As much as it pains me to say this, the following is not satire. Instead, it's another indictment of the 24-hour-news network's inanity and, perhaps, content-driven malevolence.
With a straight face, CNN has asked whether or not the KKK could, or should, undergo a contemporary marketing makeover to appeal to a kinder, friendlier hate. Don't believe me? I present you, then, with the following, from an 'article' entitled "Can the Klan Rebrand?"
[Imperial Wizard Frank] Ancona, who lives in Missouri, insists there's a new Klan for modern times -- a Klan that's "about educating people to our ideas and getting people to see our point of view to ... help change things."
He said he and those like him can spread that message without violence -- a sort of rebranding of the Klan.
The idea may sound absurd, but is it conceivable?
The supposed journalistic "occasion" for CNN's query is the mass shooting at Kansas City's Jewish Community Center, perpetrated by a known white supremacist
And it was some Pulitzer-worthy journalistic work, indeed. CNN, using unprecedented research methods, tracked down the Imperial Wizard by finding him on Twitter. "He has 840 followers." Then, they gave the Imperial Wizard a platform to describe the Klan's nonviolent, normative form of racial hatred, not that rogue kind used in Kansas City.
"I believe in racial separation but it doesn't have to be violent," the Imperial Wizard told CNN. "People in the Klan are professional people, business people, working types. We are a legitimate organization."
In other words, people in the Klan are like those who sent Hank Aaron vile, racist letters after he had the temerity to opine, regarding the right-wing opposition President Obama faces, that Klan members today simply hide in plain sight
"The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts."
Indeed, it seems Aaron and the Imperial Wizard see the same thing. Racists hiding in suits. Which begs the question any self-respecting, journalistic operation would ask, "Can the Klan rebrand?"
I have no words.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.