Wonkette: CNN looks into whether KKK can rebrand as kinder, kooler, kuddlier, possibly with happy meals

The KKK holds a small rally in Gettysburg National Military Park in 2006 — photo by Bill D’Agostino


On Sunday, CNN finally found something other than Flight 370 to be blindingly stupid about, asking whether, in the wake of the murders of three people at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas last week by racist and anti-Semite Frazier Glenn Miller, it might be possible for the Ku Klux Klan to “rebrand” itself. Spoiler: After consulting with a number of marketing experts, they decided that the answer is pretty much “no.” Still, it was an important enough question that CNN figured it was worth looking into, especially since Kinder and Gentler Klan leader Frank Ancona politely volunteered to share his message of nonviolent white supremacy with the network.

Despite plenty of skeptical headlines — ours included — the piece isn’t really suggesting that all the KKK needs is a nice makeover; instead, it just clumsily sounds like that’s what it’s getting at. Yes, it’s a badly-packaged look at why merely rebranding the KKK would never work. That’s just about as perfectly CNN as a CNN story can get.

The piece, by CNN’s Ashley Fantz, starts with Frank Ancona’s lament about the Kansas shootings: “What this guy just did set back everything I’ve been trying to do for years,” and asks — rhetorically, fortunately — whether there’s a chance in hell that something as vile as the KKK actually could be rebranded. Big surprise: the branding gurus Fantz consults pretty much agree that the KKK has a worse problem than just its image. There’s the whole history of being a violent hate group thing that kind of gets in the way, and that’s not helped even if you swear that you’re not “enemies of the colored and mongrel races.”

So, no, even if the Klan were to “change its name, get a smooth-talking spokesperson, replace the robes with suits and take off those ridiculous hats,” it would still be the Klan, and wait a goddamn minute, how did Fantz even write that sentence without immediately mentioning David Duke, who actually did drop the robes for a suit and got himself elected to the Louisiana House, and then made a serious bid for Governor in 1991? (Duke does get mentioned later in the article, but almost as an afterthought.) But while that might work for one guy, as it did for Duke, we’re supposed to be reassured that it wouldn’t work for the KKK as a whole. Not even if they pretend to renounce violence, which is kind of their brand, no matter what.

So, excellent job, CNN, you answered your very important question: The KKK can’t rebrand and make itself loved by the nation. But it sure as hell can get Klansman Frank Ancona onscreen on CNN by asking the question.

[CNN via RawStory]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He doesn’t have much of a brand. Or even a tattoo.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!


July 2020 marks Little Village’s 19th anniversary. With our community of readers alongside us, we’ll be ready for what the next 19 have in store.



$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.