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Tuesday, November 23, 2010
NewsBusters' False Equivalence on Nazi Smears
Topic: NewsBusters

Lachlan Markay goes the false-equivalence route in a Nov. 22 NewsBusters post responding to NPR's noting that "Fox News does stand out amid mainstream media outlets for its ferocity and frequency" in hurling Nazi smears.

Markay asserted that "NPR invoked vague claims by far-left Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank ... to paint FNC as unique in its invocation of Nazism." In fact, Milbank was quite specific in his claims, even if NPR wasn't in citing him. From Milbank's Oct. 3 column:

At the heart of Beck's technique of amplifying fringe theories is his obsession with Nazism. For much of the past 70 years, there has been an unwritten rule in U.S. political debate: Avoid Hitler accusations. Once you liken your opponent to the Nazis, any form of rational discussion becomes impossible. But Beck, it seems, has a Nazi fetish. In his first 18 months on Fox News, from early 2009 through the middle of this year, he and his guests invoked Hitler 147 times. Nazis, an additional 202 times. Fascism or fascists, 193 times. The Holocaust got 76 mentions, and Joseph Goebbels got 24.

In his recitation of liberals who "routinely prove Godwin right," Markay cites only a handful of isolated instances -- far short of the hundreds of references by Beck alone and none of which were made by the president of a news operation, lilke Nazi smear-hurler Roger Ailes.

Markay also incorrectly labels Garrison Keillor as "NPR's own." While Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" typically airs on NPR-affiliated radio stations, it is not an NPR production; it's produced by Keillor's own production company and distributed by American Public Media.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:20 PM EST

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