This Is Really Happening

I haven’t been posting or talking much about politics recently, not because I don’t care, but rather because I’m afraid of the confrontation that might occur.  I can tell when I am able to have more intense conversations and when I am not, typically.  I am not actually sure that I am ready to engage in anything heated or controversial, however, I feel like I must say this.  I am not a big fan of the comparison of anyone to Hitler.  I usually find it to be hyperbole meant to offend or start argument.  I am about to make that comparison, because it is reality.

Trump and his press secretary used their first White House communications to the public to start their propaganda machine.

“The bizarre “press conference” put on by the White House press secretary yesterday evening (angrily claiming that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history, accusing them of faking photos and lying about attendance) served three purposes:

1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of “negging,” the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible man (e.g., Donald Trump).

2. Increasing the separation between Trump’s base (1/3 of the population) from everybody else (the remaining 2/3). By being told something that is obviously wrong—that there is no evidence for and all evidence against, that anybody with eyes can see is wrong—they are forced to pick whether they are going to believe Trump or their lying eyes. The gamble here—likely to pay off—is that they will believe Trump. This means that they will regard media outlets that report the truth as “fake news” (because otherwise they’d be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance.)

3. Creating a sense of uncertainty about whether facts are knowable, among a certain chunk of the population (which is a taking a page from the Kremlin, for whom this is their preferred disinformation tactic). A third of the population will say “clearly the White House is lying,” a third will say “if Trump says it, it must be true,” and the remaining third will say “gosh, I guess this is unknowable.” The idea isn’t to convince these people of untrue things, it’s to fatigue them, so that they will stay out of the political process entirely, regarding the truth as just too difficult to determine.

This is laying important groundwork for the months ahead. If Trump’s White House is willing to lie about something as obviously, unquestionably fake as this, just imagine what else they’ll lie about. In particular, things that the public cannot possibly verify the truth of. It’s gonna get real bad.

By Waldo Jaquith of Charlottesville.

Now I want to direct you to this page, wherein the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have detailed all the various ways Hitler, and the Nazi party, ran their propaganda machine.  It is lengthy, so for those that would prefer tl:dr…

In an effort to shape public opinion at home and abroad, the Nazi propaganda machine played up stories of new “Polish atrocities” once the war began. They publicized attacks on ethnic Germans in towns such as Bromberg (Bydgoszcz). There, fleeing Polish civilians and military personnel killed between 5,000 and 6,000 ethnic Germans, whom they had perceived, in the heat of the invasion, to be fifth column traitors, spies, Nazis, or snipers. By exaggerating the actual number of ethnic German victims killed in Bromberg and other towns to 58,000, Nazi propaganda enflamed passions, providing “justification” for the numbers of civilians that the Germans intended to kill. 

…and as things progressed, they manipulated the press more…

As early as December 1943 SS officials in the Office for Jewish Emigration in Prague, an affiliate of the Reich Main Office for Security, decided to make a film about the camp. Much of it taken during the summer after the Red Cross visit, the footage depicts ghetto prisoners going to concerts, playing soccer, working in family gardens, and relaxing in the barracks and outside in the sunshine. The SS forced inmates to serve as writers, actors, set designers, editors, and composers. Many children participated in the film in return for food, including milk and sweets, which they normally did not receive. 

I have tried so hard to remain hopeful.  I am now scared.  In his inauguration speech, Trump bluntly said he planned on eradicating radical Islamic terrorism.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth. 

Hitler also had such plans.

The decision to annihilate the European Jews was announced at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 to key high-level Nazi Party, SS, and German state officials, whose agencies would contribute to implementing a Europe-wide “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Following the conference, Nazi Germany implemented genocide on a continental scale with the deportation of Jews from all over Europe to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, and other killing centers in German-occupied Poland 

It would be easy to justify Trump’s plan by saying that he will only target radical Islamist, the ones that partake in terrorist activities, unfortunately it is becoming more and more obvious that nothing the current President says can be taken as truth.  Instead, we now exist in the reality of “alternative facts.”  Or as I would call them, lies.

This is all too real, all too scary, and I feel all too helpless.

As I type this up, I am wondering if this entry will somehow disappear from my blog.  If this detailing of a factual comparison will be removed from the internet?  Will Trump continue to scream that the press is lying so that he can do as Hitler did and take over the press?  If he can make his propaganda machine a success, will we know?

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