Everyone I Don’t Like is Hitler

trump hitlerRecently at Quadrant Online, Tony Thomas took a long, hard look at The Conversation, where academics pad the ledgers of their published thoughts with what is, in all too many cases, unmitigated piffle. It is a pity Tony did not wait a few more weeks because, had he done so, his argument would have been rendered iron-tight by the latest contribution to the taxpayer-supported vanity press of Brian McNair, professor of journalism, media and communication at the Queensland University of Technology. McNair’s insight – achieved, one suspects, by squatting over a mirror and seeing nothing but the familiar — casts Donald Trump as Hitler2.0 while imagining the Western world accelerating down the scree slope of a “slide into fascism.”

Know first that, while McNair shapes the young minds of those who aspire to newsroom careers, he is not a journalist by training. Rather, he is a sociologist (’nuff said?) who deconstructs journalism. If you have ever noticed the inane punctuation, asinine logic, misleading headlines and abuse of language that litter the pages of diseased and dying newspapers, the disinclination of those atop the ivory tower to teach basic craft skills might just have something to do with it.  In this regard, if no other, McNair’s column is a treasure, well worth a close examination.

Below, his lump-sized dollops of his extrusion in italics, each paragraph followed by commentary of the sort a dyspeptic subeditor might have given a first-year cadet.

As the results of the 2016 election came in, the mainstream media in America and around the world demonstrated their inability to cope with the challenge of a president Trump within the conventional paradigms of journalistic objectivity, balance and fairness. Or, rather, to cope without normalising the most conspicuously overt racism, sexism, and proto-fascism ever seen in a serious candidate for president.

“As the results” … make that singular; there is only one result. There were many “returns” from the various states and territories, but only one result – in this case, Mr Trump.

“conventional paradigms” … use this vile jargon again and you’ll be fetching Chinese food for the back bench all next year. Meanwhile, read Orwell’s Politics and the English Language.

“the most conspicuously overt” … look up “tautology” in the dictionary. “Overt” means “conspicuous”.

“sexism, and proto-fascism ever seen in a serious candidate for president” … allowing that your description of Trump’s views is accurate, which it isn’t, you must never have heard of the Know Nothing Party?

As street protests broke out in Portland, Oregon in the days after the election, for example, BBC World noted the police definition of the events as a “riot”, in response to what it coyly described as “some racist remarks” made by Donald Trump during his campaign.

You need a comma after “Oregon”. You most definitely do not need a comma after “a riot”.

And about that “riot”, which you intimate should not be describe thus, presumably because you agree with the rioters.  So what should it have been called — a disturbance? an upswelling of genuine grievance? politics by other means? Incidentally, I’ve found two BBC reports on the fracas, neither of which makes mention of “some racist remarks”. If you have a source for those words, please nominate it.

And since you’re citing the BBC, why have you neglected to mention that the Portland protesters, per the local police department’s description, were “carrying bats and arming themselves with stones. Objects were thrown at the police, who responded with pepper spray and rubber baton rounds”?

Watch the video at either of the BBC links above and see masked protesters flinging bottles at the thin blue line. As you mention your fear of “proto-fascism” in the very first paragraph,  wouldn’t it be accurate to describe this window-smashing mob as the real and genuine “proto-Brown Shirts”? Yes, but probably not. You seem to think rioting in a good cause is not rioting at all.

A man whose comments were denounced even by his own party chief Paul Ryan as “textbook racism”, and whose references to “grabbing pussy”, “a nasty woman”, “Miss House Keeping” and other indicators of unabashed misogyny horrified millions in the US across the party spectrum, was now president.

Congratulations, you got something right, sort of! Paul Ryan did describe Trump’s comment – not “comments” – as “textbook racism”, but you should have mentioned that the then-candidate was quite specifically addressing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was presiding over the Trump University case. Also worth mentioning, which you didn’t, is that former judge, White House counsel and attorney-general Alberto Gonzalez wrote in the Washington Post that Trump had good cause to question the judge’s sympathies and motivation:

…when he [Curiel] certified the class-action lawsuit against Trump, Curiel appointed the Robbins Geller law firm to represent plaintiffs. Robbins Geller has paid $675,000 in speaking fees since 2009 to Trump’s likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, and to her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Curiel appointed the firm in the case before Trump entered the presidential race, but again, it might not be unreasonable for a defendant in Trump’s position to wonder who Curiel favors in the presidential election. These circumstances, while not necessarily conclusive, at least raise a legitimate question to be considered.

Oh, and one other thing: After Ryan’s “textbook racism” remark, he warned that President Hillary Clinton would be a disaster. That would have been worth mentioning as well.

For the BBC, henceforth, criticism of even the most outlandish and offensive remarks – when judged by the standards of recent decades – would be severely muted, if not excluded. Suddenly, rather can call a spade a spade in coverage of Trump’s hate-mongering campaign, his ascendancy to office had legitimised those views, and the process of normalisation had begun.

You’re clairvoyant, apparently. The BBC will mute, possibly exclude, criticism of President Trump? Really? You must listen to a different BBC. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it is very difficult to make out your meaning, given the convoluted logic and elevation of personal opinion to “fact”.

Also, grammar: it should be “ascent” not “ascendancy” and “the process of normalisation” should be a simple “normalisation” (minus the misplaced comma preceding that phrase.)

The mainstream media have largely followed suit in this approach to Trump’s victory, bestowing a new respectability on what before election day had been generally reported as absurdly offensive statements and policies. One can without too much imagination foresee Ku Klux Klan chief David Duke becoming an expert commentator on CNN or MSNBC (or at least on Fox News).

There must have been an intoxicating air in the faculty lounge today. David Duke as a commentator on hard-left MSNBC or limpid-left CNN! Seriously, this is the sort of hyperbolic speculation one expects from a jabbering ninny or, alternately, an individual so accustomed to lecturing those disinclined to speak back for fear of poor grades and ostracism that unchallenged idiocy sports a crown and sceptre.

In News Corp outlets all over the world, from Sky News and The Australian here to Fox in the US, commentators and pundits were to the fore in constructing legitimacy around his policies, insofar as anyone really knows what they are.

This just plain wrong, blatantly and irredeemably so. Yes, yes, we all know that Rupert Murdoch is the byword for evil incarnate wherever left-thinking sorts control the common room and put each other on the payroll, but the Dirty Digger’s organs here, there and everywhere mostly opposed Trump. Let me give you a few examples, both foreign and domestic:

For background, here’s Michael Wolff detailing the dilemma Trump posed for News Corp, its founder, his heirs and assorted employees.

Here’s Fox News blonde Megyn Kelly at war with Trump. True, fellow Foxer Sean Hannity was an ardent Trump booster, but doesn’t their intramural discord speak of a plurality of views on Rupert’s cable network? Isn’t that what journalism solons should be advocating? Not all of them, apparently.

Here’s the New York Post editorial-page columnist John Podhoretz denouncing Trump again and again and again.

Here in Australia, The Australian’s Greg Sheridan loathed Trump almost as much as those protesters in Portland, albeit with fewer flying bottles. It was much the same with stablemate Paul Kelly, who hated Trump and still does.

As no mention of Murdoch’s dark imps would be complete without reference to Andrew Bolt, here is what he had to say about Trump in October.

This descent into normalisation of the hitherto unacceptable, occasioned by Trump’s democratically endowed seizure of political power as of November 8, is very similar to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in 1930s Germany. Hitler’s ascent, and all that came from it, was a product of free choices made in ballot boxes …

Really? Unless your pen is prompted by a masochistic yen for its owner’s public humiliation, do try to be hitler on a sledmore careful. Words have meanings and this clause  – “democratically endowed seizure of political power”  — is stupidity on stilts. If he was “democratically endowed”, then he didn’t “seize” power, he was awarded it.  I know you would like to punch Trump on the nose, but that is no reason to beat up the language in his stead.

As to your Hitler jibe, good heavens! What history books are you reading to believe that a democratic election in which one candidate beat the other is anything similar to the convoluted machinations that saw the Austrian Corporal installed first as Germany’s chancellor and then president? Just to acquaint you with the facts, Hitler never achieved a majority in any election. Unlike Trump, he did not win the chancellorship at the ballot box, as has Trump the presidency, but via negotiations that formed a coalition.

Your fellow Conversationalist, John Jewell of Cardiff University, offers a few worthwhile pointers when tempted to cite Hitler as the soulmate of those held in personal disdain. Basically, only the biggest dills make no effort to avoid violating Godwin’s Law.

… and of free media coverage which moved to the extreme right with the ruling party.

“free media” wasn’t quite so free as you seem to imagine. Take the Editorial Law of 1933, for example, whose restraints on free speech are excerpted here

But please, whatever else you do, don’t leave it on your computer screen, lest fellow academics catch a glimpse and decide that Hitler had a few good ideas after all – ideas like Section Fourteen, for example, which is reproduced below.

Section 18C Fourteen
Editors are especially obligated to keep out of the newspapers anything which:
a. is misleading to the public by mixing selfish interests with community interests;
b. tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich, in foreign relations or domestically; the sense of community of the German people; German defense capability, culture, or the economy; or offends the religious sentiments of others;
c. offends the honour and dignity of Germany;
d. illegally offends the honour or the well-being of another, hurts his reputation, or ridicules or disparages him;
e. is immoral for other reasons.

Then, as now, a demagogic populist exploited perceptions of victimhood and “anti-elitism”, targeting ethnic and religious minorities as “the enemy”. No-one forced national socialism on the German people, or on their media, nor on the many Western media such as the Daily Mail in England that spoke out in his favour.

You would say that, wouldn’t you.

Finally, after skipping with Hitler through a thicket of incoherence and tossing in a reference, apropos of nothing particularly relevant, to Northcliffe’s Daily Mail , you reach your climax, which is that the press abandon its existing, vestigial pretense of impartial analysis for ardent advocacy of the anti-Trump cause. Here it, your conclusion, in all its disgrace and arrogance:

Post-November 8, the mainstream media have shown their inability to engage with the enormity of what is happening in Western and global politics within conventional paradigms of objectivity. Left to them, the slide into fascism will simply become another news story, another “he said, she said” performance of balance, legitimised by the fact that this is what democracy has delivered. No matter that in the 1930s the same obeisance led to the Holocaust.

This tendency is not the fault of the mainstream media, nor of their journalists, who are simply applying the professional codes and practices with which they have been raised. But they will need to do better.

For those in the media who wish to stem a slide into democratically legitimised fascism in the next four years – and similar processes are now unfolding in Europe, Australia and elsewhere – it is time to rethink the appropriate response of “objective” journalism to the post-factual politics of extreme subjectivity.

It is, perhaps, too much to expect a modern journalism academic to be up on his Orwell, but this observation from the introduction to Animal Farm would seem highly relevant when considering what you assert is journalists’ obligation not to report on Trump but to assail him:

The issue involved here is quite a simple one: Is every opinion, however unpopular — however foolish, even — entitled to a hearing? Put it in that form and nearly any English intellectual will feel that he ought to say “Yes.” But give it a concrete shape, and ask, “How about an attack on Stalin? Is that entitled to a hearing?” and the answer more often than not will be “No.” In that case the current orthodoxy happens to be challenged, and so the principle of free speech lapses.

If one loves democracy, the argument runs, one must crush its enemies by no matter what means. And who are its enemies? It always appears that they are not only those who attack it openly and consciously, but those who ‘objectively’ endanger it by spreading mistaken doctrines. In other words, defending democracy involves destroying all independence of thought. These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you.

If that advice is unpalatable, if you find it morally offensive to be confronted by the notion that journalism should confine opinion to the editorial pages, no matter how righteous advocates presume their favoured causes to be, then here is some advice that is closer to home. You wrote it, actually, and it stands as sound advice for any and all visitors to The Conversation. In your case that last sentence has a definite ring of truth

mcnair quote

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online. Once, years ago, he was proud to be a journalist.



20 thoughts on “Everyone I Don’t Like is Hitler

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

    Trump’s victory only caused a minority of journalists and political pundits to eat humble pie. The rest are intensifying their efforts to abuse and denigrate Trump, reinforcing their position by spewing dire warnings of every imaginable calamity that is sure to descend on us under the leadership of such vile, evil monster. It will be amusing to observe the contortions of thought they will be forced to perform as one Trump policy after another is implemented and succeed in achieving its intended result. They will anxiously endeavour to exploit anything that fails or is slow to produce the desired result but the shaky terrain they occupy will be increasingly difficult to stand on. There is no need to apologise for the glee we shall enjoy observing their futile antics to justify their ignorance as the situation unfolds over the coming months and years.

    • Doc S says:

      Agreed Bill – I think the most honest statements made by most MSM journalists in the US were actually those made immediately after Trump’s election victory became apparent, even to the most rabid of Trump-haters. Recall the live broadcasts where there was almost a stunned silence followed by statements admitting that the impossible had, in fact, just occurred. Few felt inclined to chow-down on humble pie – note the tweet from our very own Barry Cassidy, for example. What became apparent to any objective observer was the complete loss of credibility for the majority of those same journalists – and their increasingly fevered attempts to deny, obfuscate and spin ever since that ‘moment of clarity’ when Trump’s election victory was acknowledged by each and every one of them.

  • Jody says:

    As I’ve said before, the antidote to wholesale Lefty propaganda in our institutions is FAMILY VALUES. I know of plenty of young people who’ve scoffed at the cultural marxism that passes for ‘courses’ and moved onto successful, middle class lives. So, there IS hope. My own son at CSU gravitated towards the son and family of a leading journalist at “The Australian”. “Nuff said.

  • Don A. Veitch says:

    I run hot and cold with Trump myself, because he is such a confronting person – just what we need! The brain dead left can’t think beyond the next ABC homily .

    Donald John Trump (DJT) personally, and his DJT PARTY INCORPORATED, (recounts notwithstanding) won the election. The GOP is still a horror show fossil, but the DJTPI victory is forcing a political re-alignment (USA & globally).

    DJT, personally, has already achieved ten staggering outcomes:

    1. ENDED the Bush dynasty;
    2. DESTROYED & made a laughing stock of the Clinton Family political machine;
    3. UNDID the 8-year Obama (‘Wall Street Democrat’) sell out;
    4. DEFEATED identity politics/ political correctness;
    5. PLACED real economics (tariffs, infrastructure etc.) back on the table;
    6. STARTED (tentatively), to build a sensible relationship with Putin’s Russia;
    7. SEIZED CONTROL of a main steam, western, national political party;
    8. Is ending terrorism, with Putin/Assad bombing ISIS/NUSRA etc. in Raqqa, Aleppo, Mosel;
    9. (maybe) destroyed the Democratic Party (as we know it).

    That is a political revlution,unfortunately, by doing all of the above he,

    10. saved the Republican Party.

    For 45 years (1970-2016) the Republican ascendency has been disastrous for 95% of Americans. In this Republican dominated period the nation lost every war (except against Grenada, which M.J. Flynn led??); de-industrialised; oversighted a 50% drop in real wages; Congress was useless and handed wealth to rentier class at Wall Street. Democrats were useless (Carter), or impotent (Obama), or worked as Wall Street Democrats for Soros, Goldman-Sachs (Clinton, Obama).

    The Emerging Republican Majority by Kevin Philips successfully predicted back in the late 1960s. what is now over. That nice little winner for Wall Street is now dead, ended by the rogue Trump. But, the traditional owners of the GOP (Koch, Mercers et.al.) will want THEIR GOP toy back. The lefties still don’t get it!

    • Jody says:

      I wish I could be as optimistic as you are about the battle over political correctness. They’ve dug in and that remains a problem. Unless and until the public sector is starved of funds and has to shed staff and justify its existence this malaise will continue.

      I can’t enthuse about Trump because I believe the American election was basically a Hobson’s Choice.

      • Warty says:

        If one focuses on personalities it may well seem like a Hobson’s Choice; but if you regard what each of them represent, then it throws up quite a different dynamic. Both Trump and Clinton understood what they themselves represented, moreover they were aware of what their opponents represented. Such an awareness didn’t do anything to change their respective positions. The one big difference was that Hillary felt that the overwhelming MSM support would get her over the line, and the polls seem to support this. She must also have felt that the enormous advantage she had with regards to donations would have to ensure victory. Indeed how could she possibly lose. But both she and the MSM significantly miscalculated the degree of angst out there; the feeling that the ‘in house’ elites simply didn’t have their interests at heart. This is what Trump spoke to and this is what he represented. He now has to keep his promise.

      • bemartin39@bigpond.com says:

        Jody, once more and more prominent people, emboldened by leaders, start calling a spade a spade, the trend will catch on quickly. Specially if those following suit are defended vigorously by those in authority when attacked by the PC brigade.

        • Jody says:

          We’re already seeing the bien pensant cry about the rise and rise of racism, thanks to Trump. Take care; these people are seasoned propagandists and I agree with the man who write below-the-line on “Spiked” that no emperor willingly gave up his throne without a big fight.

          Something even more disturbing (as if that were possible): have you noticed how there is now a ‘controversy’ over whether Castro was a good leader or not. That shows how far we’ve come down the authoritarian Left’s food chain that a murderous tyrant who sank his nation into penury is now considered to be a great leader. This frightens the hell out of me.

      • Don A. Veitch says:

        Yes, it was Hobson’s choice, but as Leibnitz writes: when evil fights evil, good can win.

    • Warty says:

      Although I am not at odds with your sentiments, you are using the past tense with regards to potential achievements: he hasn’t as yet assumed office. The Congress and Senate may be Republican, and nominally sympathetic, they will not be a rubber stamp. Trump still has a number of battles ahead of him. Draining the swamp, as the saying goes, will undoubtedly take more than one term of office, and who’s to say that, at 70, he’ll have the stamina for eight years of some of the most gruelling times in his life. Just look at how Obama the clown aged, and Trump doesn’t have any of the invigorating clown-like characteristics to fall back on.

  • Don A. Veitch says:

    BUT the battle for the soul of America has just begun!
    (left out from above)

  • lloveday says:

    I point out another, rationally indisputable, error in McNair’s column (presuming RF quoted correctly – I’ve not checked the reference) when he wrote “..was now president”.
    Trump was not, is not, and may never be president (assassination is a non-trivial possibility), and certainly cannot be president before Jan 20.
    At best he was, and is, “president-elect”, and I’d be extra pedantic and say “putative president-elect” until December 13 as there is a long-shot possibility that Stein’s recount actions will result in Clinton becoming president-elect.

    • Doc S says:

      All correct until the last bit. There is no chance of Clinton becoming president-elect as a result of Stein’s recount as the Electoral College vote was overwhelmingly in favour of Trump. Even in the unlikely event it gave Hillary an extra million or more votes that might only change the College vote in only the recounting states, not the overall result of the election and certainly not before Inauguration. As you say, assassination is still a possibility – in which case the very able Mike Pence will be sworn in. Clinton is indulging in this hypocrisy more to cast a doubt on the political legitimacy of a Trump administration – much like Gore tried to do with Bush (until the Supreme Court ordered him to cease and desist!) Trump can even afford to be magnanimous by not immediately ordering the investigation/indictment of Hillary. He doesn’t have to as there are at least three ongoing investigations (two by the FBI and one by the NYPD) that could still eventually see Hillary indicted and (unlike Obama) Trump is highly unlikely to let her off the hook for a second time! My opinion here is speculation but based on my reading of facts that, for the reasons suggested in Roger’s excellent article, are highly unlikely to be heard of in the main stream media which is still virulently anti-Trump!

      • lloveday says:

        Quote: “There is no chance of Clinton becoming president-elect as a result of Stein’s recount”.
        Some, hopefully more knowledgeable than I, disagree (and hence agree with me) –
        “If a recount will happen and Hillary Clinton comes out as the winner in the three states, she will be the new President of the United States”.
        “A new report on Express.co.uk says that Donald Trump won the three battleground states “with knife-edge margins,” and that if a complete recount finds Hillary Clinton the rightful winner, Electoral College votes in those three states will ultimately make her the new U.S. President”
        And other sources claim the same.
        There is still another possibility, that some Electoral College representatives go rogue:
        Of the 538 electors, 236 electors from 21 states are unbound from voting for their state’s choice and can cast their electoral ballot for whomever they choose. The other 302 are bound to vote for the candidate who won the state’s electoral votes.

      • lloveday says:

        Quote: “There is no chance of Clinton becoming president-elect as a result of Stein’s recount”.
        Some, hopefully more knowledgeable than I, disagree (and hence agree with me) –
        “If a recount will happen and Hillary Clinton comes out as the winner in the three states, she will be the new President of the United States” from newseveryday.com
        “A new report on Express.co.uk says that Donald Trump won the three battleground states “with knife-edge margins,” and that if a complete recount finds Hillary Clinton the rightful winner, Electoral College votes in those three states will ultimately make her the new U.S. President” from inquistir.com
        And other sources claim the same.
        There is still another possibility, that some Electoral College representatives go rogue:
        Of the 538 electors, 236 electors from 21 states are unbound from voting for their state’s choice and can cast their electoral ballot for whomever they choose. The other 302 are bound to vote for the candidate who won the state’s electoral votes.

  • padraic says:

    I agree with Jody re political correctness. I often wondered what jobs sociologists got after graduation. It seems they infiltrate other areas of expertise such as journalism and public health, etc about which they know nothing but see as useful vehicles to promote their sick view of life. I also agree with Roger about their poor grammar – pathetic – the poor darlings obviously regard the English language and its grammar as a form of cultural enslavement. In the above quotes there are a couple of gems such as “democratically legitimised fascism” and in relation to politics “we need reviewers”. Both of these expressions show that such “doctors” and “professors” have contempt for democracy. I would rather live with democratically legitimised fascism than undemocratic minority activist legitimised fascism. At least with the democratic model you have the chance to delete the fascist element every 3 years. You can’t do that with the undemocratic model – it hangs around like a bad smell forever. I thought the Senate in our democracy was the House of Review. How do sociologists propose to review political decisions, and how would they be elevated to this new review structure? The mind boggles.

  • padraic says:

    I just read Orwell’s comments on journalism in the hotlinks in the article and they are pertinent to today’s media. Have you noticed that the media reports that IS IS in Iraq and Syria funds its activities by selling oil, buys sophisticated weaponry (not made in a desert tin shed), uses drones etc? But what they don’t tell you is how and where are they selling the oil and from whom they are buying all this stuff. This has to be self regulation by journalists who must know what is going on. So much for freedom of the press and its objectivity.

  • Jody says:

    Padraic, it cuts much deeper than that and is the reason we need comprehensive change. As I suggested earlier, attacking the bottom line is one way to deal with institutions and organizations which need cultural change; starve them out of existence. All this rot started in the hippy 60s and I saw much of it on display in the early 70s at the ABC where young directors and ‘mavericks’ (priceless!) read “Rolling Stone”, hated the USA and KFC – in that order – smirked at authority (especially conservative authority and the military) and were walking puff-pieces for hubris. They were empty then and their acolytes are seriously disturbed now to the extent that they cannot formulate a healthy and positive world view and excuse the inexcusable.

    I’m cynical enough to understand how this all relates to the ‘bottom line’ principle. If they feel they’re on the ‘bottom line’ themselves this in inclined to make them angrier. Why should the deplorables in the ‘trades’ earn more money, I’d hear them ask. Why aren’t they being rewarded because they are the bien pensant who have done their degrees and cowtowed to their institutionalized academic gurus? Those few who do make good in the income department become the NEW gurus by keeping the faith with their resentment-fuelled underlings.

  • ian.macdougall says:

    TRUMPORAMUS Von TRUMPENSTEIN gives some grounds for optimism. Being an egomaniac, with a track record of creating architectural monstrosites in NYC (esp Trump Tower, but there are no doubt more) to the greater glory of Trump, he is at least concerned with his own and his family’s survival.
    If he was some kind of religious fanatic or self-proclaimed messianic figure like say the megalomaniac Adolf Hitler, I would be a lot more worried by him having access to The Button. Especially when things started going pear-shaped for him: which they no doubt will in due course.
    “Make America great again” means return it to that halcyon 30-year period between the Hiroshima victory over Japan in 1945 and the catastrophic defeat in Vietnam in 1975, when the US had no problems not easily addressed. It means in Trump’s own perspective, having a trade war with China, and winning it: without getting the American consumers who are used to a steady stream of high quality but cheap Chinese goods.

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