Fox’s Nazi Fetish: Beck, O’Reilly, Others Repeatedly Invoke Nazi Imagery
Media Matters | October 18, 2010
Led by Glenn Beck -- who was once condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for saying Al Gore used "the same tactic" as Adolf Hitler -- Fox News personalities have frequently invoked Nazi Germany in their political commentary, often comparing progressives to Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and the Nazi "brownshirts."
Beck: Obama advisers show "the kind of thinking that ... eventually led to the Holocaust." On his October 5 radio show, Beck said that statements by Obama advisers John Holdren, Ezekiel Emanuel and Cass Sunstein indicate "the kind of thinking that led to ... the extermination program that eventually led to the Holocaust."
Beck likened reporting about him to "what Goebbels did." Complaining on the August 27 edition of his radio show that ABC reported a statement by Beck that blacks don't own Martin Luther King without also noting that he also said whites don't own Abraham Lincoln, Beck said: "You know what? I'm gonna get a lot of heat for this, but stand in line. That's what [Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels did. That's what Goebbels did. The truth didn't matter."
Beck equates children singing about Obama with "Hitler Youth." On the June 17 edition of his radio show, Beck said that children singing about Obama was "the playbook of the progressives from ... the former regime in Germany, the Third Reich." Beck added, "This is Hitler Youth."
Beck: Putting "the common good" first "exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany." Attacking criticism of him by Jewish Funds for Justice's Simon Greer, Beck asserted on his May 28 radio show that Greer's comments about putting "human kind and the common good" first "is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany," adding, "[a] Jew, of all people, should know that."
Beck: "frightening similarities" between Sunstein, Goebbels. On the May 27 edition of his radio show, Beck claimed there were "frightening similarities" between Cass Sunstein and Goebbels.
Beck: "You can't just change the law" to raise BP's liability cap; "Is that what we fought the Nazis for?" On his May 4 radio show, discussing a reported proposal to retroactively increase liability limits to cover the costs of the Gulf oil spill, Beck responded: "Did we go and fight Germany for this? Is that what we fought the Nazis for? Is that why those millions of people died?"
Beck: Progressives use "democratic elections" to push dictators -- "Hitler, 'democratically elected.' " On the April 28 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated that progressives use "democratic elections" to push dictators, then stated, "You'll hear this when they talk about the 'democratically elected' leader of Iran; the democratic leader Chavez, 'democratically elected,' you know; Castro, 'democratically elected'; Hitler - 'democratically elected.' "
Beck: "Progressives build the structure that a communist, a Marxist, a Nazi would love to have." On the April 22 edition of his radio show, Beck stated that "[p]rogressives build the structure that a communist, a Marxist, a Nazi would love to have."
Beck invoked "first they came for the Jews" poem to respond to ad boycotts. On the April 8 edition of his Fox News show, Beck portrayed ad boycotts of his show as being orchestrated by the Obama White House in order to "destroy" his "career" and "silence" him, adding: "Is there absolutely no chance whatsoever that you might be a target at some point in the future? What's that poem? First they came for the Jews, and I stayed silent?"
Beck invokes Nazis to attack worker ID cards: "It was only one of the first things that Hitler did." On the March 9 edition of his radio show, Beck discussed a proposal by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to implement national ID cards for workers and said, "It was only one of the first things that Hitler did."
Beck: Obama campaign videos were Goebbels-like "propaganda." On the February 16 edition of his radio show, Beck said that videos produced by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe were "propaganda" out of the Nazi "playbook": "Remember, Goebbels, king of propaganda. ... This is yet another playbook -- page taken right out of the playbook."
Beck documentary linked progressives to Hitler. Beck's documentary Revolutionary Holocaust purported to link progressivism to the atrocities of Hitler, among other brutal dictators. Numerous historians denounced the inferences Beck drew in the film.
Beck on NEA conference call: "You should look up the name Goebbels." On the November 3, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, discussing an NEA conference call in which artists reportedly discussed how "to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda," Beck said that "advocating through art is known as propaganda. Hmm. You should look up the name Goebbels."
Beck compared Fox News to Jews during Holocaust, other news organizations to silent bystanders. On the October 13, 2009, broadcast of his radio show, Beck compared Fox News to the Jews during the Holocaust, telling other media outlets, "When they're done with Fox, and you decide to speak out on something. The old, 'first they came for the Jews, and I wasn't Jewish.' " He went on to say, "When they're done with Fox and talk radio, do you really think they're going to leave you alone if you want to ask a tough question? ... If you believe that, you should open up a history book, because you've missed the point of many brutal dictators."
Beck on Obama's "civilian national security force": "This is what Hitler did with the SS." Discussing President Obama's call for a "civilian national security force" -- which was a reference to expanding the foreign service, AmeriCorps, and the Peace Corps -- Beck said on the August 27, 2009, edition of his Fox News program:
BECK: I'm finding this -- this is the hardest part to connect to. Because this is -- I mean, look, you know, David [Bellavia, former Army staff sergeant], what you just said is, you said, 'I'm not comparing' -- but you are. I mean, this is what Hitler did with the SS. He had his own people. He had the brownshirts and then the SS. This is what Saddam Hussein -- so -- but you are comparing that. And I -- I mean, I think America would have a really hard time getting their arms around that.
Beck told Newsmax: "I fear a Reichstag moment." On September 29, 2009, conservative news website Newsmax.com reported of its interview with Beck:
But his real worry is that many Washington elitists really don't like our form of government and want to see it abolished.
"I fear a Reichstag moment," he said, referring to the 1933 burning of Germany's parliament building in Berlin that the Nazis blamed on communists and Hitler used as an excuse to suspend constitutional liberties and consolidate power.
"God forbid, another 9/11. Something that will turn this machine on, and power will be seized and voices will be silenced."
Beck said he's "not comparing" Obama to Hitler, then urged his audience to "please read Mein Kampf" and learn from Germany's mistakes. On the August 12, 2009, broadcast of his radio show, discussing Obama's position on health care reform, Beck stated:
BECK: I am not comparing him to this, but please, read Mein Kampf for this reason. If you read it now, you see that Hitler told you what he was going to do. He told the Germans. It outsold the Bible. Germans read Mein Kampf, but what did they do? They didn't listen. 'Oh, he doesn't mean that.' 'Oh, he's just saying that to appeal to X, Y, Z.' All of the same lies we're telling to ourselves. 'No, that's crazy. Nobody would actually do that.' They buried their heads in the sand, and then it became too late. Please, America, take this man for what he says.
Beck compares media portrayal of "tea partygoers" to Nazi portrayal of anti-Nazi "complainers." On the August 11, 2009, edition of his Fox show, Beck compared the media's portrayal of the "tea partygoers" to a Nazi propaganda poster portraying "complainers" about Nazi policies, saying, "This is a poster of what you see every day now in the news media making the complainers, the tea partygoers, look somehow rotten."
Beck links health care reform to Nazis, suggests reform would kill elderly and newborns. On his August 6, 2009, radio show, Beck suggested that health care reform would lead to the eugenics programs undertaken in Nazi Germany, saying that "three people in the White House are in love with eugenics" and that reform would kill the elderly and newborns.
Beck said "the Germans" during Hitler's rise "were an awful lot like we are now." On the June 10, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, Beck stated: "I think the Germans, however, were an awful lot like we are now. We're kind of living in a denial, like, 'No, no, that can't really be happening. No, that really -- I -- you don't want to believe some things, but you have to. You have to actually think about them."
Beck compared car dealership closures to Nazism, warning "at some point, they're going to come for you." While discussing the closures of auto dealerships under the bankruptcy deals of GM and Chrysler, Beck said that the "poem that keeps going through my mind is 'First they came for the Jews,' " adding, "Gang, at some point they're going to come for you."
Beck compared auto bailouts to the actions of German companies "in the early days of Adolf Hitler." While discussing the auto company bailouts on the April 1, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, after stating, "I am not saying that Barack Obama is a fascist," Beck said, "If I'm not mistaken, in the early days of Adolf Hitler, they were very happy to line up for help there as well. I mean, the companies were like, 'Hey, wait a minute. We can get, you know, we can get out of trouble here. They can help, et cetera, et cetera.' "
Beck compared TARP to "what happened to the lead-up with Hitler." On the April 21, 2009, edition of Fox Business' Money for Breakfast, Beck said of the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]:
BECK: This is not comparing these people to the people in Germany, but this is exactly what happened to the lead-up with Hitler. Hitler opened up the door and said, "Hey, companies, I can help you." They all ran through the door. And then in the end, they all saw, "Uh-oh. I'm in bed with the devil." They started to take their foot out, and Hitler said, "Absolutely not. Sorry, gang. This is good for the country. We've got to do these things." And it was too late.
Beck airs photos of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, asks, "Is this where we're headed?" On the April 2, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, while teasing the next day's show, Beck asked, "Is this where we're headed?" while airing photos of Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Vladimir Lenin.
Beck warned of impending "national socialism." On the February 6, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Beck claimed that "We are really truly stepping beyond socialism and starting to look at fascism." Then, purporting to "explain what happened in Nazi Germany," Beck claimed that "we're talking now about nationalizing the banks," which he called "national socialism." Beck said that "at first, all the big companies and the big capitalists in Germany said, 'Oh, thank goodness there's a savior. OK, great, we'll do that. Yes.' It didn't take too long before, like here in America now -- Goldman Sachs -- they started to see the writing on the wall and ... they couldn't get out of it fast enough."
ADL rebuked Beck for smearing Gore as a Nazi
Beck repeatedly compared Gore to a Nazi propagandist. Beck has repeatedly likened Gore to a Nazi propagandist for speaking out about global warming, notably comparing Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Beck also suggested that by giving a speech to students, Gore was trying to "indoctrinate the kids" like the "new Hitler Youth" and said of Gore's 2006 Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth: "It's like Hitler."
Beck compares Gore to Goebbels, says, "The government and its friends are indoctrinating our children for the control of their minds." On the February 5, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated, "The government and its friends are indoctrinating our children for the control of their minds, your freedom, and our choice and our future." Beck then quoted Joesph Goebbels discussing the Hitler Youth and said, "If mom and dad decide the keep the temperature above 72, should our 'Gore youth' report mom and dad?"
Beck: Holocaust survivor's story of how Nazis drove a wedge between students and parents sounds like U.N. and Gore. On the September 24 edition of his Fox News show, Beck hosted a Holocaust survivor who said that the Nazis drove a wedge between students and their parents. Beck responded by saying, "I don't know about anybody else ... this, to me, doesn't sound like stuff necessarily that I've heard from Obama. This is stuff that I've heard from the U.N. This is the kind of stuff that we have heard from ... Al Gore."
In 2007, ADL rebuked Beck's smears of Gore. On May 2, 2007, the ADL issued a press release condemning Beck's April 30, 2007, statement that "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world." Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, said of the remark, in part: "Glenn Beck's linkage of Hitler's plan to round up and exterminate Jews with Al Gore's efforts to raise awareness of global warming is outrageous, insensitive and deeply offensive."
Beck promoted Nazi sympathizer's book
Beck: The Red Network -- rife with racism and anti-Semitism and written by a Nazi sympathizer -- did "what we're doing now." On his June 4 radio program, Beck promoted The Red Network by Elizabeth Dilling, saying of the 1934 book: "This is a book -- and I'm a getting a ton of these -- from people who were doing what we're doing now. We now are documenting who all of these people are. Well, there were Americans in the first 50 years of this nation that took this seriously, and they documented it." As Media Matters noted, Dilling's book contains numerous passages that espouse anti-Semitism and racism. At various points throughout the book, Dilling attacked "racial inter-mixture" as a communist plot, referred to "un-Christianized" "colored people" as "savages," called Hinduism and Islam "debasing and degrading," and blamed Nazi Germany's anti-Semitism on "revolutionary Russian Jews." Dilling visited Germany in the late 1930s, where she attended Nazi party meetings and praised Adolf Hitler's leadership. She also spoke at rallies hosted by U.S. Nazi organizations after the outbreak of World War II. Following the war, she leveled anti-Semitic attacks against several U.S. presidents, calling Dwight Eisenhower "Ike the Kike," attacking Richard Nixon for his "service to the synagogue," and calling John F. Kennedy's New Frontier program the "Jew frontier."
Beck refused to apologize. On June 7, Beck briefly reacted to the controversy surrounding his approving citation of Dilling's work, but refused to apologize for promoting her hateful work on the air. Instead, Beck attacked "the left" for calling him "a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer."
Beck has repeatedly invoked Weimar Republic
Beck has used his radio and TV programs to repeatedly warn that the U.S. is becoming the Weimar Republic, the post-World War I German system of government supplanted by Hitler's Third Reich:On February 24, 2009, Beck suggested that the U.S. was on course to make the "scariest mistake that Germany made during Weimar Republic." On October 28, 2009, Beck theorized that the United States, in order to pay its debts, would continue printing money and drive up inflation, at which point the country would drop the dollar as its currency and establish a new currency backed by land, which the government will seize through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Beck explained that this is exactly what happened in the Weimar Republic. On January 5, Beck predicted a possible future of hyperinflation he described as "the Great Depression times 100," adding: "This is the reason I told you two years ago, please study the Weimar Republic." On May 12, Beck said the U.S. is "devaluing the currency" through "digitizing money," adding, "What happens when you digitize money? Weimar Republic, collapse." On July 8, Beck said that businesses working with the Obama administration resulted in a "short-term gain" followed by a "long-term loss of freedom," claiming that "if you look at the history of the Weimar Republic," events unfolded in a similar manner. On August 2, Beck explained deflation and hyperinflation by saying, "See if you notice any similarities of the Weimar Republic" to the U.S. economy. On August 5, Beck asserted of the Weimar Republic, "the patterns are repeating itself." [sic] On August 12, Beck asked his viewers to "watch for three things" that were done in the Weimar Republic, saying that "you must educate yourself." In an October 7 commercial for Goldline, Beck asserted that the U.S. is "officially in Weimar Republic territory." On October 15, Beck's radio co-host Pat Gray claimed that the federal government is "taking over all our property," with Beck adding, "That is what they did in Weimar. They just took it."
Gingrich: Obama, Dems threatening America as much as "Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." On the May 16 edition of Fox News Sunday, Newt Gingrich said that President Obama and the Democratic Party present as great a threat as "Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did."
O'Reilly said liberals who support gun control are "totalitarians," compared them to Hitler. On the March 2 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said liberals who support gun control are "today's totalitarians," adding that in the past people like "Hitler and Mussolini" held such positions in favor of "state control."
O'Reilly claimed media using Goebbels tactics to push "rank propaganda." In his July 16, 2009, syndicated column, O'Reilly wrote that "The far left is trying to create a huge federal apparatus that will promote income redistribution and "social justice." Also, the left sees a major opportunity to knock out Judeo-Christian traditions, replacing them with a secular philosophy." He added that "the left-wing media is marginalizing people like Sarah Palin who oppose the strategy. Under the guise of hard news reporting, the media is pushing rank propaganda on the citizenry. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, successfully developed this tactic in the 1930's."
O'Reilly: Huffington Post uses "same exact tactics that the Nazis used." On The March 5, 2008, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said "And I said that these tactics that are being used on this website, The Huffington Post, are the same exact tactics that the Nazis used in the late '20s and early '30s to demonize certain groups of people, so it would become easier for them, the Nazis, when they took power, to hurt those people." Earlier, on February 27, 2008, O'Reilly said that "I don't see any difference between [Arianna] Huffington and the Nazis. ... I don't see any difference."
O'Reilly compared Tim Robbins' comments to those of "Von Ribbentrop in the Nazi hierarchy." On the December 13, 2007, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Jane Hall said that comments made by actor Tim Robbins while campaigning for John Edwards were "valid." In response, Bill O'Reilly said, " But Von Ribbentrop in the Nazi hierarchy made valid points, Jane."
O'Reilly: Daily Kos is "like the Nazi Party." On the July 16, 2007, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said that the Daily Kos is "like the Ku Klux Klan. It's like the Nazi party. There's no difference here." A day later, O'Reilly said "That website traffics in [hate], as do the Nazi websites. No difference." On July 19, 2007, O'Reilly said of Daily Kos: "The hate this website traffics in rivals the KKK and Nazi websites."
Hannity: Using Quran for swearing-in is same as using a "Nazi bible." On the November 30, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity said that Rep. Keith Ellison using a copy of the Quran during his swearing-in ceremony "will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones" and is comparable to using "Hitler's Mein Kampf, is the Nazis' bible."
Coulter on Media Matters: "little Nazi block watcher" website. On the December 1, 2005, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter called websites like Media Matters "little Nazi block watchers" that "tattle on their parents, turn them in to the Nazis."
O'Reilly compares Michael Moore's "power" to what "happened in Nazi Germany." On the July 28, 2004, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly said that Michael Moore "has more power than probably anybody else other than [Senators John] Kerry and [John] Edwards," adding that Moore's purported "power" was "scary" because "this happened in Nazi Germany." O'Reilly went on to ask: "Who was the most powerful person in Nazi Germany other than Hitler and Himmler and Goering, who? You guys know? ... Goebbels. The propaganda minister."
O'Reilly likened Moore, Franken to Goebbels. On the June 14, 2004, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly compared both Michael Moore and Al Franken to Goebbels. O'Reilly also likened a group of Hollywood celebrities who attended a premiere of Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 to "the people who would turn out to see Josef Goebbels convince you that Poland invaded the Third Reich."
&mdash T.K. & O.W.
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