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White nationalism and the state of hate in America

The journalists behind Frontline’s ‘Documenting Hate’ series discuss Charlottesville, mass shootings and where we go from here.

Frontline’s ‘Documenting Hate’ crew

Journalist A.C. Thompson tells Crosscut Talks host Mark Baumgarten how he managed to uncover a new white nationalist group with the help of senior producer Sarah Childress, left. (Photos by Sarah Hoffmann/Crosscut)

In August 2017, hundred of white nationalists marched in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia under the banner of "Unite the Right" to protest the removal of a Confederate monument. The event quickly turned violent. At least 30 counterprotesters were injured. One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed. ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson wanted to know what really happened. His reporting took him on a yearlong journey chronicling the mainstreaming of hate in America. He teamed up with producers at PBS's Frontline, and the result is a pair of documentaries that chart the rise of a new, violent white supremacist group. For this episode of Crosscut Talks, we invited Thompson and senior producer Sarah Childress to discuss their work and what it says about the state of hate in America today. The conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.

The conversation begins with an audio excerpt from the first documentary in the “Documenting Hate” series. Both episodes can be viewed in their entirety at the PBS website.

 

Journalist A.C. Thompson
A.C. Thompson delivers a sobering message to the crowd at the Crosscut Festival: "I guess what we wanted people to understand is that when these people say that they want to kill, they really do," he says. 

 

Frontline producer Sarah Childress
"It's hard to parse who's just sort of talking, posting and making threats, and who's actually planning violence," says Sarah Childress. 

 

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White nationalism and the state of hate in America

About the Hosts

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten is an editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9 focused on news and politics.