Fox News Is Outraged by Nazi Analogies–and Other Big Lies

It is bizarre to see Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly denying that pundits from her network compare people to Nazis–contrasting this reticence to Rep. Steve Cohen (D.-Tenn.), who said calling healthcare reform a “government takeover of healthcare” was “a big lie. Just like Goebbels.”

In fact, such comparisons are common currency on Fox News and in much of right-wing media, as FAIR has documented (Action Alert, 1/16/04; FAIR Blog, 4/2/09, 8/9/09, 4/28/10; Extra!, 3/10). Fox‘s Glenn Beck, a leader in this trend, compared the auto bailout to “the early days of Adolf Hitler” (4/1/09), said that Barack Obama’s plans to expand the programs like the Peace Corps were “what Hitler did with the SS” (8/27/09) and, when Obama said he was looking for “empathy” in a Supreme Court nominee, claimed that Hitler’s empathy “led to genocide everywhere” (5/26/09).

The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank (10/3/10), who wrote a surprisingly good book on Beck, did a count of how many times the Fox host had made various Nazi allusions:

In his first 18 months on Fox News, from early 2009 through the middle of this year, he and his guests invoked Hitler 147 times. Nazis, an additional 202 times. Fascism or fascists, 193 times. The Holocaust got 76 mentions, and Joseph Goebbels got 24.

Yep, the particular comparison that was so outrageous it merited in-depth examination on Fox News has been made on Fox‘s top-rated show at least two dozen times–along with hundreds of other Third Reich references.

For an added dose of hypocrisy: Bill O’Reilly (1/20/11) had right-wing talker Laura Ingraham on last night to weigh in on, among other things, the outrageous Nazi analogies coming from the left. Ingraham has a record of–you guessed it–playing the Nazi card while criticizing the Obama administration.

How does Fox get away with such shamelessness? It’s hard to explain–if I’m not allowed to mention the Big Lie theory.

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.