By Alan Caruba
New Jersey –-(Ammoland.com)-From its earliest days, even before the Revolution, Americans valued their newspapers and understood they played a crucial role in the issues and events of the times in which they lived.
It would take a while, however, before newspapers evolved from highly partisan advocates of the early political factions to their role as watchdogs of government.
A literate population depended on them for news that revealed the increasing futility of dealing with a British monarchy and parliament that found new ways to tax the essentially independent colonies. Newspapers became the glue of the new nation, eagerly read in every state, providing news of Congress and the presidency.
By contrast, authoritarian governments understood the need to keep a tight control over the news and none more than the Third Reich of the Nazi Party and in the Soviet Union.
On May 21st, Kirsten Powers, writing in the Daily Beast.com, borrowed from words of pastor Martin Niemoller, a German who witnessed their rise to power and who framed the manner in which the Nazis targeted, jailed and killed all those they deemed enemies of the state.
His poem, “First they came” was echoed by Powers who wrote “First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak out—because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak out—because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, and—okay we know how this story ends. But how did we get here?” The “we” to whom she referred are the nation’s journalists.
“Turns out,” said Powers, “it’s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to ‘delegitimize’ a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters.”
“Where were the media when all this began happening?” asked Powers. “With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.”
This is what I and many other conservative observers and analysts of the President and his administration have been saying since 2009 and earlier.
“These series of ‘warnings’ to the Fourth Estate,” said Powers, “were what you might expect to hear from some third-rate dictator, not from the senior staff of Hope and Change, Inc.”
In his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler demonstrated his contempt for the public. “The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”
Obama’s 2008 slogan was “hope and change.” He was vague about the change he had in mind, but we have been learning about it since his election.
Hitler and his minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, set up a department that dealt solely with newspapers. An instructive history of the press in the Third Reich can be found on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany’s 4,700 newspapers.” The elimination of the German multi-party political system ended hundreds of newspapers that would offer any opposition to the Nazi Party. What followed in the first weeks of 1933 was the systematic use of radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising.” This occurred in a pre-television and, of course, pre-Internet era, but it was effective when backed up by the thuggish behavior of Hitler’s paramilitary units that were used to “brutalize or arrest political opponents and incarcerate them in hastily established detention centers and concentration camps.”
Not unlike the popularity and influence of Fox News, the well-known Berlin daily, the Vossische Zeitung, was targeted, along with the Berlin Tageblatt. The former employed 10,000 people, but in 1933, its owners, the Ullstein family, were forced to resign and, a year later, sell the company assets. The latter newspaper was owned by the Mosse family that published a number of major liberal papers “much hated by the Nazis.” When Hitler took power, the family fled Germany.
This is not to suggest that Fox News or the Associated Press will suffer a similar fate, but it is no accident that their reporters are being intimidated by an administration that has seized telephone records as a message to their owners and editors to curb any criticism, any investigation of what they are doing.
Asserting that James Rosen, a Fox reporter, engaged in criminal behavior for doing what any reporter would do, seek out information about the government, has outraged many in the press, but whether they will stand firm or buckle under remains the real question. In Germany, the press became an arm of the Nazi regime.
If history is any guide, we have real cause to fear the intent of the Obama administration—one now distinguished by its leadership for having no memory of any steps they have undertaken to oppress organizations that oppose its agenda, mobilizing the IRS and Department of Justice.
We are looking into a tyrannical abyss and it is time to be afraid, be very afraid.
c Alan Caruba
Alan Caruba’s commentaries are posted daily at “Warning Signs” his popular blog and thereafter on dozens of other websites and blogs. If you love to read, visit his monthly report on new books at Bookviews.
Newspapers are pretty much to blame for this. Before the Viet Nam War and Watergate, newspapers and the media kept at arms length. They only reported the news and didn’t manipulate it by putting in their take on how it should or shouldn’t be. That is when they began to abuse freedom of speech by no allowing anything in their papers that did not agree with their thinking. It has back fired on them and now the same liberals are using it on conservative papers. There is only freedom of the press and speech as long as you agree with… Read more »
When the african born muslim scum said “the best is yet to come” after the election in a way he was right. obama will never get a chance to totally destroy our great country,he is on his way out hopefully to federal prison or even better. The best really is yet to come for the United States of America. This traitor will be a valuable lesson learned and will never happen again.
The only question here or thing worth talking about is…DID this reporter leak classified info or not?
If so, the off to the pokey you go as fa as I’m concerned. But most of you here don’t even want to get all the facts before passing judgement…as usual
@TEX if I’m not mistaken, the high treason penalty is a choise between death by hanging or firing squad.
I would appreciate someone,anyone, refreshing my memory in a specific area of federal law. What is the prescribed penalty in the United States of America for high treason ?
Those who refuse to remember history are doomed to repeat it.
We are doomed.
The similarities back then to now is totaly hair raising!! Especialy after Obummers 2010 speech about ” THEM” being enemies!! his takeover of MSM is similar to beck then as well too. he said he had all news organisations in line ” now only if Fox, Rush & others wotld get in line” you cant convince me with whats hapoening now that it doesnt stink to high heavens in the WH. Sense Furher Obama has been elected I no longer trust the Govt! I read daily, watch the news and try to keep informed on issues affecting our country. I… Read more »
Not long ago I think it was the Baltimore transit idiots who announced the installation on all the public transportation of numerous cameras with video AND audio capability, to “prevent crime on public transportation and to be able to apprehend the perpetrators”. One female rider noted that the presence of all these cameras MAY achieve their stated purpose, but it would change the entire environment for everybody. Riders would be afraid to talk to others, whether business or small talk or friends visiting or whatever. When I heard that I realized that a lot of people do understand that it… Read more »
For the sake of clarity, all references to the Nazis should include their true name and ideology, i.e. National SOCIALIST German Workers Party…
What we call “political correctness” is the mechanism of re-education and indoctrination being used by the left today. For years, most of us have treated it as comic, or at worst, an annoyance or an inconvenience. I think we need to wake up quickly. By so strictly limiting what we can say and to whom we can say it, we are quickly becoming a government-managed herd of sheep who are not free to think and speak what we believe. I refuse to use the term “African American” or “Native American”. Likewise I will not refer to homosexuals as “gay”. Gender… Read more »
Re: “Obama’s 2008 slogan was “hope and change.” He was vague about the change he had in mind, but we have been learning about it since his election.”, anyone who actually listened to what he said he wanted to do would have, or SHOULD HAVE, realized that he was planning to dismantle our way of life. At the beginning of his first campaign began (has it actually ended?), he said he wanted to fix health care and Social Security. Two weeks later, he added “through re-distribution of wealth”. People were already puckering up to kiss his ass (or suck on… Read more »