The current controversy—except there’s no disagreement on the facts, so it isn’t really a controversy—over Donald Trump’s unretracted statement that he saw “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the Twin Towers’ destruction on 9-11 is materially different from the other items on the list of his various outrageous insults, vulgarities and misrepresentations. It’s a Big Lie, the device perfected and employed by Hitler and Goebbels, a weapon of totalitarianism. Other American politicians and leaders have dabbled in the technique, of course. I flagged the false accusation that the Republicans “stole” the 2000 Presidential election as a Big Lie; so is the Democratic cant that Bush “lied” about weapons of mass destruction. The “War on Women” is a Big Lie. Birthers are engaging in Big Lie politics—so is Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla), who insists that Ted Cruz isn’t a “natural born” American. The Truthers are Big Liars. Black Lives Matter was built on the Big Lies that Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were murdered. The current claim, being treated with disgusting respect by journalists, that white America is engaged in systematic black genocide is a Big Lie.
Most of these, however, are really Little Big Lies. They are dangerous and destructive, but not in Goebbel’s league. Trump, however, is using a Big Lie to impugn the patriotism and trustworthiness of a group of citizens based on their religion and cultural heritage, and attempting to stir up purely group-based hate. To hell with Hanlon: this is Nazi Propaganda 101, and deserves to be identified as such directly to Donald Trump’s face.
There is no debate over whether Trump could have “seen” thousands of Muslims whooping it up on TV (like blacks celebrating O.J.’s acquittal for gutting his wife), because no such video was taken, broadcast, or archived. If there were such celebrations, Trump didn’t see them, unless he somehow obtained George Burns’ magic TV from the old Burns and Allen sitcom, on which George was able to see what his wife, friends and neighbors were doing while he chatted with the TV audience. If Trump did see such a non-existent broadcast, he couldn’t have seen “thousands,” unless there was a ’round the state relay, like they do on New Years Eve at midnight, going around the country to show simultaneous celebrations.
Trump didn’t see it. He couldn’t have. There is no controversy.
Yet he still claims he did, and has a team of paid liars telling media interviewers he did. He could have said he was mistaken; he could have said that he confused televised scenes of Muslims abroad celebrating (though not “thousands”) with accounts of some Muslims celebrating in New Jersey, and apologized. He didn’t though. He stuck to a false story after he had to know it was wrong, and that makes it a lie. The fact that the lie tacitly suggests that American citizens of the Muslim faith lack loyalty to their nation and love of their fellow citizens whom they cheered to see murdered makes it a Big Lie.
On “Meet the Press,” Trump’s defense of his statement ranged from the lame to the idiotic. Trump insisted that he saw the thousands cheering and as proof offered that many people called or tweeted him to let him know that they “saw ” the cheering too. Among them may have been Fox Fool Steve Doocy, who said on “Fox and Friends,”
“You know what, I actually remember things like that, ‘cause I live one town away from one of the towns where, according to my neighbors, they saw with their own two eyes, there were people celebrating. I also remember there was video on television. I don’t know if that was from that town or New Jersey.”
So, to summarize, Doocy doesn’t “remember” things that confirm Trump’s statement. He’s using hearsay accounts from his neighbors, who for all we know wear birds nests on their heads, that “people” of an unknown quantity were celebrating. Doocy knows that “there was video” on TV, where there is always video, and he doesn’t know where it was from, but we know that it wasn’t from New Jersey, because no such video ever existed.
In further summary, Doocy is a shameless, Republican-toadying hack who is one more reason Fox has no credibility even when it does important and valid reporting.
Then, after further protests from Chuck Todd, Trump argued that the cheering from Muslims happened “all around the world” so “why wouldn’t it have taken place?” Arguing that there are statistical reasons why something should have taken place is not proof that it did take place (the fact that there should be intelligent life on other planets doesn’t prove that there is), and it definitely doesn’t prove that a particular person saw it take place on TV.
Now, the exchange shows that Trump’s reasoning skills are inadequate, and that he is not too swift. It also shows that he doesn’t comprehend the proper demeanor and care that a President or someone aspiring to be President must demonstrate; as a frustrated Todd said, “You’re running for President of the United States! Your words matter! Truthfulness matters! Fact-based stuff matters!” This is all true, but it is old news about Trump: it is stipulated that he is verbally irresponsible beyond belief. That still doesn’t reach the full indictment of his character that this particular rhetorical misrepresentation embodies. He’s repeating a false account that makes Muslim-Americans appear to be traitors. He is appealing to hate and prejudice, and using a Big Lie to do it.
It’s Nazi stuff, and he should be called on it. One of his opponents should do it. Call him a Nazi, right on TV, and attribute the tactic to Ronald Reagan. He called the USSR evil, it was, and the truth hurt.
Meanwhile, Trump’s surrogates also should cause chills to go up our spines. They are embarrassingly unimpressive both verbally and intellectually—at least Hillary’s paid liars are slick—and the thought that such people would be part of a Trump administration is terrifying. If you think Obama tolerates hollow-eyed ideological hacks, these people make them look like JFK’s cabinet by comparison. There was smirking Katrina Pierson, who drove Brian Stelter of CNN to distraction by making a series of Trumpish arguments, shifting the goal posts by claiming that the mainstream media is trying to deny there are any radical Muslims in the United States. This, of course, is not the issue except for idiots who cannot discern the difference between “not any” and “thousands in New Jersey.” Then she derided the news media for telling Trump and others “they didn’t see what they saw.” This argument is the nonsense, banned on Ethics Alarms, that we all have our own “truths” and nobody should challenge them.
Stelter, by the way, demonstrated that he is not sufficiently intelligent to slam dunk a babbling idiot.
Later, Jake Tapper took on Michael Cohen, who you may remember as Trump’s foul mouthed, incompetent, bullying lawyer who misstated the law (he claimed that a husband could legally rape his spouse) in an interview. I wrote that Trump had to fire him or prove that his claim that he is a tough boss who demands competence and a high level of performance from all employees is as much hot air as everything else he says. Well, Trump did fire him as a lawyer, but then put Cohen on the campaign payroll. The Tapper appearance proves that he is just as incompetent in that role.
Among his other pathetic defenses of the cheering Muslims myth, Cohen said,
“I’ve worked for Mr. Trump now for a long time, and I can tell you that Mr. Trump’s memory is fantastic, and I’ve never come across a situation where Mr. Trump has said something that’s not accurate.”
I have written that I no longer can hold any respect for people who support Donald Trump to be President. This latest pile of steaming offal allows me to complete my categorization of the supporters of each of the four most self-disqualified candidates in both parties.
Hillary Clinton supporters are corrupted.
Bernie Sanders supporters are ignorant.
Ben Carson supporters are naive.
Donald Trump supporters are stupid.
24 thoughts on “Trump’s New Jersey Muslims 9-11 Celebration Lie Justifies A Nazi Label”
Who else is still running and has a ghost of a chance? Because these four are depressing.
Well certainly no one on the Democratic side (nor anyone under the age of 65)…and what does THAT say about the health of the party?
Yep, Trump is guilty of the big lie in this case. Muslims were certainly celebrating outside the U.S. although how many is anybody’s guess. In the U.S., Muslims were quiet because some of them were killed in the Twin Towers and probably more than a few sensed the anger of American people about 9/11. I sincerely hope some Republican candidate will call him out for this despicable lie.
If Trump slides off this one, what can stop him from becoming the Republican Party’s presidential candidate?
The Robert E. Lee Trap: you keep defying conventional wisdom and getting away with it, so you keep pushing the envelope until you find the one time the CW is right, and you destroy yourself. It is almost a certainty.
I hope you’re right, Jack.
” “Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.””
The formula is perversely brilliant:
A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”
Stochastic terrorism is not a fringe concept. It is a terrorist modality that has been described at length by analysts.
You have completely underestimated how brilliant this move was by Trump. Trump is a master manipulator of the media. He may not be brilliant, but he is a genius compared to his opponents in the press.
(1) Make inflammatory statement that obviously false, but has a ring of truth to it.
There WERE a lot of press reports of Muslims in that area celebrating the attacks on America. You can’t deny it. Were there thousands of such Muslims? No one knows. Did Trump see them? Almost certainly not. So Trump’s lie is that he saw such a thing and that there were a large number of such Muslims, in other words, most of what he said was a lie. However, he put an inconvenient kernel of truth in there.
(2) In trying to report on Trump’s statement, the Press will lie more outrageously than he is.
They are already doing it. To truthfully report on this, they will have to admit that their own press agencies published reports of Muslims in New Jersey and New York celebrating the terrorist attacks on 9/11. They won’t do that. They have to have a cut and dried explanation and they don’t dare admit that they reported that SOME Muslims were celebrating. This goes against their talking points that Islam is the true peaceful religion and all Muslims love America and all it stands for. So they will publish easy to debunk lies in trying to expose Trump’s lie.
(3) The obvious lies of the State Media Services will raise Trump’s esteem as a truth-teller in the eyes of his followers. His statements that the press will go to no lengths to discredit him will have merit.
This is why Trump is still in the running. He lies, he exaggerates, he makes outrageous statements, but the press won’t honestly report on him. Their hands are too stained and they won’t admit it. His supporters see the press lying like he says they lie, so he seems believable. The only way to counter Trump is to actually tell the truth, which our media rejected in favor of partisanship. When you are caught between two liars, who do you believe?
The source is biased. But regardless, if something is true, it’s true, even if given by a stupid, bigoted or biased source. If something is false, it’s false, even if given by an unimpeachable, trustworthy and well-credentialed source..
Prejudice – discarding data from sources known (or believed) to be unreliable is a necessary time-saver. Life’s too short to give the same attention to “Flat Earth Monthly” and “Science”.
But prejudice is dangerous when taken too far. One must always devote some time to considering alternate views, even if they should be discarded 99% of the time. It’s the 1% that leads to learning.
Playing the Nazi Card can be unethical. It is non-analytical whether or not a person is spreading propaganda the way the Nazi did.
When people think of Nazis and propaganda, their minds jump to the Holocaust, but there are many steps between propaganda and genocide. That is why it is not responsible to play the Nazi Card. It invokes a Terror Too Great to Imagine and reduces the discussion to hyper-emotionalism.
Where I live in Los Angeles, we have what are known as EIR — Environmental Impact Reports which have to be prepared before any significant project is built. The EIRs which the City prepares are propaganda for whatever project they want to construct. As judge Allan Goodman ruled, the EIRs are based on fatally flawed data and wishful thinking to the extent that they subvert the law. The folks at city hall are not Nazis.
The same type of false data is used against Blacks in South Central and against Mexicans, but that does not city hall filled with Nazis. There is a qualitative difference between lying thieving crooks like the ilk that run Los Angeles and Nazis. So too about The Donald.
Should we pay attention to the lies and the xenophobia and should we remember how easily dumb people fall for hate fill speech? Yes. The Nazi label is actually counter productive.
No, it’s not. The Nazis aren’t magic or a taboo; it was a creeping evil that corrupted a nation. The Big Lie is the H-bomb of divisive tactics; only those with naked lust for power and the willingness to break all rules of decency use it. That was Hitler; that was the Third Reich. You don’t mess around with this stuff: everyone thought Hitler was a wacko who couldn’t come to power either.
The fact that the term is often badly used, wrongly used, unfairly used does not mean that it cannot and should not be used when it is appropriate. Trump appeals to the desperate, angry,bigoted, dumb segment of the populace that can’t bother to work at democracy and wants a demagogue strong man. One good step toward getting rid of him is to call him what he is—a crypto-Nazi.
In any other race, Trump would be long out, mocked as a reality star punching above his weight class. In any other race it wouldn’t be necessary to use this type of criticism, because less inflammatory but more scholarly criticism would get the job done.
However, this is not any other race. This nation has now had seven years of bullying mismanagement by a president frankly not up to the job. Not only has that President refused to listen to any criticism, his minions and the media have dismissed even the most well-founded criticism as jealousy or racism and intrinsically not worth listening to. The two front-runners from the same party to succeed him have fed into the same approach. If you are opposed to Hillary, you must be a sexist and complicit in the war on women, the victims of the Planned Parenthood shooter is on your hands, you are not worth listening to. If you are opposed to Bernie Sanders you must hate those who are not rich, you are not worth listening to.
It should not come as a surprise that the many people who are tired of being insulted, belittled, marginalized, and shut out of the national discussion because they are deemed not to have anything to say that’s worth hearing should gravitate to a charismatic candidate who appears to at least not dismiss their concerns out of hand. It should also not come as a surprise that that candidate should follow the model of dismissing criticism that has proven successful for the other side, and it doesn’t help that his critics have resorted to moronic tactics like the recent video criticizing him that featured kids under ten saying “fuck you, racist fuck, ” which is only going to ratchet up the rhetoric “no, fuck YOU, you piece of garbage.”
No one gives a damn about Hilary’s emails on one side, and no one gives a damn about Trump’s tactics on the other. They should. A nation led by a charismatic bully is no better off than a nation led by a pathological liar. However, both sides have become so inoculated against even discussion that’s critical of their candidate that they are talking at, not to one another, and nothing the other side says matters.
I had no idea about that video, until you pointed it out. I am simply….disgusted. Maybe it’s the prude in me, but what was the point of having kids curse at Trump? Are people to be swayed by this? “Oh, anchor babies grow up to be pre-teens? And they don’t like being referred to as anchor babies? So much so, that they’re willing to curse like sailors? Well, count me in…deport Trump!”
Encouraging kids to curse like that, especially for no discernible reason (the same point couldn’t have been made w/o the cursing?) is reprehensible. Plus, cursing, when used like this, is akin to exaggerating facts to sway opinion…a la $.76, 1 out of every 4, etc. If the problem REALLY is as bad as you claim, why resort to exaggeration/shock-value words to sway public opinion?
The degradation of our accepted standards of social conduct continues, unabated…
I apologize for not posting on the video. Some of these issue keep coming around, and I get tired of repeating myself. It was the little girls talking dirty video all over again, and it was a busy ethics week. I should have written about it.
Nazi comparisons are a tricky rhetorical technique. They’ve been used so often in so many silly situations that no one takes them seriously, and Nazi comparisons are often a sign of careless thinking. Nothing happening here and now comes close the horrors of Nazi Germany.
But…the fact that “there are many steps between propaganda and genocide” is also why it is sometimes useful to make Nazi comparisons. After all, Adolf Hitler didn’t murder 12 million people on his first day in office, and the ultimate horrors were preceded by many lesser horrors. Hitler was politically active for over a decade before becoming Chancellor, and nine more years would pass before the Wannsee conference and the Final Solution. Certainly nobody in America today is as bad as Hitler, but then again, for the first fifty years of his life, neither was Hitler.
But there were clues. Bad things were happening in Germany for years before the death camps were built, and it’s important to try to recognize those clues when we see them again to avoid the same fate as Nazi Germany.
It’s not really meaningful to say that Trump is “like Hitler,” but it is meaningful to point out ways that his conduct is evil, and if pointing out that Hitler did the same evil stuff helps draw attention to the evil that Trump would do, I think it’s reasonable to make the comparison explicit.
Great insight, Jack; well reasoned defense, Windypundit. It is time to wake up.
Mexicans, Syrians, Muslims, who is he not willing to vilify? Never apologize, never back down, rally a crowd and double down. It is Nazi-like hate propaganda and it is effectively mobilizing political momentum in 2015. The fact that Trump is still in the race is cause for concern, that he is by some accounts dominating it at this stage should wake us up to the potential. The sideshow is becoming dangerous. Someone in the GOP must show the moral courage to take him on and rally the rest of the party to marginalize him or we may all be standing slack jawed while he takes office.
If Steve-O didn’t see it, it didn’t happen in New Jersey.
It did, but not thousands in one place. A few idiots popped off in Paterson and Elizabeth, and there were a lot of rumors of this or that, but not mass crowds. One colleague from Jordan did start to feed me the line that “I’m sorry about the victims, but the Palestinians…”. He stopped when I gave him a look that could have split a rock and a warning not to go there. What happened in a lot of cases is that news announcements got superimposed over the footage of Palestinians celebrating in Jerusalem and everyone kind of conflated the two.
I will add, in Pennsylvania, where I frequently spend my weekends, there was a diner that was run by two brothers from the Middle East. All rumor started out there that someone saw a photo of Osama bin Laden in the back office, and within a week, no one would eat there on a bit, a bet, rather. Before Columbus day they were done as a business.
“…news announcements got superimposed over the footage of Palestinians celebrating in Jerusalem …”
Uh, did you just give Trump an out?
Not intentionally, but I know when I looked back that’s what I thought and it’s entirely possible that’s what he thought.
The problem with this is that Trump may not be lying, per se.
If the contemporary reports are correct, Trump may only be off in terms of the degree of celebrations (although swarms vs. thousands might be nitpicking to an extent as well). Furthermore, the claims he is lying may be part of the liberal media bias this blog has noted repeatedly.
I don’t like Trump. I wanted the GOP nominee to be Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, or Marco Rubio. But, no, based on the contemporary reports, I have to say that Trump’s not lying.
1. Brietbart has become such a Trump shill that it deserves to be ignored.
2. I don’t use Brietbart because I have been burned too often.
3. What the hell are you talking about? Trump said he SAW thousands and thousands of Muslims celebrating ON TV! Lie. Lie. Lie.
4. All of the supposed 9 confirmations say that there were reports of “some” Muslims doing this. That doesn’t confirm what Trump says.
5. Do you understand the difference between minor discrepancies and material ones? Thousands means something completely different. TV footage and “reports” are materially different. “I saw” is materially different than “I heard about.
6. Cut it out.
7. Trump lied, is lying, and Brietbart’s spin is dishonest.
MAN, that was pathetic, even for Breitbart. Nearly every single one of those “9 pieces of documentation” amounts to “I heard it from a guy who heard it from another guy.” That’s what Breitbart thinks counts as evidence? Embarrassing.