Hatebreed and their fans have been lashing out in reaction to the band’s inclusion on a list of white power bands posted online in a CNN opinion piece.
After last week’s massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, it came to light that shooter Wade Page was involved with white supremacist metal, a genre that uses the more aggressive sounds of metal and hardcore with lyrics that espouse hate.
The online piece on CNN was attributed to Lonnie Nasatir of the Anti-Defamation League in Chicago. It mentioned several bands with those supremacist messages, and included the Connecticut metalcore band Hatebreed on the original list.
However the damage was done, with Hatebreed taking to social media to express their dismay.
CNN fixed that story & said they “regret the error” but it still sucks to be labeled that when we’ve NEVER been down w/ racism.
— Jamey Jasta (@jameyjasta) August 9, 2012
— Hatebreed (@hatebreed) August 8, 2012
There are a few issues this controversy raises.
First, how did the error slip through?
Commenters, the band themselves, and some media outlets credit the original piece being a CNN story. However a quick look at the navigation bar, the byline, and the italicized first paragraph makes it clear that this is an Op-Ed piece. It was not written or reported by CNN themselves, but contributed by an outsider in order to express a point of view.
Does this recuse the network from editing and double checking the claims made? No, it does not. It is simply worth noting. However the speed with which the news organization corrected the problem and added a mea culpa should count for something. The author also apologized for the error.
The second issue: why was Hatebreed even included in the list?
It could be the band’s name, it could be the aggressive sound. However hardcore is like any other musical genre. Differences in lyrical content, song structure, or a band’s personal beliefs affects how they’re categorized.
To some the differences among sub-genres (like metalcore versus youth crew versus thrashcore) is total minutia. To others it’s life or death.
White power is a very real section of music. Acknowledging its existence is worth doing, as important as understanding the musical differences. Affiliation with such a genre is a serious charge, and the mention deserved the apology.
However it would also be worth it to not let this mistake overshadow the purpose of a greater story- making sure music is not used to instigate violence.
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