Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Invoking the Nazi Frame

Our fearless leader-to-be has understandably attacked and derided the unverified reports of Russian ties derived from opposition research that began during the Republican primary season. But if you are in his shoes, and if this is a pack of lies, which comparison is most apt? When lies are treated as believable as a start and gain credence through circulation, and are used to take down a political opponent. Looking back, if you are DJT, you might think of McCarthyism or maybe Soviet Russia.

But Germany in the 1930's? Where is the parallel there in the Buzzfeed documents? The only direct comparison to Nazi Germany is the one that has been made tentatively over the past 12 months and increasingly as DJT's march to power has progressed - the obvious similarity of Trump's tactics to Hitler's tactics. Fair observers have been reluctant to make the direct connection knowing that once you say "Hitler", with the enormity of his crimes against humanity, the possibility of reasonable dialogue goes out the window.  Instead, commentators have referred to "the 1930's rise of fascism" and the current state of the world.

So Trump's tweet "Is this Nazi Germany?" repeated in slightly different phrasing is simply a subtle, but effective tool of propagandism. Invoking the Nazi frame is a variation on tactic #11. When Trump makes a comparison to Nazi Germany, which means Hitler, he is populating the place in your mind where "Hitler" resides. Instead of thinking about similarities between Trump's rise to power and Hitler's, followed by a regime that behaves like Hitler, a significant segment of the population is being provided with a frame - "No, you guys are the ones like Hitler and Nazis!".

Our mainstream press has struggled mightily to perform within a self-imposed structure of now ancient rules of engagement. DJT will continue to distract attention from matters of real interest to American citizens. He will continue to assert his dominance over the propagation of information and deride the press, even when, especially when they do a good job. Confusion is his friend. After Obama is no longer president, many Americans will be caught up in the moment and start to forget how reassuring it is to have a president who levels with you, who is direct and sincere. President Obama is sincere. DJT is insincere.

The mainstream press is likely to struggle a bit less than they did during the campaigns because they are better at speaking truth to power than they are at reporting fairly and accurately on a "horse race" as they bend over backwards to seek false balance. Unfortunately, unless they can win back an audience that seeks the truth IN CONTEXT, many of us will find our information in the blogosphere while many others wait attentively for the next DJT tweet.

And isn't the more accurate and timely comparison When lies are treated as believable as a start and gain credence through circulation, and are used to take down a political opponent - no, not Nazi Germany - that is Donald J. Trump, himself.  Birtherism is but one example. So the apt Trump tweet would be - "Who do they think they are? Me?"

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