‘Fascism’ Frame Set Up By Neocon Press


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

'Fascism' Frame Set Up
By Neocon Press
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service

The aggressive new campaign by the administration of President George W. Bush to
depict U.S. foes in the Middle East as "fascists" and its domestic critics as 
"appeasers" owes a great deal to steadily intensifying efforts by the right-wing
press over the past several months to draw the same comparison.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Network and The Weekly Standard, as well as 
the Washington Times, which is controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's 
Unification Church, and the neoconservative New York Sun, have consistently and 
with increasing frequency framed the challenges faced by Washington in the 
region in the context of the rise of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s, according 
to a search of the Nexis database by IPS.

All of those outlets, as well as two other right-wing U.S. magazines - The 
National Review and The American Spectator - far outpaced their commercial 
rivals in the frequency of their use of key words and names, such as 
"appeasement," "fascism," and "Hitler," particularly with respect to Iran and 
its controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Nexis, for example, cited 56 uses of "Islamofascist" or "Islamofascism" in 
separate programs or segments aired by Fox News compared with 24 by CNN over the
past year. Even more striking, the same terms were used in 115 different 
articles or columns in the Washington Times, compared with only eight in the 
Washington Post over the same period, according to a breakdown by Nexis.

Similarly, the Washington Times used the words "appease" or "appeasement" - a 
derogatory reference to efforts by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to
avoid war with Nazi Germany before the latter's invasion of Poland - in 25 
different articles or columns that dealt with alleged threats posed by 
Ahmadinejad, compared to six in the Post and only three in the New York Times.

Israel-centered neoconservatives and other hawks have long tried to depict 
foreign challenges to U.S. power as replays of the 1930s in order to rally 
public opinion behind foreign interventions and high defense budgets and against
domestic critics.

During the Cold War, they attacked domestic critics of the Vietnam War and later
the Ronald Reagan administration's "contra war" against Nicaragua - and even 
Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon - as "isolationists" and "appeasers" who 
failed to understand that their opposition effectively served the interests of 
an "evil" Soviet Union whose ambitions for world conquest were every bit as 
threatening and real as that of the Axis powers in World War II.

Known as "the Good War," that conflict remains irresistible as a point of 
comparison for hawks caught up in more recent conflicts - from the first Gulf 
War when former President H.W. Bush compared Iraq's Saddam Hussein to Hitler; to
the Balkan wars when neoconservatives and liberal interventionists alike 
described Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in similar terms; to the younger 
Bush's "global war on terrorism" (GWOT), which he and his supporters have 
repeatedly tried to depict as the latest in a series of existential struggles 
against "evil" and "totalitarians" that began with World War II.

Given the growing public disillusionment not only with the Iraq war, but with 
Bush's handling of the larger GWOT as well - not to mention the imminence of the
mid-term Congressional elections in November and the growing tensions with 
Ahmadinejad's Iran over its nuclear program - it is hardly surprising that both 
the administration and its hawkish supporters are trying harder than ever to 
identify their current struggles, including last month's conflict between Israel
and Iran-backed Hezbollah, specifically with the war against "fascism" more than
60 years ago.

As noted by Associated Press (AP) this week, "fascism" or "Islamic fascism," a 
phrase used by Bush himself two weeks ago and used to encompass everything from 
Sunni insurgents, al-Qaeda and Hamas to Shi'ite Hezbollah and Iran to secular 
Syria, has become the "new buzzword" for Republicans.

In a controversial speech Tuesday, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld was even more 
direct, declaring that Washington faced a "new type of fascism" and, in an 
explicit reference to the failure of western countries to confront Hitler in the
1930s, assailing critics for neglecting "history's lessons" by "believ(ing) that
somehow vicious extremists can be appeased."

But Rumsfeld's remarks, which drew bitter retorts from leading Democrats, 
followed a well-worn path trod with increasing intensity by the neoconservative 
and right-wing media over the last year, according to the Nexis survey. 
Significantly, it did not include the Wall Street Journal whose editorial pages 
have been dominated by neoconservative opinion, particularly analogies between 
the rise of fascism and the challenges faced by the U.S. in the Middle East, 
since 9/11.

Thus, the Washington Times published 95 articles and columns that featured the 
words "fascism" or "fascist" and "Iraq" over the past year, twice as many as 
appeared in the New York Times during the same period. More than half of the 
Washington Times' articles were published in just the past three months - three 
times as many as appeared in the New York Times.

Similarly, the National Review led all magazines and journals with 66 such 
references over the past year, followed by 48 in The American Spectator, and 14 
by The Weekly Standard. Together, those three publications accounted for more 
than half of all articles with those words published by the more than three 
dozen U.S. periodicals catalogued by Nexis since last September.

The results were similar for "appease" or "appeasement" and "Iraq." Led by the 
Review, the same three journals accounted for more than half the articles (175) 
that included those words in some three dozen U.S. Magazines over the past year.
As for newspapers, the Washington Times led the list with 46 articles, 50 
percent more than the New York Times which also had fewer articles than its 
crosstown neoconservative rival, the much-smaller New York Sun.

Searching on Nexis for articles and columns that included "Iran" and "fascist" 
or "fascism," IPS found that the Sun and the Times topped the newspaper list by 
a substantial margin, as did the Review, the Spectator, and the Standard among 
the magazines and journals. Nearly one-third of all such references over the 
past year were published in August, according to the survey.

Nexis, which also surveys the Canadian press, found that newspapers owned by 
CanWest Global Communications, a group that owns the country's Global Television
Network, as well as the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Montreal 
Gazette and several other regional newspapers, were also among the most 
consistent propagators of the "fascism" paradigm and ranked far ahead of other 
Canadian outlets in the frequency with which they used key words, such as 
"appeasement" and "fascist" in connection with Iraq and Iran.

The group is run by members of the Asper family whose foreign policy views have 
been linked to prominent hardline neoconservatives here and the right-wing Likud
Party in Israel.

(Inter Press Service)


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