Friday, February 17, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He declared five news outlets "the enemy of the American people."

Journalists immediately pointed out that "enemy of the people" ("враг народа") was a Leninist term used to attack groups that were deemed insufficiently supportive of the Revolution. It was used for similar purposes in Maoist China and Stalinist Russia.

Others compared Trump's now-daily attacks on the free press with modern-day authoritarian regimes like Myanmar or Zimbabwe. Historian Michael Beschloss noted the closest American parallel was Henry Kissinger's advice to President Nixon on how to discredit his political enemies.

Nazi Germany used the term ("Feind des Volkes") as part of its dehumanization campaign against Jews.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • Democracy cannot function unless the press can report freely and without fear on the workings of government.
  • It is not a good thing if a President of the United States adopts the PR strategies of dictators and war criminals.