed in the media, most people assumed that this (view) was dying out,” Duerr said.

But he thinks the article failed to give a sign of the breadth and spread of hate groups. And he doesn’t appreciate it when the media “cherry-picks” certain people for profiling in stories like these.

“I have to say, this is a very small minority, living on the fringe in general,” Duerr said. “Sitting in Ohio and the greater Dayton area, it’s offensive as well … the great majority of people living in the greater Dayton area are honest.”

In a response to readers Sunday, a Times editor said the story was one that needed to be told. 

“We recognize that people can disagree on how best to tell a disagreeable story,” wrote Marc Lacey, a Times national editor. “What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them. That’s what the story, however imperfectly, tried to do.”

Wright Patt: Workers to show up Monday even if shutdown still in place

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:46 PM

Wright-Patt workers to still go to work Mon. in event of shutdown

Thousands of Wright-Patterson employees were expected to report to work Monday morning for further instructions “to carry out orderly shutdown activities” if a partial federal government closure stuck at midnight Friday, base authorities said.

The scenario could be a replay of October 2013 when most civil service employees at Wright-Patterson were sent home on furlough at the state’s largest single-site employer with more than 27,000 personnel, but how many might be impacted in another temporary closure could not be answered Friday.

“It is difficult to determine how many employees would be impacted because a determination of the furlough parameters has not been released,” base spokeswoman Marie Vanover said in an email.

All military personnel, regardless of their job, would report for duty, according to the Defense Department.

RELATED: Threat of government shutdown wearing on workers

Those who stay on the job — both military and civilian — will not be paid until a Congressional appropriations bill is passed, according to the Pentagon. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force planned to remain open over the weekend unless it receives a shutdown order, according to spokeswoman Diana Bachert. She said the museum would issue an update to the news media, and post an alert on the museum’s social media sites and its website if it must close.

Retired Col. Cassie B. Barlow, installation commander of Wright-Patterson the last time a shutdown hit, said Friday carrying out shutdown activities were “very complex” and “all encompassing.”

“I feel sorry for the folks on the base right now and what they have to go through,” she said. “It’s very frustrating. It’s frustrating for the commanders, but it’s also frustrating for all of the employees because they are starved for information right now and they’re listening to the news …

“It’s a stressful time especially when there’s a potential to not get paid,” she said, adding it was “no way” to treat employees or run a business.

The Pentagon issued a contingency plan Friday that listed broad categories where employees may be allowed to stay on the job, such as police, fire and medical services and other duties deemed “essential” to national security.

RELATED: What if a government shutdown happened: Five things to know

The reverberations of a government shutdown would be similar to the last one struck in 2013, according to Air Force Capt. Hope Cronin.

“We are hopeful that there is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations,” she said Friday afternoon. “However, at this time, we must plan for a range of scenarios” that include a short-term stopgap funding measure, a budget deal or a shutdown.

Air Force reservists were expected to attend a previously funded drill weekend Saturday and Sunday at the base with the 445th Airlift Wing, said spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris.

Among other impacts, U.S. District Court in Dayton would remain open, federal Judge Walter Rice said Friday. “I don’t expect any immediate change,” he said.

RELATED: Will a shutdown happen? Wright-Patterson in holding pattern

The U.S. Postal Service mail delivery and post offices would stay open and Social Security payments would continue to recipients, according to authorities.

The Ohio National Guard issued a statement Friday saying the agency would continue national defense operations and respond to state emergencies.

At the University of Dayton Research Institute, which has millions of dollars in federal contracts employing some 200 people, some employees may be prevented from doing their jobs and the institute “would need to find other work for them as possible,” John Leland, UDRI executive director, said in a statement. “Other contract work might have to shift temporarily shift from a government installation to a UD facility.”

Those changes are “disruptive” and “causes waste at taxpayer expense,” he added.

Head Start education programs for pre-schoolers were expected to be open Monday if a shutdown occurred, but a long-term government closure may have an impact on operations, according to Barbara Haxton, executive director of the Ohio Head State Association in Dayton.

Truck flips on its side after hit-and-run collision, driver says

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 4:51 PM


            Middletown emergency crews responded to The Alameda and Superior Avenue Friday afternoon after a pick-up truck rolled over. RICK McCRABB / STAFF
Middletown emergency crews responded to The Alameda and Superior Avenue Friday afternoon after a pick-up truck rolled over. RICK McCRABB / STAFF

The driver of a Ford F-15o pickup truck said someone ran the stop sign at the corner of The Alameda and Superior Avenue on Friday afternoon in Middletown, causing him to lose continue and flip his vehicle.

The male driver said he was traveling on Superior Avenue when a white vehicle ran the stop sign and collided with his pick-up truck. The truck flipped on its side, and the driver was uninjured, he said.

READ MORE: No serious injuries among children in Butler County school bus-truck collision

The vehicle that ran the stop sign drove off, according to the driver of the pickup truck.

Middletown police were investigating the accident.

A tow truck flipped the pickup truck back over. It appeared the truck sustained major damage.

Dayton human relations official accepts Toledo job

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:47 PM


            Catherine Crosby, who has worked for Dayton for more than a decade, will become the Toledo mayor’s new chief of staff.
Catherine Crosby, who has worked for Dayton for more than a decade, will become the Toledo mayor’s new chief of staff.

The executive director of Dayton’s Human Relations Council has accepted a job with the city of the Toledo.

Catherine Crosby, who has worked for the council since 2005, will become Toledo’s new chief of staff, according to an announcement today from Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.

Crosby, a well-known community member,

serves as board secretary to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Ohio Advisory Committee. She has been the council’s executive director since 2012.

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“Catherine Crosby has been a tremendous leader for the city of Dayton,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said in a statement. “Dayton’s loss is Toledo’s gain.”

The Human Relations Council is in charge of civil rights enforcement for residents and investigates and adjudicates discrimination complaints related to housing, employment, public accommodation and credit. The council also assists minority- and women-owned businesses and promotes equal treatment of citizens.

Crosby, 40, who is from Cleveland, earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wilberforce University and a master’s degree in public administration from Wright State University.

“Katy has myriad experience that she will bring to Toledo to help continue our strategic improvement,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to use my diverse experience to implement the mayor’s ambitious plan for Toledo,” Ms. Crosby said. “Toledo has a lot of similarities to Dayton, including a welcoming community, minor league baseball, booming downtown development, and a great waterfront. I am looking forward to making new friends and playing an important role in Toledo’s continued growth.”

Amazon announces final 20 cities in the running for second headquarters

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:59 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

Amazon Announces Cities Still In Consideration For Second Headquarters

Officials with technology giant Amazon on Thursday announced that the company has narrowed down its list of possible sites for its second headquarters to 20 metropolitan areas.

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The company said it got nearly 240 proposals from across the U.S. Canada and Mexico.

“All the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Holly Sullivan, with Amazon Public Policy. “Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”