Insisting that it was not a white supremacist group, Proud Boys Canada dissolved itself Sunday. The move follows an official designation of the violent far-right gang as a terror group by Canadian authorities.
In February, Canada said the group posed an active security threat and played a "pivotal role" in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in January by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. U.S. authorities have charged several members of the Proud Boys in connection with the Jan. 6 assault.
"The truth is, we were never terrorists or a white supremacy group," the statement posted by the administrator of the official Proud Boys channel on Telegram said. "We are electricians, carpenters, financial advisors, mechanics, etc. More than that, we are fathers, brothers, uncles and sons," it added.
Here's how Reuters (and outlets using its newswire, such as The Guardian) describe the Proud Boys today, in this story about the consequences of group's involvement in the sacking of the U.S. Capitol:
Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys began as an organization protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity in the United States and Canada, and grew into a group that embraced street fighting.
If it seems a little odd to lurch into such a benignly counterfactual description of the Proud Boys—the group was always violent, and even in its own acceptance-seeking terms was always "western chauvanist"—it's because it's pasted in from an old story. Here it is in January:
The Proud Boys, founded in 2016, began as a group protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity. It grew into a group with distinctive colors of yellow and black that embraced street fighting.
Reuters means Fred Perry Twin-tipped black and gold polos. It's more specific than merely "colors of yellow and black," which is vaguely associated with fascist groups. But we're shooting from the hip on deadline. There's a uniform, we know what colors are in it, but we don't actually know what it is and don't have the time or the nous to google it.
The Daily Mail plagiarized the line (and much else that shows "By Matthew Wright For Dailymail.com" meant "cobbled together from the Reuters wire") in a story about Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio:
The Proud Boys, founded in 2016, began as a group protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity.
This kind of thing is usually interpreted as intentional bias, but it's not. I've done this sort of thing writing for newspapers. Something to understand is that journalists mostly just crank out the work ASAP. The modern pace of content production is absolutely merciless. So the content passes through our fingers without consideration, just as the teleprompter goes through Ron Burgundy's mouth. You might say there's an unintended bias toward whatever politics this kind of rush favors.
This is how Reuters can post an unbylined article about the specific political and institutional consequences of the Proud Boys' involvement in a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, then glibly paste in "an organization protesting political correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity" to pad out the word count for its $35-a-month news service.