Remember When Fox News Thought Nazi Analogies Were a Bad Thing?

Do you remember when Fox News Channel thought comparisons between the U.S. government and Nazi Germany were insane and reprehensible? This was the channel’s reaction when a couple of entries to a video contest sponsored by the progressive activist group MoveOn used Hitler analogies to criticize George W. Bush (FAIR Action Alert, 1/16/04):

News Corp‘s Fox News Channel started the controversy on January 4, airing Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie’s complaint about the Bush/Hitler comparison. “That’s the kind of tactics we’re seeing on the left today in support of these Democratic presidential candidates,” Gillespie charged, calling such tactics “despicable.”

The whole next day (1/5/04), this was a major story on Fox News Channel. John Gibson asked, “What about the hating Bush movement, the MoveOn.org and George Soros sponsoring these ads that compare Bush to Hitler?”–before being corrected that the ads were not sponsored by MoveOn (or Soros, a funder of the group), and were taken down in response to complaints.

Sean Hannity accused a guest: “You guys on the left are going so far over the cliff. You’re making comparisons to the president and Adolf Hitler.” Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway said on Hannity’s show, “This is the hateful, vitriolic rhetoric that has become the Howard Dean Democratic Party.” Bill O’Reilly cited the ads as evidence that “right now in America the Democratic party is being held captive by the far, far left.”

That was then, of course, and this is now. Here’s Fox News star Glenn Beck on April 1 (Think Progress, 4/1/09):

Our government is … marching us to a non-violent fascism. Or to put it another way, they’re marching us to 1984. Big Brother…. Like it or not, fascism is on the rise.

Beck’s rant came complete with footage of marching jackbooted Nazis. No word yet from Fox News on how “hateful” and “despicable” such comparisons are.

The ultimate irony is that Beck (FAIR Action Alert, 12/5/06) has threatened Muslim Americans with concentration camps–“the razor wire will be coming,” was how he put it (CNN Headline News, 9/5/06)–if the “good Muslims” don’t start “lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head.” When it comes to fascism, Glenn Beck is not the kind of expert you want.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.