Tale Of Two Hitlers

by digby

Robert Parry observes an important Beltway phenomenon:

Watching Glenn Beck of Fox News rant about “progressive fascism” – and muse about armed insurrection – or listening to mainstream pundits prattle on about Barack Obama as the “most polarizing President ever,” it is hard to escape the conclusion that today’s U.S. news media represents a danger to the Republic.

By and large, the Washington press corps continues to function within a paradigm set in the 1980s, mostly bending to the American Right, especially to its perceived power to destroy mainstream journalistic careers and to grease the way toward lucrative jobs for those who play ball.

The parameters set by this intimidated (or bought-off) news media, in turn, influence how far Washington politicians feel they can go on issues, like health-care reform or environmental initiatives, or how risky they believe it might be to pull back from George W. Bush's "war on terror" policies.


...the American Left never took media seriously, putting what money it had mostly into "organizing" or into direct humanitarian giving. Underscoring the Left's fecklessness about media, progressives have concentrated their relatively few media outlets in San Francisco, 3,000 miles away - and three hours behind - the news centers of Washington and New York.

By contrast, the Right grasped the importance of "information warfare" in a modern media age and targeted its heaviest firepower on the frontlines of that war - mostly the political battlefields of Washington - thus magnifying the influence of right-wing ideas on policymakers.

One consequence of this media imbalance is that Republicans feel they can pretty much say whatever they want - no matter how provocative or even crazy - while Democrats must be far more circumspect, knowing that any comment might be twisted into an effective attack point against them.

So, while criticism of Republicans presidents - from Ronald Reagan to the two Bushes - had to be tempered for fear of counterattacks, almost anything could be said against a Democratic president, Bill Clinton or now Barack Obama, who is repeatedly labeled a "socialist" and, according to Beck, a "fascist" for pressuring hapless GM chief executive Rick Wagoner to resign.

Just in case anyone thinks that's hyperbolic, here's a little trip down memory lane from just five years ago:

What MoveOn.org wanted was for people to submit 30-second ads that were critical of President Bush, but what the liberal-leaning organization got was a controversy over one entry that compared Bush to Adolf Hitler.

The ad in question used a tape recording of the Nazi leader speaking while it showed images of Hitler and German military prowess during World War II. At the end of the ad, a photo of Bush raising his hand to take the oath of office is seen.

"A nation warped by lies. Lies fuel fear. Fear fuels aggression. Invasion. Occupation. What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003," the ad said.

Republican groups and Jewish organizations expressed outrage over the ad, which has been removed from the MoveOn.org Web site. The Republican National Committee (search) called on all nine Democratic candidates to condemn the ads.

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie (search) called the ad, "the worst and most vile form of political hate speech."


MoveOn.org spokesman Trevor Fitzgibbon said, "we had no idea the Hitler thing even existed."

Here's Beck this past weekend:

When a liberal activist group accidentally put a 30 second citizen generated ad featuring a comparison between Bush and Hitler on its web site, the political establishment goes nuts.

Glenn Beck, a highly paid television pundit spends an entire hour comparing Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini to Obama and the political establishment acts like it's perfectly normal.