Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oprah the Nazi

-- by Dave

As Sara just noted, there's a terrific post by Glenn Greenwald about the right's increasing tendency to call liberals (and anyone else it disagrees with) "Nazis" and similar epithets.

And if you want a crystal-clear example of this, Spocko once again caught a radio talk-show host -- in this case, Bryan Suits of Seattle's KVI-AM actually calling Oprah Winfrey a Nazi:
Does the fact that only Barak Obama is -- well, the only presidential candidate that will appear on Oprah's show, does that make her a Nazi racist? Is it mutually exclusive that a black woman can be a also a Nazi? I don't think so. I frankly think she is a Nazi.

... I think she has a right to do what she is going to do, I think it makes her a racist though. And I'm not goin' use any kind of coded language or whatever. Anyone can be a racist, we all understand that right? Anyone can be prejudiced and I think she's prejudiced. I I don't think that Barak Obama is anything except a guy who's capable of of well-delivered high sounding rhetoric, but when one asks him for specifics eh his depth suddenly shows itself.

So, the fact that Oprah not only, and I don't have, I throughly understand why a racist would support someone of their own race. I get that, but the fact that she's excluding other candidates first of all-- as someone with a talk show I'll tell you yeah it's her right but it means something, it is revealing something, it's revealing that you are close minded. So if somebody can take her side, and like I say, I know that none of you watch Oprah, certainly no men do, but your friends do, so if you can explain to me why your friends don't think that she's a racist Nazi fraud, I'm curious, but like I say, it is her right.

Good God, where to begin?

First, it has to be pointed out that Nazism is specifically a white-supremacist ideology. Unless Oprah is actually supporting someone who spouts that belief system and openly endorses it herself -- which would mean, roughly, that hell had become an arctic tundra -- it's not even remotely accurate to call her a Nazi.

As someone who reports on and deals with the activities of very real Nazis, this kind of nonsense is extremely aggravating, because as I've been arguing for some time, this kind of rhetorical laziness -- which also is not uncommon on the left, frankly -- not only is patently absurd, it actually distorts, disguises, and downplays the very real harm and social havoc wreaked by these kinds of hate groups. As Sara says, "it also drains the political meaning out of the words we use to analyze and describe fascism, opening the way to a total reversal of their historic meanings."

Real Nazis -- and real racists of all stripes -- do not merely indulge in coy alliances with people of their own race. They also constantly belittle people of other races, constantly depict them as vicious and diseased subhumans, constantly concoct bizarre "conspiracies" in which these "vermin" are engaged to destroy the superior race (namely, theirs).

Let's look at Bryan Suits' Bizarro Universe logic: He's claiming that Winfrey's open support of Obama is de facto evidence of her racism -- even though he will not be able to find a single show, or even a single line of transcript, indicating that she's doing so because he is black. No, according to Suits, we can presume that this is the case simply because Winfrey is black too.

So let's use a little Bryan Suits Logic here. If we can presume that Winfrey prefers Obama because he is black, can we similarly presume that Suits opposes him for the same reason? After all, he says: "I throughly understand why a racist would support someone of their own race."

Let's continue with the same logic: The Republican Party is only running white candidates -- candidates who can't even bring themselves to participate in a debate on minority issues -- and we all know the reasons why. I guess that must make the GOP the Nazi Party. Right, Bryan?

Well, forget all this nonsense. Here's the truth:

Oprah is neither a racist nor a Nazi, and there's nothing innately racist in her support of Obama, no more than Republicans' support of exclusively white candidates.

And Bryan Suits is a grotesquely irresponsible smear merchant who has no business being on the air.

If you feel like letting Suits' bosses at Fisher Communications know how you feel, here's their contact info:

100 4th Ave North
Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98109

Larry Roberts—Vice President and General Manager
140 4th Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109

Or you can just contact the station itself.

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