We’ve added a new group blog to our roster, FREETHOUGHT RESISTANCE. Many of the writers here can contribute to it, and we’ll be adding more anti-fascist content as time goes on…and as our outrage grows. We’ll also welcome guest posts, and in fact have already added a post from Sunsara Taylor, calling for action at the refusefascism.org site. We would favor posts that have specific proposals and information for activism; tell us about your local event, about organizations working towards good causes, about unjust actions by the illegitimate regime that require responses. Send such posts to any of your favorite bloggers here; we do require that you use a valid email address, but you can request that it be posted anonymously.
What motivated this new blog is the appalling normalization of Trump by the media. We refuse to be part of that, and many of us have decided that we needed to be clear in our stance, that we reject this government hijacking by the alt-right, and further that we oppose the widespread apologetics for racism and misogyny and homophobia and all the other vicious bigotries that have been revitalized by the right. I want to someday be able to tell my grandchildren that I resisted, I fought, I spoke out. I hope you feel the same way.
When Hitler’s party won influence in Parliament, and even after he was made chancellor of Germany in 1933 – about a year and a half before seizing dictatorial power – many American press outlets judged that he would either be outplayed by more traditional politicians or that he would have to become more moderate. Sure, he had a following, but his followers were “impressionable voters” duped by “radical doctrines and quack remedies,” claimed the Washington Post. Now that Hitler actually had to operate within a government the “sober” politicians would “submerge” this movement, according to The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. A “keen sense of dramatic instinct” was not enough. When it came to time to govern, his lack of “gravity” and “profundity of thought” would be exposed.
In fact, The New York Times wrote after Hitler’s appointment to the chancellorship that success would only “let him expose to the German public his own futility.” Journalists wondered whether Hitler now regretted leaving the rally for the cabinet meeting, where he would have to assume some responsibility.
Yes, the American press tended to condemn Hitler’s well-documented anti-Semitism in the early 1930s. But there were plenty of exceptions. Some papers downplayed reports of violence against Germany’s Jewish citizens as propaganda like that which proliferated during the foregoing World War. Many, even those who categorically condemned the violence, repeatedly declared it to be at an end, showing a tendency to look for a return to normalcy.
Journalists were aware that they could only criticize the German regime so much and maintain their access. When a CBS broadcaster’s son was beaten up by brownshirts for not saluting the Führer, he didn’t report it. When the Chicago Daily News’ Edgar Mowrer wrote that Germany was becoming “an insane asylum” in 1933, the Germans pressured the State Department to rein in American reporters. Allen Dulles, who eventually became director of the CIA, told Mowrer he was “taking the German situation too seriously.” Mowrer’s publisher then transferred him out of Germany in fear of his life.
We will be taking the Trump situation seriously. We will condemn it without reservation.