Posts Tagged “roger ailes”

AuschwitzThe overuse of the reductio ad Hitlerum, or appeals to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime, is a trend I’ve remarked on many times so far — and likely will have to again. Over the last couple of months, Fox News has become a particular outlet for this sort of fallacious antic, having been used by (probable) paranoid schizophrenic Glenn Beck and his boss, Roger Ailes. The Washington Post reports that a group of rabbis have called out these screaming, bellicose crybabies on their use of this childish tactic, ironically using Fox News’ “sister publication” to do so (WebCite cached article):

A coalition of rabbis wants Fox News chief Roger Ailes and conservative host Glenn Beck to cut out all their talk about Nazis and the Holocaust, and it’s making its views known in an unusual place.

The rabbis have called on Fox News’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, to sanction his two famous employees via a full-page ad in Thursday’s editions of the Wall Street Journal – one of many other media properties controlled by Murdoch’s News Corp. …

The rabbis were prompted by Beck’s three-part program [cached] in November about liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros, whom Beck described as a “Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps” during World War II.

My skepticism caused me to wonder why the rabbis waited a couple of months to take out their ad, but the Post explained its timing:

Thursday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day [cached], an observance established by the United Nations in 2005.

For the record — and as I posted earlier — I do not think Beckie-boy or his boss are anti-Semites. They are, rather, furious with the Left, and so juvenile that they think they’re entitled to stoop to any kind of rhetoric — no matter how fallacious or vile it may be — to discredit the Left. Their anger and immaturity are so overwhelming that they just can’t help but act like tiny little children.

Can’t we all put away the tired, worn tactic of the reductio ad Hitlerum? Isn’t it time for a little more maturity and a little less caterwauling?

Photo credit: féileacán.

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Public Domain: Nazi Party Rally Nuremberg (NARA)I’ve blogged a number of times already about the common tendency to invoke Hitler and/or the Third Reich against one’s ideological opponents. It seems people have lost the ability to explain why one’s adversaries are wrong, and are left only with the ability to call them “Nazis.”

The latest example of this phenomenon comes from Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who hurled an ad Hitlerum at the people who run NPR, in his interview with Howard Kurtz, newly arrived at the Daily Beast (WebCite cached article):

Then [after railing against the evils of several other folks, Ailes] turned his sights on NPR executives.

“They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive.”

Yes, Rog. Absolutely. The people who run NPR have managed to outlaw all political parties other than their own; they have platoons of private stormtroopers who beat up those who oppose them; they’ve outlawed labor unions; and they disposed of the state governments and now command all 50 states.

Sound ridiculous? Of course it is. Those things are what the actual Nazis of early 20th century Germany really did in their own country … but which the management of NPR, today, has never even come close to, and honestly, could never even begin to do, even if it wished to.

Allow me to be brutally honest here: Appeals to Hitler, the Nazi Party, and/or the Third Reich are — to paraphrase a saying made famous by Isaac Asimov in Foundation — the last refuge of the ignorant. Ailes cannot — or will not — explain precisely how the management of NPR is wrong, so he calls them Nazis … as though that settles the matter. Unfortunately, Rog, it doesn’t. Name-calling is childish, and beneath someone of your advanced age.

Not to be outdone, Ailes proceeded to dig himself an even deeper hole:

Speaking of going too far, I asked Ailes about a recent crack by Bill O’Reilly that seemed to envision a violent end for Dana Milbank. The Washington Post columnist had criticized Fox’s election coverage as biased and neglected to acknowledge that numerous Democrats had appeared as commentators.

“Does Sharia law say we can behead Dana Milbank?” O’Reilly asked his colleague Megyn Kelly. He added: “That was a joke for you Media Matters people out there.” Milbank wrote a follow-up column objecting to the violent imagery, saying he was a friend of Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in that fashion in Pakistan. O’Reilly then accused the reporter of casting a bit of humor as a serious threat.

So should O’Reilly be joshing about beheading Milbank?

Ailes couldn’t resist: “Well, I would have cut a little lower.”

He quickly got serious: “No, he shouldn’t joke about beheading… Bill knows he probably shouldn’t have said it. He just shot off his mouth.” [This portion reaches page 2 of Kurtz’s article, cached here.]

Yeah, real funny, there, Rog. Fucking hilarious, that joke was. Daniel Pearl, I’m sure, is laughing … wherever he may be (if anywhere) after he was beheaded … and I’m sure his widow and the rest of his family are laughing it up, too.

The Religious Right’s idea of “humor” is — as you can see — simultaneously perverse, macabre, and juvenile.

Someday all of these reductio ad Hitlerums … or ad Regnum Tertiums … will stop. Unfortunately the ideologues of America are too childish to permit this to happen. Yes, I admit, as I’ve noted previously, the Left in the US is also guilty of this … but at the moment, appeals to the Third Reich are a tool of the Right. In any case, no amount of past use of this profane rhetorical tool can possibly be construed as permission to keep using it perpetually. Two wrongs, as they say, do not make a right — and mature adults understand this. It’s time for Rog and his pals in the Religious Right to grow up, and learn this lesson.

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Pardon the slight diversion from the usual topic of this blog. This does, however, touch tangentially on something I’ve mentioned many times previously, which is the infantilizing of the United States and the furious immaturity that has taken hold of public discourse in this country. I’m referring to the latest flare-up in the longstanding feud between two cable-news talking heads, Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly.

Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post lays out the narrative of this feud. He exposes the vast immaturity and bone-headed stubbornness of both of these guys, their production staffs, and the networks they work for. I will leave the details of this inexcusable dust-up to Kurtz, rather than quote it here … there are too many incidents for me to go into each of them here.

Suffice it to say that both of these guys are being sanctimonious pricks. Each believes he possesses the moral authority and mandate to drive the other off the air. All attempts at trying to mitigate the childishness of their feud, have collapsed under the weight of this perceived moral authority (e.g. Olbermann believed, after the assassination of Dr Tiller, that he no longer needed to live up to their previous accord negotiated by their bosses).

Please, if anyone knows what useful purpose is served by the childish antics and hyperbolic sanctimoniousness of either O’Reilly or Olbermann, please tell me … because I’m not seeing it. I suggest that, instead of trying to reach some kind of gentleman’s agreement between their two networks, Immelt and Ailes should hire a couple of reality-show nannies to reparent these two overgrown children — and if needed, spank them until they grow the hell up.

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