You ever hear someone use the phrase, “Hey, I’m just saying…”? Or maybe something like, “Well, I’m just asking questions…”? These are defensive statements, typically made when someone realizes that everyone is looking at them like they grew a horn. It’s part of life. Most likely, you’ve not only heard others say these things, you’ve said them yourself.
But we should expect better from our nation’s news media, even if we know they will always disappoint us.
This week, the New York Times ran a story called Rise of Trump Tracks Debate Over Global Fascism. And with that headline, they proceed to “just ask some questions.”
“Mr. Trump’s campaign has engendered impassioned debate about the nature of his appeal and warnings from critics on the left and the right about the potential rise of fascism in the United States,” the paper writes. “More strident opponents have likened Mr. Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.”
These opponents include William Weld, a former Republican governor now seeking a spot on the Libertarian ticket. He mused that Trump’s immigration plan was reminiscent of the night the Nazis ransacked Jewish homes and businesses in 1938. They also include such respected political commentators as George Clooney and Louis C.K.
But wait. Weren’t there plenty of people calling Obama a fascist? Why didn’t the New York Times feel the need to shine a light on that “debate?”
Oh hey, they actually mention that!
“With Mr. Trump, such comparisons have gone beyond the fringe and entered mainstream conversation both in the United States and abroad,” they explain.
Ah. That’s interesting. Could someone describe precisely the point at which something moved from the “fringe” and into the “mainstream?” Is it…around the time the New York Times decides to take it seriously?
Nah, that couldn’t be it.
Fascism doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Despite what simplistic tales of history would suggest, it doesn’t happen because of one, ultra-charismatic villain. That’s just a story. That’s history-for-dummies. There are many ingredients that go into a fascism stew. And one of the most dangerous ingredients is a news media that refuses (either because of ideology or state control) to tell the truth.
Donald Trump is no fascist, and his administration will not bring fascism to America. If that deadly ideology does ever take root in this country, it will come from the left.