Nazis? I Don’t See Any Nazis.

So 72 years after The Greatest Generation defeated the racist, totalitarian regimes of Germany and Japan we’ve elected a President of the United States who doesn’t dare criticize … Nazis.

We understand why of course. It’s because, as Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke reminded everyone over the weekend, after the neo-Nazi rally/murder in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“We are determined to take our country back,” said Duke. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.” He later added, “I would recommend you [Trump] take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

At this point in the Trumpocalypse I hold little hope that refusing to call Nazis “Nazis” and hiding behind a bland White House statement condemning violence will be the turning point civilized people have been waiting for. High profile Republicans like Ted Cruz and Marc Rubio have issued strong … words … saying more or less what Trump can’t bring himself to say. But what they ever actually do about legislating away the roots of racism is a whole other thing. Because they too have Trump’s base problem. Trump’s people are also their people. They don’t stay in office without the 10%-12% red-faced racist vote.

But the thing that jumped out at me watching tape of the Charlottesville rally was the brazenness and bravado of the mostly young-ish men hanging their faces for all the world to see as they chanted Nazi slogans against blacks, Jews and “faggots.” The blow back in the age of social media has been immediate and often hilarious.

Without discounting sheer stupidity, it’s always worth asking why these characters feel emboldened to make such an unashamed public display of their rancid bigotry.

Obviously stupidity and bigotry are hard-wired into human nature. There’ll always be a percentage of the crowd maniacally proud of their animosities. But the point here is that Donald Trump didn’t create this class of raging fools. It’s actually the reverse. This virulent, ermboldened form of racism created Trump.  All he did was step up and exploit a principal facet of the late 20th/early 21st century Republican/conservative message.

I’ve been accused of having an obsession with the influence of commercial talk radio, which exploded in popularity in the late ’80s when the Reagan administration repealed The Fairness Doctrine, a broadcast rule requiring equal time rebuttal to charges and claims made against candidates and organizations. The modern “fake news” phenomenon began at this point, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and literally hundreds of wanna-bes across the country unleashed to preach, without any serious counter argument anything their audience wanted to hear, facts and reality be damned.

Having spent (too much) time covering and being a host in that milieu, I can tell you first hand that at every point the ratings took a slide the answer from corporate executives and their local managers was to … get louder and crazier, or “go harder right,” as my one time boss told us. (For the record I was the token liberal, there to be ritually flogged, supposedly.)

The response from this group of shirt-and-tie businessmen to me asking why the hell they were selling complete nut job ideas like evolution-denial and cults of “Democrat generals” screwing up Dick Cheney’s Iraq war plan was, you guessed it, “Settle down. It’s just business.” “We’re just trying to sell ads, man.” As though stoking and encouraging the delusions and grievances of emotionally immature listeners was no different from talking more Vikings or playing more Taylor Swift.

When you look at the raging faces of the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville it’s worth considering how much of that crowd’s sense that they are the rising tide, the great, brave upswelling of true conservatism is based on the 30 years of indoctrination they’ve received from friendly neighbors of yours and mine “just doing my job, man”.

Responsibility for Charlottesville spreads a lot further than The Daily Stormer, which as I see as of a couple of hours ago has been hacked and taken over by Anonymous.

Count on it: Today on Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin: “The Radical Leftists’ War on The Daily Stormer’s First Amendment Rights.”

 

 

3 thoughts on “Nazis? I Don’t See Any Nazis.

  1. I agree that conservative talk radio and TV normalized the kind of brazen racism on display in Charlottesville.

    But here’s what I don’t understand: It makes perfect sense to me that money grubbing corporate execs respond to market demand for conservative red meat. But given that money grubbing corporate executives can also see from surveys and election results that there are lots of liberals in many lucrative markets, why don’t they cash in on that audience by serving up liberal talk radio?

    • Well, as I was told by … Clear Channel managers. “Lefties already have NPR. They don’t want anything else.” Another explanation, from a Clear Channel consultant who passed through town, was that lefties, “don’t consume radio like conservatives.” His point was the “community” aspect, feeling like you’re a part of something big, is so essential to conservative talk radio. It’s a herding zone where (to most liberals’ amazement) caller after caller and every listener you come across is on precisely the same page, often within an hour of some big news story. By stark contrast, which we all know if we’ve been to a DFL caucus, liberals rarely agree with each other about anything, other than of course that each one of us is smarter than the next (liberal) and our particular slice of the issue spectrum is more vital and valid than anyone else’s. Hence the failure of Air America, (along with the fact they couldn’t buy enough market penetration –via stronger signals — in major markets.)

  2. You are absolutely correct about the disaster resulting from repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and one of the telltale signs of the cluelessness of the Dem Party was when the Clinton crowd didn’t recognize this was a problem and the Obama crowd was TOO TIMID and clueless to act when they had a chance. They retreated even from the first little whispers about bringing back the doctrine—as if there was a political risk involved—–I mean, who would be against Fairness?? The greater risk was NOT to bring it back! Well, they had their chance and blew it, to our eternal grief.

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