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Tuesday, January 30, 2024
MRC Plays Whataboutism To Defend Trump's 'Vermin' Attack
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center will defend Donald Trump no matter how extreme he becomes. So when he started ranting about his opponents being "vermin," the MRC quickly rushed to his defense and whined about the critics. Mark Finkelstein did thte latter in a Nov. 13 post:

Calling Donald Trump a "fascist" is Joe Scarborough's stock in trade. He works it into his spiel almost as often as he brings up the fact that he once was a Congressman.

But "fascist" apparently no longer suffices to express the depths of Joe's disdain for the Donald. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough declared that Trump has gone "full-on Hitler." Trump's sin was vowing to root out "vermin," his term for "radical-left thugs."

Trump = Hitler? Hitler—who carried out history's greatest genocide of Jews?

Trump, the man who delivered on the failed promise of preceding presidents to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? The man behind the Abraham Accords, by which several Arab states opened diplomatic relations with Israel? Trump, the man with a Jewish daughter and son-in-law, and Jewish grandchildren? That's Hitler?

Alex Christy recently looked at a year of media coverage and crowned Scarborough as the media's "King of Nazi Analogies." That didn't even count the use of "fascist." Joe's streak continues.

Surely Scarborough is aware that the scourge of antisemitism in America lies largely on the left. With the chanting on campus, on American streets -- even in the halls of Congress in the person of Rashida Tlaib -- of "From The River to The Sea," effectively a call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Finkelstein didn't mention that his employer has its own affinity for Nazi analogies ("digital brownshirts," anyone?).

Curtis Houck was similarly quiet about the MRC's love of Nazi analogies in a post the same day complaining that Trump's analogy was pointed out:

On Tuesday, ABC’s chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl’s third anti-Trump book hits shelves and will send Resistance types into further episodes of collective hyperventilation over Trump and the GOP as threats to national security who must be crushed in 2024. Karl hawked the book on Monday’s Good Morning America and lashed out at voters for “not” having “paid much attention to what” Trump’s “doing and saying,” including his “Third Reich” rhetoric.

Tired of Winning: Donald Trump at the End of the Grand Old Party is likely to be another bestseller and only further underline the liberal media’s symbiotic relationship with Trump of shrieking about him (as well as his supporters) but dismissing and ripping any legitimate Republican who’d give him a run for his money in 2024.


“[T]his is a very dark, dark thing. We heard him refer to his opponents just the other day as vermin — using — using language out of the Third Reich,” he added.

Stephanopoulos interjected partway through with — wait for it — Trump-Hitler comparison, saying Trump’s engaging in “Adolf Hitler talk.”

Karl continued, warning Trump would “eliminate and annihilate his enemies and get retribution” and that his “hardcore base” believes him when he said his enemies as “coming after me because their real target is you and I’m standing in the way.”

Ignoring the dozens of campaign emails, videos from Trump himself, and an entire record of four years in office, Karl hilariously claimed Trump “doesn’t really have a policy agenda so much as a — as an agenda of getting revenge on his enemies and insisting on loyalty.”

Despite referencing "dozens of campaign emails, videos from Trump himself, and an entire record of four years in office," Houck quoted from none of them to show Trump cares about policy instead of revenge. And he's certainly not going to mention the video in which Trump says, "I am your retribution."

Clay Waters complained in a Nov. 15 post that a historian pointed out the Nazi parallels in the "vermin" remark:

The Monday evening PBS NewsHour starred recurring guest, New York University professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, using Trump's talk of leftist "vermin" at a rally on Veteran’s Day to compare the former president to Hitler. (With the far-left’s public anti-semitic behavior of late, some are cheekily tempted to ask if being compared to Hitler is a good thing or a bad thing on the left.)

Ben-Ghiat likened Trump to fascists three times along with similar unseemly comparisons.


(If Ben-Ghiat truly thinks she's in danger of fascist political prosecution by Trump, she certainly doesn't seem concerned.)

My colleague Mark Finkelstein pointed out that President Trump actually moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and drove the Abraham Accords, by which several Arab states opened diplomatic relations with Israel and was a staunch ally of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In other words, Trump's the worst Hitler ever.

Tim Graham went for 25-year-old whataboutism in his Nov. 15 podcast:

Everyone from PBS to Rachel Maddow on CBS is freaking out over Donald Trump promising to root out the “vermin” from the radical left. Out came the allegedly nonpartisan historians like Ruth Ben-Ghiat to explain that Trump sounds almost exactly like Hitler. It doesn't matter that as president, Trump implemented a range of policies that were pro-Israel. They have to spread that "beware the authoritarian" messaging. They just can't let go...even if it helps Trump. Even if Trump wants them to trash him.

But they can’t find outrage when leftists described Republicans as a “crazed swarm of right-wing locusts.” That reduction of the GOP to insects came from NAACP leader Julian Bond in a National Press Club speech in 1998.

Mr. Bond said: "[Reagan] brought to power a band of financial and ideological profiteers who descended on the nation's capital like a crazed swarm of right-wing locusts bent on destroying the rules and the laws that protect our people from poisoned air and water, and from greed."

Did anyone think Julian Bond was some kind of dehumanizing authoritarian? No. It wasn't a story to them, only to The Washington Times and some conservative news-busters.

It says something about how desperate the MRC is to defend Trump no matter what that Graham had to go back 25 years to find something equivalent, and he could only find a policy official, not a presidential candidate.

Whwen Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman stated that Trump "has to be eliminated" -- in context, he's clearly talking about eliminating Trump from politics, not killing him -- Jorge Bonilla used the remark (and Graham's ancient whataboutism) to downplay Trump's rhetoric in a Nov. 20 post:

It wasn’t that long ago that the media went into high dudgeon over Trump’s use of the word “vermin”, and went out of their way to elicit comparisons to Hitler. But this standard seems to cut in only one direction. “A crazed swarm of right-wing locusts”, is how one speaker referred to Republicans a generation ago. No one clutched their pearls or went for the fainting couch. But no such deference for Trump.

Bonilla didn't deny, however, that it was accurate to compare Trump's rhetoric to Hitler.

Houck returned for even more ancient whataboutism in a Nov. 22 post:

With the chyron reading “Breaking News; Fears Grow Amid Trump’s Embrace of Authoritarianism”, supposedly objective and nonpartisan Washington Post journalist Carol Leonnig had a cartoonish claim of her own, huffing that “it was clear that Donald Trump…was not the president for all Americans” in contrast to “all of them before Donald Trump” who “made an effort to unite the country, to try to – even though they may have been elected by one party’s faithful or another, still tried to encourage and enable and kind of, in essence, charm the other side”.

Was Leonnig in a coma during, say, Obama’s Lawrenceville, Kansas speech? Or Woodrow Wilson with the Espionage and Sedition Acts? Or Bill Clinton’s vicious spin team led in part by current ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos?

Menendez went to McCaskill with more fear-mongering and stoking of divisions, huffing that Trump (and thus his supporters) just wrong, but “the threat from within” with his supporters representing possible actors in “domestic violence extremism”.

“He is the one stoking fear. He is the one stoking violence around this country,” she added.

Houck is so marinated in right-wing grievance-mongering that we're supposed to know what he means by dropping a reference to "Obama’s Lawrenceville, Kansas speech" without explanation. And since there is no town in Kansas named Lawrenceville (though there is one named Lawrence), we still don't know what he's talking about.

A Nov. 24 post by Waters complained that a couple of New York Times reporters "played along with Democratic scaremongering over Trump and his “vermin” insult," but doesn't explain why there shouldn't be any. Graham used a Dec. 4 post to whine that a TV host pointed out that Ron DeSantis refused to condemn Trump's "vermin" remark despite being asked multiple times to address it:

On Sunday, NBC Meet the Press host Kristen Welker displayed an interview taped on Saturday with Gov. Ron DeSantis. She repeatedly demanded the candidate denounce Donald Trump for his use of the term "vermin" to describe communists, fascists, and "radical left thugs" in America. She asked six times to try and force an answer, implying Trump sounded like a Nazi. DeSantis said he wasn't playing the media game on this.


After Welker's performance, she turned to her panel of pundits for their analysis. Stephen Hayes of The Dispatch hit DeSantis for "how small he felt in response to those questions." Tim Alberta of The Atlantic said "He seemed defensive, jumpy in that interview. He almost gives the vibe of a guy who sort of knows that the end could be near."

Graham didn't dispute that analysis of DeSantis, nor did he explain why the "vermin" remark shouldn't be criticized, or even offer a defense of DeSantis' "media game" evasion.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 30, 2024 10:06 PM EST

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