Donald Trump’s attacks on “the enemy of the people” aren’t random outbursts.
At an election rally in Cleveland in October 2016, two supporters of Donald Trump were captured on video shouting, “Lügenpresse!” What was going on? Why would people who are looking to Trump to “Make America Great Again,” be shouting a German word at one of his events? And what did it mean? The “lying press” — an idea at the heart not only of Trump’s campaign and presidency, but of his entire worldview.
The news media, Trump complains, treats him unfairly. It does not report all the positive news about his campaign and then his presidency. Instead, he insists, it lies to the public, publishing what he calls “fake news.” Within the confines of Trump’s community of supporters, stories critical of Trump are seen as lies, as phony left-wing propaganda. They’re not to be believed. As it turns out, the use of the term Lügenpresse happens to be quite illuminating. It sheds light on a connection between Trump’s political approach and that of Hitler in the 1930s, when one also heard that word used quite often.
The point at which politics shifts from truth to lies, from opponents to enemies, is the point at which democracy dies.
The term Lügenpresse has its origins in Germany during the First World War. Initially intended to counter allied propaganda campaigns (a good deal of which we now know to have actually been accurate) the Nazis used it to attack hostile media. And considering the central role of anti-Semitism in Hitler’s worldview, it was a particularly effective weapon. The idea of a Jewish-dominated press stretched back decades. By the 1920s it was all but an unspoken assumption within German anti-Semitic circles. So now, if the press was critical of the Nazis, the explanation was clear: the Jews. And since, according to Hitler, Jews were fundamental enemies of Germany, the press, too, was the enemy of the people.
Use of the “Big lie”
As with so much of Nazi propaganda, the description of an opposition press based on lies was a classic case of projection. Hitler based his whole approach to politics on lies—something he made no secret of, having described his strategy of the “Big Lie” in his memoir, “Mein Kampf.” …
- CNN’s Acosta Strikes Back At Trump For Calling Him An ‘enemy of the people’ And Details Death Threats He’s Received — In an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning,” CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta lashed out at Donald Trump and his aides for how they have treated the press — saying he has been deluged with death threats after the president’s attacks. Speaking with CBS correspondent Chip Reid, Acosta — who is promoting his book “The Enemy of the People — A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth In America” — said his job is not to just report what Trump and White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders say, but to call them out for obvious lies. … Read the Rest and 6-Minute Video
Russian Investigative Journalist Released After Colleagues Protest
By Andrew Roth
The Guardian (6/9/19)
The surprise decision to move Ivan Golunov to house arrest follows an outpouring of support for him led by other prominent Russian journalists. Hundreds of people queued to picket police headquarters over the weekend.
Russian courts very rarely release suspects in drug cases from custody, and friends and colleagues heralded the decision as a minor triumph, though they also warned that Golunov still faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of drug possession with intent to sell.
“I have no emotions,” said Galina Timchenko, the editor-in-chief of Meduza, where Golunov works. “This is not a victory, this is the first step toward liberating Ivan.”
Timchenko thanked supporters for helping to protect Golunov, saying his life would have been in danger in a detention centre. “His mother called and said that dinner is waiting for him,” she added.
Golunov has investigated state corruption and illicit business practices and was reporting on a scheme to corner the market in funeral services before his arrest. He had been receiving threats before he was taken into custody last week. …