NY Times Leads With Phony Alarm Over Trump’s Turn to ‘More Fascist-Sounding Territory’

November 24th, 2023 3:27 PM

Tuesday’s New York Times lead, “Trump’s Dire Words Raise New Fears About His Authoritarian Bent,” was an alarmist story that begged the question, if Trump really is the next Hitler, then why do Democrats want the media to give him airtime? This story inspired multiple freakouts on MSNBC, starting with Joe Scarborough's wild talk of Trump executions. 

Reporters Michael Bender and Michael Gold played along with Democratic scaremongering over Trump and his “vermin” insult.

During a Veterans Day speech, Mr. Trump used language that echoed authoritarian leaders who rose to power in Germany and Italy in the 1930s, degrading his political adversaries as “vermin” who needed to be “rooted out.”


This turn inward has sounded new alarms among experts on autocracy who have long worried about Mr. Trump’s praise for foreign dictators and disdain for democratic ideals. They said the former president’s increasingly intensive focus on perceived internal enemies was a hallmark of dangerous totalitarian leaders.

Scholars, Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are asking anew how much Mr. Trump resembles current strongmen abroad and how he compares to authoritarian leaders of the past. Perhaps most urgently, they are wondering whether his rhetorical turn into more fascist-sounding territory is just his latest public provocation of the left, an evolution in his beliefs or the dropping of a veil.

The Times brought in NYU professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, whose sole function in the media universe is to compare Trump to Adolf Hitler, as if a Second Trump Administration would be akin to the rise of the Fourth Reich (the press has historically made a sport of comparing Republican presidents to Hitler, so no change there).

“There are echoes of fascist rhetoric, and they’re very precise,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor at New York University who studies fascism. “The overall strategy is an obvious one of dehumanizing people so that the public will not have as much of an outcry at the things that you want to do.”

NewsBusters has noted Ben-Ghiat’s laughable anti-Republican hysteria before, but she remains the media’s go-to for hot “Trump = Hitler” takes.

Here was the first of the two paragraphs of rebuttal allowed:

Mr. Trump’s allies dismiss the concerns as alarmism and cynical political attacks.

The Times managed to dredge up some dictators from history to color in their benighted comparisons between Trump’s blowhard rhetoric and actual authoritarian edicts.

Some experts on authoritarianism said that while Mr. Trump’s recent language has begun to more closely resemble that used by leaders like Hitler or Benito Mussolini, he does not quite mirror fascist leaders of the past….

Mr. Trump’s relatively isolationist views run counter to the hunger for empire and expansion that characterized the rule of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy. As president, he was never able to fully wield the military for political purposes, meeting resistance when he sought to deploy troops against protesters.

The Times went crazy with the F-word (fascism) and adopted a pseudo-clever, Rachel Maddow-esque tone (see first question here), conveniently defining fascism to supposedly fit the former president without actually naming Trump, letting its pseudo-clever liberal readers connect the obvious dots.

Mr. Trump’s rise to power was almost immediately accompanied by debates over whether his ascendancy, and that of other leaders around the world with similar political views, signaled a revival of fascism.

Fascism is generally understood as an authoritarian, far-right system of government in which hyper-nationalism is a central component.

It also often features a cult of personality around a strongman leader, the justification of violence or retribution against opponents, and the repeated denigration of the rule of law, said Peter Hayes, a historian who has studied the rise of fascism.