Associated Press writer Ali Swenson is described as AP’s specialist on “disinformation,” and this week she dismissed the description by Republicans of some Democrats as Marxists or Communists as an example of said “disinformation.”
She cited the remarks of former President Donald Trump, although she opted to just call him “Donald Trump,” without the “former president” designation. But she did call Joe Biden “President Joe Biden,” a subtlety few readers would likely pick up on. Trump, provoked by his arraignment on federal charges last week for a supposed crime that Biden also committed, as did former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, declared he was being persecuted by “Marxists” and “communists.”
Swenson then noted that “other Republicans” have taken up the use of the terms Marxist and communist to describe certainly policies and actions of some in the Democratic Party. “The rhetoric is both inaccurate and potentially dangerous because it attempts to demonize an entire party with a description that has long been associated with America’s enemies.”
On the contrary, Swenson wrote, “Biden has promoted capitalism.”
According to Swenson, “Experts [unnamed by her] say there is a long history of U.S. politicians calling opponents Marxist or communist without evidence — perhaps most infamously Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led efforts to blacklist accused communists in the 1950s.”
After quoting a Democrat member of Congress who said, “Democrats tend to message to the part of the brain that is about reason and empirical evidence. Republicans message to the gut,” Swenson continued with her theme that Republicans have unfairly used the specter of communism to advance their political goals by condemning Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Both, she said, have used the term, “cultural Marxism,” to, in her words, “characterize fights for gender and racial equality.”
She then quotes her unnamed “experts” again — whoever they may be — who say the concept of cultural Marxism poses “a threat” that has been “historically spread by antisemitic and white supremacist groups.”
Apparently, Swenson has no problem with tarring DeSantis, Cruz, and others with ugly terms such as “antisemitic” and “white supremacist,” — without evidence — in an amazing display of hypocrisy.
She even quotes a law professor from the University of Buffalo, James Gardner, who said the tactic of calling someone a communist or Marxist “seems to be to pick an adjective that most people think describes something bad and try to associate it with the person you are denigrating.”
Like calling someone an antisemite or a white supremacist?
Since Swenson claims to be so deeply concerned about such name-calling, I decided to search on the internet and read articles she has written condemning Democrats for calling Republicans such vile names as “fascist” and “Nazi,” as well as racist, white supremacist, and the like.
My search yielded nothing but “it seems there are no matches.”
As Gomer Pyle used to say in the popular 1960s comedy, “Surprise, surprise, surprise.” Actually, I was not surprised at all.
In an article published in The Hill during the Trump administration, Earle Mack wrote, “The repeated accusations of racism from members of the Democratic Party have taken away from the impact and meaning of what it truly means to be a racist,” noting that terms such as “Nazi” are thrown around as easily as “you’re wrong.”
Mack cites the example of U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat, standing in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Manhattan and saying, “We are standing in front of a building that has become the headquarters for the Gestapo of the United States of America.”
Mack said that the media has little problem with the Democrat tactic of name-calling. He added that he had known Trump since he was a child, and although he does not agree with Trump on everything, “I can tell you for sure he is not a racist. He’s a good man, who doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”
He then commented on the hypocrisy of the Democrats who loved Trump when he was giving them donations, but “as soon as Trump officially became a candidate for president, with an ‘R’ next to his name, they started calling him Hitler.”
For that matter, calling anyone on the Right a Nazi or Hitler is contradictory in itself. Hitler’s political party was the National Socialist Party. Nazi is just a shortened version of the name, much as “commie” is short for communist. In other words, Nazis were left-wing. Just because they opposed the communists did not make them “right-wing” any more than Al Capone rubbing out Bugs Moran made him a Sunday School teacher. Ditto for “fascist.” The Italian Fascist Party was launched by Benito Mussolini, a former editor of the socialist newspaper in Italy. Communist, Marxist, Nazi, Fascist are all left-wing.
Finally, as is typical, Swenson — again citing unnamed “experts” — compares any reference of calling someone a communist to the efforts of Senator Joe McCarthy to “blacklist accused communists in the 1950s.” The reference to a “blacklist” conjures up the blacklist by executives of motion picture companies to not hire directors, producers, writers, and actors who were members of the American Communist Party. Besides the fact that the American Communist Party was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Communist Party, led by mass murderer Joseph Stalin, and conservatives are routinely blacklisted today in academia, in corporate America, in the popular culture, and elsewhere, the truth is that McCarthy had nothing to do with the Hollywood Blacklist. It was created before McCarthy burst onto the national scene in 1950 in a speech to a Republican women’s group in West Virginia. McCarthy was concerned only about Soviet spies inside the U.S. government, not on the silver screen.
Swenson’s hypocritical piece on name-calling fits in perfectly with her other articles on so-called disinformation. I encourage the reader to search her “disinformation” articles and read for yourself her consistent denunciations of all things Republican, but not Democrats.
Unfortunately, Swenson is not alone, as it has become a tactic to include in supposed straight news stories by the Associated Press and other “mainstream” news services and media outlets comments that this or that Republican — not just Trump — has lied, repeated a falsehood, said “without evidence,” and other such insertions of the reporter’s personal opinions. Apparently, to these left-wing “journalists,” Joe Biden and other Democratic Party politicians never say anything but the pure, unvarnished truth!
When I took two years of journalism in high school, I well remember the teacher telling us that when we write a news story, the reader should have no idea what our personal viewpoint is. That is no longer the case with these progressive media hypocrites.
Steve Byas is a university professor of history and government and the author of History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at email@example.com.