What explains the parallel narratives of what happened in Charlottesville? As Axios’ Mike Allen put it, “These findings reflect the fact that, because of the nation’s partisan divide and fractured media, we no longer agree on basic facts. That makes civil debate impossible.”

Of course, it’s not hard to guess why the “both equally” narrative enjoys such perverse favor. The most prominent proponent of that logic happens to have the loudest voice in America.

In a press conference Aug. 15, president Donald Trump shrugged off the moral difference between agitating for institutionalized white supremacy and protesting those beliefs. Asked if the counter-protesters he described as “alt-left” are the equivalent of neo-Nazis, Trump ducked the question. This is how he described the violence in Charlottesville: ”You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”

Nearly nine in 10 Republicans agrees with the president, according to the poll. Democrats and Independents disagree at rates of 83% and 59%, respectively.

Trump’s go-to news source is Fox News, which has been banging the moral-equivalency drum and frequently absorbs the narratives put forth by alt-right media. And the theme they’ve emphasized in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy is the double-standard to which white people are subjected when they try to assert their rights.

It’s not surprising this motif would disproportionately appeal to Republicans. A lot of whites—and 86% of Republicans are white, according to Pew—feel that their economic and cultural interests have taken a backseat to those of minorities and that they’ve been forced to celebrate “multiculturalism” at the expense of their own ethnic heritage.

Update: This post was updated at 9:45am on Aug. 21 to indicate that the SurveyMonkey poll was not scientific. Specifically, the data cited in this story were based on an internet survey of 2,181 American adults conducted on Aug. 17 (see methodology). Survey respondents were asked questions about Donald Trump, Charlottesville, and racism in America, as well as demographic questions about their gender, race, age, and political orientation. 

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