CNN botched an exposé about white power rock bands by including the group Hatebreed (not a white power group) among a list of white supremacist bands. CNN eventually posted a correction but not before its fans made an impassioned defense: Sure this band has hate-filled songs, but not racist, white supremacist hate-filled songs!
The CNN story on bands like Fueled by Hate, Hate Crime, Jew Slaughter and White Terror was pegged to the revelation that Wade Page, the suspect of this week's massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, performed in two white power bands: End Apathy and Definite Hate. It was written by the Anti-Defamation League's Lonnie Nasatir and shortly after it was published, members of Hatebreed, fans and hardcore metal bloggers launched a campaign against the network..
As the heavy metal blogging community joined the story, Hatebreed vs. CNN became a thing. And bloggers added other media grievances to the list, like why all skinheads are assumed to be racist. "The media are morons and dont research before they print," wrote Tyler Walter on the Hatebreed fan page. "Its just like the media referring to a nazi as just a 'skinhead' when there are so many more subcultures with 95% NOT BEING RACIST!"
But if you really wanted to defend the group, you had to put your lyrical criticism hat on, which, surprise!, didn't always reveal the most pleasant things about the band with songs like "A Call for Blood," "Kill and Addict" and "Destroy Everything," as the Houston Press's Craig Hlavaty wrote in his defense of the group:
Hatebreed is in fact not a Jew-hating, racist, Nazi, hate-filled act. Their hatred is more geared towards people in your everyday life, like ex-girlfriends, local politicians and law enforcement, and other meanies. Nowhere in the band's history have they ever called for racial cleansing.
Obviously, it's preferable to be an equal-opportunity hater than the type of hater that focuses exclusively on religious and ethnic minorities. Still, there's something ironic about excusing a band's reputation by explaining that they hate everybody just the same.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.