David Neiwert is a veteran journalist who has spent decades reporting on far-right movements in the United States. The Seattle-based Neiwert spent years reporting on extremist groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center. He is a regular at far-right rallies, where he likes to blend in with the crowd and observe. Neiwert has also published a number of books about the far-right in America. (Neiwert is also the author of books about killer whales and Japanese immigrants, among other topics.)
Neiwert’s most recent book is titled “Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.” The book, published in 2017, claims to contain “the most in-depth examination of Trump’s ties to the far right,” as well as an in-depth look of the far-right movements which, Neiwert says, have been steadily on the rise since the 1990s.
Now, Neiwert says, the images on the cover of his latest book may have gotten him suspended from Twitter. On Tuesday, people trying to visit Neiwert’s Twitter page saw the following message: “@DavidNeiwert’s account is temporarily unavailable because it violates the Twitter Media Policy.” A “learn more” link led to a page explaining Twitter’s police on “sensitive media,” which you can read here.
Neiwert Says He Was Suspended Because of the Images on His Book, Which He Included in His Twitter Profile
Neiwert told several of his colleagues that Twitter had suspended him because of the images on his Twitter profile. The author had included a photo of his latest book, “Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump” on his profile page. The book’s cover includes images of KKK hoods, arranged like stars across an American flag. (You can see the image here.)
Nick Martin, a freelance journalist, tweeted that Neiwert had sent a written appeal to Twitter after his account was suspended. Neiwert shared the appeal with Martin, who in turn shared it on Twitter. The appeal read, “My account was suspended because of the photo of the cover of my book in my profile. This book, ‘Alt-America,’ is a history of the rise of the radical right in the United States over the past 30 years. It naturally has an illustration featuring KKK hoods because that is its subjects. I am one of the nation’s leading experts on this subject, and it is insane that you would suspend my account because of this photo. I refuse to remove it on principle.”
Visitors to Neiwert’s Twitter account on Tuesday encountered a message reading, “@DavidNeiwert’s account is temporarily unavailable because it violates the Twitter Media Policy.” A “learn more” link led to a page explaining Twitter’s police on “sensitive media,” which you can read here.
Neiwert also wrote about his Twitter suspension in a post for Daily Kos, which you can read here. Neiwert called the suspension “stupid” and compared it to the suspension of others who investigate the far-right.
Neiwert Grew Up in Rural Idaho & Worked for Republican Campaigns as a Young Man
Neiwert grew up in southeast Idaho, where he says he remembers hunting, fishing, and enjoying the wilderness. He went to college and decided he’d become a journalist; he found work on a series of small-town newspapers and grew increasingly interested in what he saw as the rise of conspiracy theories. Neiwert also got involved in environmental journalism.
He told the Guardian that, growing up, his part of Idaho was home to a great number of anti-communist conspiracy theorists. Neiwert told the Guardian that he was exposed to conspiracy theories early — and this, he said, made him “immune” to them. “That’s probably part of why I’m immune to conspiracism,” he says, “because I got exposed to it at a pretty early age and I think by the time I was 12, 13, 14, I’d figured out that it was 90% bullshit.”
Neiwert also told the Guardian that he grew up a Republican in the years before the Republican party went, as he put it, “completely over the cliff”. He said that he worked on several Republican campaigns while he was a college student, before graduating and going into journalism.