It’s early 2017, and the young reporter is attending a white-nationalist cookout in Pikeville, Kentucky. She and a photographer are surrounded by Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, who are “quietly eating fried chicken and biscuits out of Styrofoam containers.” Merlan describes a conversation with Brian “Sonny” Thomas, a man most famous for tweeting fantasies about shooting Latinos. He begins ranting to Merlan about the Jew-owned media and the pernicious influence of globalists.
“I’m Jewish,” she responds to him. She watches as his face registers “several different shades of surprise.” (Reading this, my stomach dropped 10 feet; Merlan, thankfully, emerges unscathed.)