Outrage over 'terrible' Atlantic apologist piece on Louis Farrakhan

The Atlantic magazine faced backlash Sunday after publishing a piece that attempted to justify why Women's March co-founder Tamika Mallory has declined to cut ties with anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The piece by Atlantic senior editor Adam Serwer explained that "because of the [Nation of Islam's] ongoing presence in many poor and working class black communities, time and again Farrakhan is able to threaten the mainstream political ambitions of black public figures who, for good reasons and bad, choose to deal with him."

"[Many] black people," Serwer added, "come into contact with the Nation of Islam as a force in impoverished black communities ... who have been written off or abandoned by white society.

Activist Tamika Mallory in October 2017.

Activist Tamika Mallory in October 2017. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

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"They’ve seen the Fruit of Islam [the Nation's paramilitary wing] patrol rough neighborhoods and run off drug dealers," Serwer added, "or they have a family member who went to prison and came out reformed, preaching a kind of pride, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurship that, with a few adjustments, wouldn’t sound out of place coming from a conservative Republican."

The piece was retweeted by CNN anchor Jake Tapper and praised by CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski.

"There’s no excuse to not condemn Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic rhetoric but @AdamSerwer wrote thoughts I had been trying to articulate about why NOI has support in the black community and why some pols are hesitant to alienate his following," Kaczynski wrote.

Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold was less impressed, decrying the article as "terrible" in a tweetstorm.

"[T]hese are the greatest insights yet as to why Mallory, [Women's March co-chair Linda] Sarsour, et al are so stubborn when it comes to denouncing Farrakhan," Griswold wrote. "He was nice to them. Their critics are mean. Even a well-meaning ally saying 'that's anti-Semitic' felt like a 'personal attack.'"

"It's easy for conservatives to say 'the Women's March has an anti-Semitism problem,'" Griswold added. "I think the truth is bad, but not as stark: the Women's March is run by blindly partisan, emotionally stunted children, who view even the most reasonable rebuke as an attack."

Another Twitter user noted that "It's almost as if [members of the media are] saying there are fine people on both sides at a Farrakhan event," referencing Trump's remarks after the deadly riots in Charlottesville, Va., over the summer. "It was ridiculous when Trump said it and it's ridiculous when [Mallory] gets a pass."

A spokeswoman for The Atlantic did not immediately return questions from Fox News about reaction to the piece among readers or advertisers.