Adolf Hitler, asylum seekers, border security, Central America, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Im-Politic, Immigration, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Mainstream Media, migrants, Nazism, Open Borders, refugees, Trump, Trump Derangement Syndrome, Washington Post
Just when I think that I couldn’t become angrier at the bile spewed by some of President Trump’s critics and too often reported as fact or respectable, newsworthy opinion by the Mainstream Media, Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers keep topping themselves. And this morning I saw a series of such statements so inexcusable that I’ve decided to post about them even though I’ve already expressed my views in a tweet.
The accusations came in a Washington Post article today titled “’Our country is FULL!’: Trump’s declaration carries far-right echoes that go back to the Nazi era.”
Reporter Isaac Stanley-Becker was referring to the remarks made by Mr. Trump last Friday during his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, where even champions of what I’ve come to call the Functional Equivalent of Open Borders are now finally admitting that flows of migrants mainly from Central America are overwhelming federal government facilities set up to deal with foreigners seeking to cross into the United States.
Stanley-Becker, who is based in London, wasn’t simply content to observe that the President’s language “fits a pattern of far-right rhetoric reemerging globally. Fear of an immigrant takeover motivates fascist activity in Europe, where, historically, the specter of overcrowding has been used to justify ethnic cleansing.”
With the evident endorsement of his editors, he went on to write that “Adolf Hitler promised ‘living space’ for Germans as the basis of an expansionist project….”
In this vein, he sought to legitimize this analysis by quoting an historian (from the University of California at Berkeley) who contended “The echoes do indeed remind one of the Nazi period, unfortunately. The exact phrasing may be different, but the spirit is very similar. The concern about an ethnic, national people not having proper space — this is something you could definitely describe as parallel to the 1930s.”
In addition, Stanley-Becker reported that “The president’s words became even more freighted when he repeated them on Saturday before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, saying, ‘Our country is full, can’t come. I’m sorry.’” (Which sounds like an opinion, not the kind of fact that news reporters are supposed to present in their own voice.) And he supposedly documented the follow-on statement that Mr. Trump’s remarks “drew outrage” by citing precisely one tweeter and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.
The author was clever enough to slip into his story the kind of qualifier meant to convey objectivity but skated over far too quickly to alert most readers to their potential to invalidate the entire exercise. For example, Stanley-Becker briefly noted that “Hitler promised ‘living space’ for Germans as the basis of an expansionist project, which historians said distinguishes the Third Reich from today’s xenophobic governments.”
But in case you’re tempted to conclude “That distinction seems pretty darned important,” the author hastily added, in a classic example of insinuation, “Still, experts found parallels” (by which he meant the aforementioned Berkeley professor).
Moreover, let’s not forget the towering double standard Stanley-Becker and similar Trump haters have created. For if the President’s words and (prospective) actions “echo” and “remind” of Nazism, what should be made of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt – under whose administration refugees from the Third Reich itself were turned away from American shores? Does this record reveal racist, anti-semitic, xenophobic Nazi sympathies? Or “echo” them etc.? In fact, Roosevelt’s name isn’t even mentioned in the article, even though he received cables from the ship on which they traveled begging for admission.
Does Roosevelt deserve such descriptions – and condemnation? If not, why not?And to return to current circumstances, President Trump has clearly been reacting against the large numbers of U.S.-bound migrants falsely seeking asylum (which is awarded to those fleeing persecution) who are seeking better material lives. Roosevelt was denying entry to individuals and families clearly seeking to escape a regime that was obviously targeting them because of their identity.
Because this is a free country, Stanley-Becker, his editors, and his publisher have every right to accuse President Trump of using coded, pro-Nazi or Nazi-sympathizing dog-whistle attacks to advance his immigration policies. But their profession’s ethics prohibit them from portraying these views as unvarnished facts in news columns. And common decency demands they have the courage to make these charges openly, rather than using the weasel words and phrases and similar ploys so typical of character assassination.