Nets Use Nazi Comparison to Tar Obama Opponents, Delight in Barney Frank's Retort

ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night all showcased liberal Democratic Congressman Barney Frank's rejoinder -- “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” -- to a woman's question: “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy?” As if the premise were coming from a typical anti-ObamaCare conservative, ABC's Charles Gibson set up the exchange by asserting “the contentious rhetoric over health care reform has gone up another notch. It happened in Massachusetts, after protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting with Congressman Barney Frank.”

Though ABC showed a picture of the poster with “LaRouche PAC.com” visible at the bottom, neither Gibson nor CBS's Nancy Cordes (who did not show the LaRouche credit) noted the posters were created and distributed by the group affiliated with Lyndon LaRouche, a seven-time far-left Democratic presidential candidate who spent many years as a Trotsky-ite and is best-known as a propagator of wild conspiracy theories. The New Bedford Standard Times identified the woman as “with the LaRouche Political Action Committee.”

On the NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt referred to “more rowdy town hall meetings” which led Frank to decide “he'd had enough and faced off against a woman holding a picture of President Obama that was doctored to make him look like Hitler.” After video of the exchange Tuesday night in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Holt benignly described the source: “That anti-Obama image is being disseminated by supporters of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche who are campaigning against health care reform.”

The Boston Herald identified the woman as 28-year-old Rachel Brown of Boston (which is outside of Frank's district).

A headline on the front of the LaRouche PAC's site: “LaRouche Warns: British Oligarchy, Furious At Obama, Could Go For the Kill.” LaRouche hasn't limited his Nazi comparisons to Obama. Via Wikipedia, I found that in 2001 he charged that George W. Bush's nomination of John Ashcroft means “he made it clear the Ku Klux Klan was riding again” and that Bush's policies are “pretty much like the same thing that Germany did, in February 28, 1933, when the famous Notverordnung (emergency decree) was established. Just remember after the Reichstag burning...”

Gibson followed Frank's retort by relaying President Obama's use of the Ten Commandments to slam his critics: “And today President Obama said on a conference call with a group of progressive religious leaders that some critics of health care reform are bearing false witness.”

The relevant portions of the Wednesday, August 19 newscasts:

ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON: And the contentious rhetoric over health care reform has gone up another notch. It happened in Massachusetts, after protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting with Congressman Barney Frank.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (RACHEL BROWN): My question to you is, why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy. Why are you supporting it?

CONGRESSMAN BARNEY FRANK, TO AUDIENCE APPLAUSE: On what planet do you spend most of your time? You stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the first amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated.

GIBSON: And today President Obama said on a conference call with a group of progressive religious leaders that some critics of health care reform are bearing false witness.
CBS Evening News:
NANCY CORDES: ...Liberals were already angry that the President seemed to be backing off his demand for a strong public option to compete with private insurance, even as they defend the contentious proposal at their own town halls.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (RACHEL BROWN): Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy? Why are you supporting it?

CONGRESSMAN BARNEY FRANK: On what planet do you spend most of your time? It is a tribute to the first amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Mam, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.

....

CORDES: But the only true bipartisan effort -- a group of six Senators trying to reach a compromise -- took a hit when the leading Republican in the group embraced one of the most damaging myths about reform.

SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY: We should not have a government program that determines whether you're going to pull the plug on grandma.
NBC Nightly News:
LESTER HOLT: More rowdy town hall meetings with Members of Congress, sparring with constituents over health care reform. Last night it was Massachusetts where Democrat Barney Frank decided he'd had enough and faced off against a woman holding a picture of President Obama that was doctored to make him look like Hitler.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (RACHEL BROWN): Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy?
BARNEY FRANK: On what planet do you spend most of your time? You stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis. Mam, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.

HOLT: That anti-Obama image is being disseminated by supporters of perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche who are campaigning against health care reform.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center