In a landmark expression of idiocy, international news organization CNN has put together a handy little article on the future of the Ku Klux Klan. Accompanied by a detailed slideshow and about 2,000 words, the headline reads "Can the Klan rebrand?"
No, CNN. They can't. CNN reporter Ashley Fantz went in search of Klansmen on Twitter to validate her questions about what we might be missing about the violently racist and outwardly hateful organization.
@moklansman I'm CNN reporter who wants to talk to you re: condemnation of violence. Pls email me Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org
— afantz (@afantz) April 16, 2014
The lede alone cannot be topped:
Pointy hats, white robes, crosses burning, bodies hanging from trees.
Bodies hanging from trees, you say? Let's stop this debate right here! Seems like the Klan is full of unapologetic racists who murder people. But not so, CNN poses. Is there actually more to find beneath those wizard titles and white hats? (Still no.)
After the recent Kansas shootings by Klan member Frazier Glenn Cross, a supposed number of Klansmen came out in condemnation of violent racism. Plain old racism, enjoyed at home, is the best alternative. As Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona told CNN,
"I believe in racial separation but it doesn't have to be violent. People in the Klan are professional people, business people, working types. We are a legitimate organization."
Apparently, one of the KKK's biggest issues is that they don't have a clear leader, like some sort of KKK pope. This lack of leadership often causes infighting between different factions.
Without a clear leader, marketing experts said, crafting and conveying a spin-friendly message is impossible.
"This movement is a hodgepodge of little groups that, as often as they attack their enemies, attack one another," said Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups.
"To call these guys disorganized," he said, "doesn't quite do it."
Hateful white men: hard to organize. Overtly racist organization: hard to make spin-friendly. Can the KKK rebrand? Still no.
Luckily, CNN's subject (and sole KKK source for an entire feature-length article) was a pretty nice guy!
Throughout CNN's interview, Ancona was cordial and repeatedly said he wanted to speak with media about the Klan's message. He won't be able to divulge too many operational details of his group, he said, because fraternal rites and rituals bar him from discussing exactly what they do.
Fantz consulted with a host of marketing experts on the topic, packing up the package neatly with a conclusive, "Nah, probably not." Not to be outdone, the article ends as it began: full of unbelievable bullshit. From the mouth of an advertising agent, who compares humans to cars,
Or to compare it to a product, "if you have a car that is killing people because the gas tank is exploding, it doesn't matter how fantastic the ad campaign is for that car."