Published November 13, 2023 | Updated November 15, 2023
With your help, your love and your vote we will put America first, and today especially, in honor of our great veterans on Veteran’s Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country, that lie and steal and cheat on elections, and will do anything possible, they’ll do anything whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream (emphasis added).
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I think news organizations took the easy way out and clipped that highlighted area above, turning it into a digestible sound bite. However, the “sentence” published in papers and shared in news briefs is actually the middle of a much much longer one, as my updated blockquote shows.
Because Trump rarely pauses for a period … inserting punctuation and paragraph breaks is a guessing game. The context is critical, and that “clip” is a much longer sentence, semantically.
Listen to the full closing remarks; it’s less than 3 minutes. And the language is chilling. I’ve changed my mind: everyone needs to hear what this man is saying about the people who do not support him.
Note: Microsoft Word has a cool feature: it can transcribe voice. It doesn’t care if the voice is recorded. So I transcribed the full speech.
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This, however, is not the first time Trump has invoked images of rats in speeches. He did it in 2018 and 2019.
Nazi propaganda and “vermin”
In 1942, Adolf Hitler described Jews living in Germany as an “inferior race that multiplies like vermin.”
“The Nazis dehumanized the Jews. Nazi propaganda is replete with references to Jews as vermin, rats or parasites,” according to Harriet Over, a researcher in psychology at the University of York.
“We are still creating [monsters]. We see it in … Russian attitudes toward Ukrainians, in Hindu Islamophobia, and in American racism against Black people,” psychologist David Livingstone, a professor at the University of New England in Maine, told EL PAÍS.
It wasn’t just Germany.
In 1909, a U.S. satirical magazine, Puck, published a cartoon that showed Uncle Sam as a pied piper leading a group of immigrants from Europe. The immigrants were rats. Sending them off: smiling, well-dressed White men.
NYT fails to defend democracy. Again.
Since his ascent to the presidency in 2016, news media have treated Trump’s fawning praise of the leaders of China, Hungary and Russia as a nothing-burger. It was code that most failed to decipher for lay people.
Today, the New York Times again failed to issue a clarion call.
Tom Nichols, Atlantic Monthly columnist and professor emeritus of national-security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, spotted an early New York Times headline:
Holy shit, how did anyone listen to that authoritarian rant and decide that this was the takeaway pic.twitter.com/lgcXnlzn9G
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) November 12, 2023
The Twitter [X] account “Editing the Gray Lady” tracked the headline change:
Change in Headline pic.twitter.com/YG4tQLxYin
— Editing TheGrayLady (@nyt_diff) November 12, 2023
Neither headline acknowledged Trump’s embrace of Nazi propaganda and, implicitly, authoritarianism.
Many other publications have stepped up. One of these is not like the others.
Let’s take a journey through the New York Times archives.
On June 22, 1941, the NYT credulously published a full-page article by Adolf Hitler, “The Art of Propaganda.” It was an excerpt from Mein Kampf.
Media critics and historians take a dim view of the NYT coverage of the Holocaust. Then, as now, important stories were buried, if they ran.
“No American newspaper was better positioned to highlight the Holocaust than the Times, and no American newspaper so influenced public discourse by its failure to do so,” according Laura Leff, journalism professor at Northeastern University,
The chief of the Berlin bureau was a “loudmouthed [defender] of Nazism.” The New York Times “valued his close connections to the Nazi government [as WWII began], as it had throughout the 1930s,” Laurel Leff writes in Tablet.
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles. @kegill (Twitter and Mastodon.social); wiredpen.com