President Trump’s response
Inevitably, that discussion includes President Donald Trump’s response to Charlottesville, and whether his “on many sides” equivocation in condemning the violence has further emboldened extremists.
Thompson approaches the issue from multiple angles. He tracks the way the groups communicate among their members, and spotlights how brazen many were about parading through the public square spouting racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric — brandishing torches while chanting “Jews will not replace us” — as well as videos of their training regimen and recruitment techniques.
The production also raises troubling questions about how effectively law enforcement and the military are responding to these growing concerns, which includes second-guessing from retired FBI agent Mike German and Rep. Keith Ellison.
“Documenting Hate” isn’t the first word on what happened in Charlottesville — Vice News aired its own stark coverage in the immediate aftermath — and surely won’t be the last. MSNBC has its own documentary airing this month, and “Frontline” will follow up with another project about Neo-Nazis in America in the fall.
These are not, admittedly, comfortable programs to watch. But “Frontline” is once again performing a valuable service by shining a light on such extremism, leaving the hope that sunlight really is, as often advertised, the best disinfectant.