In Continued Denunciation of “Fake News” as “Enemy of the People,” Donald Trump Sounds Like a Drunk Nazi
President Donald Trump is at it again.
In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) today, Donald Trump twice repeated his earlier claim of the week that America’s most central journalistic organizations are “fake news” and “The Enemy of the People.” Watch this clip, slowed down to what’s become known as Drunk-Trump speed to match the slurred nature of his thoughts:
“A few days ago I called the fake news the Enemy of the People. And they are. They are The Enemy of the People.”
As I pointed out a few days ago, the phrase “Enemy of the People” has direct historical referents. They include Robespierre of the French Reign of Terror, the Stalinist Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China. Millions of people died as a result of this designation. The Voice of America radio service (by law independent of the Trump administration) released a statement by former Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski:
“As an American diplomat, I stood up to petty tyrants who called journalists ‘enemies of the people. Guess that’s not our policy anymore.”
The accusation of “fake news” isn’t new, either. The Israeli media outlet Haaretz reacted to Donald Trump’s latest onslaught against a free press by publishing a news article that reminds us of the Nazi-era “lügenpresse” accusation leveled at any journalists who published information embarrassing to Adolf Hitler and his authoritarian thugs. “Lügenpresse” literally means “lying press” in German. That’s fake news. As the Haaretz article points out, Trump partisans have even started to use the word “lügenpresse” to describe anti-Trump news outlets. Time magazine has also noted the trend.
Donald Trump is not just speaking out against a free press. His administration is taking action. Shortly after his “Enemies of The People” speech, the White House excluded The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and other news outlets from a press briefing. White House Spokesman Sean Spicer justified his exclusion of journalists by declaring “We’re going to aggressively push back.”
With every additional day, President Donald Trump is making it perfectly clear that he’s not just a political threat. He’s a dictator in the wings. Opposing Donald Trump is a political act, but a basic moral act as well. If we do not check Donald Trump’s power, many more people are going to get hurt.