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Wall Street Journal is Trump’s Der Stürmer

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Der Stürmer was the newspaper of the nazi regime in the 1930s in Germany.

“Everybody read Der Stürmer,” Julius Streicher, its publisher and founder, told his American psychiatrist in Nuremberg Prison, as Streicher was waiting to be hung for war crimes. “I had Hitler’s greatest respect. The aim of reading Der Stürmer was to unite Germans and to awaken them against Jewish influence which might ruin our noble culture.”

Streicher bore much in common with Donald Trump. Like Trump, he was very rich, lived grandly, had a toilet mouth, and did not like the media. “Most of them are Schweinehunde, pig-dogs,” he snarled to the American reporter Ernest Pope, during a 1938 interview. Streicher’s enemies were Jews. “The devil is a Jew,” he declared. Trump’s enemies do not include Jews, but Mexicans, African-Americans, liberals and professional athletes and, of course, the media.

Der Stürmer, routinely published lurid, pornographic cartoons depicting Jews as old, hook-nosed money grubbers, often seducing young girls.

                                                               

Streicher was repulsive even to most of the leading Nazis. He “was always an outsider in the party because of his sex-obsessed antisemitism and his flagrant corruption,” wrote Albert Speer, Hitler’s armaments minister, in his memoirs. Hitler himself was aware of Streicher’s reputation. “Streicher is reproached for his Stürmer,” Hitler was recorded by a stenographer as saying at a dinner. “But one could not hope for the triumph of National Socialism without giving one’s support to men like Streicher.”

Like Der Stürmer, the Wall Street Journal is required reading on the right. “Everybody” who’s anyone in the Republican Party reads it—not necessarily the front page, but the editorial pages. That is where Republicans learn what to think, what to say, what positions to take on issues, and how to justify them to critics. And just as there was one man—Julius Streicher—who determined all these things at Der Stürmer, there is one man with that task at the Wall Street Journal: Rupert Murdoch.

This is not to say that Murdoch is an anti-Semite, or a sexual pervert, although his four wives, including his current one, the ex-model Jerry Hall, who used to be married to Mick Jagger, suggest that his amorous life has been an active one. But, like Der Stürmer, the Wall Street Journal makes no secret of its biases on behalf of the extreme right wing, and particularly the billionaire class, of which Murdoch and Trump both are members. And, like Der Stürmer, the Wall Street Journal has never hesitated to go over the line in insulting their enemies (Democrats, liberals, people of color, the poor) and casting aspersions on them, even to the extent of insinuating that they are anti-American.

It’s one thing to have an active press on both sides of the political spectrum, in which issues are carefully analyzed by those capable of understanding the details, and then explained, in clear English, to the American people. There are newspapers, on the left and the right, that do that. But the Wall Street Journal is not one of them. It is, like Der Stürmer, a blatant piece of propaganda, meant to shore up the billionaire/capitalist class of the Republican Party. What has always struck me as bizarre is why its columnists—who cannot be very wealthy themselves (unless they come from money) because people who write for newspapers are not highly paid—take such stridently pro-billionaire positions on things like not raising taxes on the rich, or not providing healthcare to all Americans (which group presumably includes their own family members who may be suffering), or defending the uncountable lies told by their president. This last is particularly ironic, since the fundamental vow of a newspaper writer is, or should be, to tell the truth. Perhaps they think they’re adhering to Churchill’s famous dictum, “Truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” But Churchill was speaking specifically of spying during World War II, when such secrets as Britain’s codebreaking of German signals, and the Manhattan Project, had to be protected. What secrets are Street Journal and their client Republican Party trying to protect?

Well, we’re learning more about that every day. Jane Mayer’s Dark Money peeled away the layers to tell us of the greed and mendacity that are the Republican Party’s modern-day tenets. We now know that billionaire radicals like the Kochs, the DeVos family, Sheldon Adelson, Foster Friess and Robert Mercer have effectively taken over the Republican Party, for the sole reason of lowering if not eliminating their taxes and helping their businesses pile up more profits, which devolve, not to their workers, but to their families, in offshore banking accounts that are untraceable and untaxable due to Republican policies.

What Der Strürmer was to Hitler and his fascist regime, the WSJ is to Donald Trump. What Julius Streicher was 80 years ago—Hitler’s defender and alibi–is what Rupert Murdoch is today for Trump. Murdoch might be a little more sophisticated around the edges and not quite as personally reprehensible as Streicher, but he nonetheless has ensured—through the Wall Street Journal and his faux-news station, Fox–America’s “noble culture” of white supremacy, economic unfairness, political mendacity and crassness. Indeed, one might say that Republicans could not hope for the triumph of Trumpism without men like Rupert Murdoch.

 

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