Blogs > Cliopatria > NY Post Publishes a Column Comparing Deaniacs to Hitler Suporters

Nov 16, 2006 1:43 am


NY Post Publishes a Column Comparing Deaniacs to Hitler Suporters



The controversy over comparisons between George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler
in two ads submitted to the anti-Bush ad contest run by the online
activist group MoveOn.org says less about the state of left discourse than
it does about the double standards at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

News Corp's Fox News Channel started the controversy on January 4, airing
Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie's complaint about the
Bush/Hitler comparison. "That's the kind of tactics we're seeing on the
left today in support of these Democratic presidential candidates,"
Gillespie charged, calling such tactics "despicable."

The whole next day (1/5/04), this was a major story on Fox News Channel.
John Gibson asked, "What about the hating Bush movement, the MoveOn.org
and George Soros sponsoring these ads that compare Bush to
Hitler?"--before being corrected that the ads were not sponsored by MoveOn
(or Soros, a funder of the group), and were taken down in response to
complaints.

Sean Hannity accused a guest: "You guys on the left are going so far over
the cliff. You're making comparisons to the president and Adolf Hitler."
Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway said on Hannity's show, "This is the
hateful, vitriolic rhetoric that has become the Howard Dean Democratic
Party." Bill O'Reilly cited the ads as evidence that "right now in America
the Democratic party is being held captive by the far, far left."

It should be noted that however hyperbolic, comparisons to Hitler and
fascism are not unknown in the American political debate. Rush Limbaugh
has routinely called women's rights advocates "femi-Nazis," and references
to "Hitlery Clinton" are a staple of right-wing talk radio. Republican
power-broker Grover Norquist on NPR (10/2/03) compared inheritance taxes
to the Holocaust.

Closer to home for Fox News, on the very same day that Gibson, Hannity and
O'Reilly were talking about the Hitler/Bush comparison as evidence of the
left's extremism, a column ran in the New York Post that described
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean as a follower of Josef
Goebbels, referred to him as "Herr Howie," accused him of "looking for his
Leni Riefenstahl," called his supporters "the Internet Gestapo" and
compared them to "Hitler's brownshirts."

The New York Post, like Fox News Channel, is part of News Corporation,
Rupert Murdoch's conservative media empire. And this piece wasn't just put
up on the Post's website as part of a contest--it was written by a
right-wing commentator who frequently appears in the Post's pages, Ralph
Peters, and selected for the op-ed page by the Post's own editors. So
it's more than a little embarrassing that these blatant Nazi comparisons
were being made in the Post while the paper's corporate sibling was
denouncing such comparisons as a sign of derangement.

So what did the Murdoch organization do? Fox appears to have completely
ignored the Post's own Nazi analogies--there's no reference to the column
whatsoever in the cable channel's transcripts. And the New York Post seems
to have sent the column down the memory hole--clicking on a link that used
to go to Peters' story gives you a "page not found" message, and the text
isn't found in the Nexis media database. (Ironically, in light of this
Orwellian disappearing act, the column also compared Dean to Big Brother.)

In the interview that started the brouhaha, the RNC's Gillespie was asked
if he would oppose similar attacks on Democrats. He replied: "If they
stoop to the kind of despicable tactic like morphing a candidate into
Adolf Hitler, yes, absolutely, I will tell you right here on the air. Have
me back if any organization does that, I would repudiate it."

The same organization that interviewed him did that, through another of
its branches, the very next day. So far, Fox News hasn't had him back on
to condemn the New York Post.
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