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Tilting at Windmills

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August 26, 2008

REPUBLICAN BOASTS ABOUT 'MINISTRY OF TRUTH'.... Last year, in an unusual display of ignorance, Fox News' Sean Hannity announced that he would begin offering "Enemy of the State" awards to liberals he disapproves of. Hannity, never accused of being the sharpest crayon in the box, had no idea that the phrase has Stalinist origins, and quietly renamed his on-air segment, "Enemy of the Week."

At the time, one of Andrew Sullivan's readers noted: "It makes me wonder if Hannity has anything above a 4th-grade level education when it comes to the history of totalitarian movements."

As it happens, Hannity isn't the only one who isn't well read. Eric Kleefeld reports on this gem:

[A] leading Republican appears to have just inadvertently admitted that the GOP's spin machine set up to counter Barack Obama during the convention is a propaganda machine spewing nothing but lies.

The GOPer in question is Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, who accidentally made the admission when describing the GOP's war room in Denver set up to hammer Obama during convention week.

Wadhams described the GOP's outfit thusly to the Denver Post: "Just consider this the Ministry of Truth."

Now, I will gladly concede that the word "Orwellian" is used a little too often, sometimes in instances in which it doesn't really apply.

But in a case like this, Republicans like Wadhams is just making it too easy. The "Ministry of Truth," of course, comes from Orwell's 1984. Its responsibility was to create bogus propaganda and re-write history, all in the interests of lying to -- and ultimately, maintaining control over -- the public.

Kleefeld quoted Orwell's description: "The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink."

And now we have a leading Republican Party official comparing its own propaganda outlet to Orwell's. It'd be funnier if it didn't hit quite so close to the truth.

Steve Benen 12:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Comments

If you look at Hannity's wikipedia entry, he only has high school and some college.

Posted by: r_m on August 26, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

The difference between Edward's haircut and Bush Sr.'s lack of acquaintance with a grocery store scanner is that, like most Americans, McCain demonstrates he can not relate to what it's like to own eight houses. As a regular guy, used to doing without as a POW, it is simply beyond his comprehension.

Posted by: Chris Matthews on August 26, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, W. himself said that a dictatorship would be a heckuva lot easier, didn't he? The GOP has been deliberately mutating into just such a dictatorship over the last coupla decades, and now they're justifiably proud. All they need to start doing is staging torch-lit rallies and book-burning parties. (First up in flames: Darwin's On the Origin of Species.)

Posted by: Freeproton on August 26, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

$5 says Dick Wadhams has never read '1984' and has no clue what "Ministry of Truth' means in that literary sense.

Posted by: garyb50 on August 26, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

This is small potatoes in a time when no one notices that countries are occupied by foreign troops to bring freedom to their people.

Posted by: gregor on August 26, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure someday people will look back at this and laugh, especially the part where the Republicans fooled half the country into thinking that global warming was a hoax.

Not.

BTW, there is some progress in the proposed Republican party platform, which "would put the party on record as accepting that economic activity contributes to global warming, in line with McCain's views."

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hJFLBN-4pLdqpkKOK0_c7PnQ6VSQD92PRADG0

Of course they also are very worried that the government might actually do something about it.

Posted by: Racer X on August 26, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, where's the link for your list of Jukebox John flip flops at your new home?

Posted by: Crust on August 26, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Crap, how did that happen ? ? ?

Posted by: garyb50 on August 26, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

And now we have a leading Republican Party official comparing its own propaganda outlet to Orwell's.

The word "comparing" would require him to know what MOT means, and obviously he didn't. He just made a mistake. An extremely trivial mistake.

There's certainly a lot of doublethink involved for both major parties, but many of BHO's proposals and tactics bear an echo of '1984'.

Posted by: 24AheadDotCom on August 26, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I will gladly concede that the word "Orwellian" is used a little too often, sometimes in instances in which it doesn't really apply.

Presumably you mean when it's applied to Democrats. Since the GOP acts like 1984 is a how-to manual, "Orwellian" can't be applied too much to them.

Posted by: Gregory on August 26, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Did it used to be common to cede the week to the opposing party when it had its covention? I used to think that such might be the case, or at least, it might be this year. Not that Obama would disappear entirely, mind you, but that instead of trying to be in the spotlight at the same time as McCain, he'd go on the backburner for four days and then pick up again when the Republicans were done. Whether or not that is historically the case, I'd love for Obama to hold huge rallies each day of the Republican convention. Why not see if they can manage to bring together 50,000-plus crowds in Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Charlotte, or some other big city in a traditionally Republican state? Why not plan for the biggest one to be on Thursday, when McCain is giving his acceptance speech? He's already speaking against the NFL opener, or so I hear, so why not make him the third most important story of the day?

Posted by: Brian on August 26, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

If you look at Hannity's wikipedia entry, he only has high school and some college.

Yes, but he makes other high school graduates with a little college under their belts look bad.

Posted by: junebug on August 26, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Did it used to be common to cede the week to the opposing party when it had its covention? I used to think that such might be the case, or at least, it might be this year. Not that Obama would disappear entirely, mind you, but that instead of trying to be in the spotlight at the same time as McCain, he'd go on the backburner for four days and then pick up again when the Republicans were done. Whether or not that is historically the case, I'd love for Obama to hold huge rallies each day of the Republican convention. Why not see if they can manage to bring together 50,000-plus crowds in Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Charlotte, or some other big city in a traditionally Republican state? Why not plan for the biggest one to be on Thursday, when McCain is giving his acceptance speech? He's already speaking against the NFL opener, or so I hear, so why not make him the third most important story of the day?

Posted by: Brian on August 26, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Whu-u-ut? Did somebody say somethin'? Hey, bring me 'nuther beer, darlin'. You relectorate.

Posted by: Greg Worley on August 26, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

r_m: Reminds me of Limbaugh. Some college and he's now uber wealthy and wants to ensure that he maintains his own status and no others achieve it through the American "hard work" way. You can only achieve that status by being a lying gasbag.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 26, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Brian that's not a bad idea. I think this Friday right after McCain celebrates his 72nd Bday and announces his choice for VP that Obama and Biden should be in N'awlins or the Gulf Coast holding a rally or helping Jimmy Carter and Brad Pitt build a house or something, reminding the country that exactly 3 years ago on that day Bush was presenting McCain a Bday cake on an airport tarmac as N'awlins drowned. Now that would be some kinda political jijutsu.

Posted by: Dee Loralei on August 26, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Benen: Hannity, never accused of being the sharpest crayon in the box...

As a kid, when Hannity was told that Christmas was around the corner, he'd run down the street to look.

Posted by: grape_crush on August 26, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Hannity, never accused of being the sharpest crayon in the box, had no idea that the phrase has Stalinist origins . . . ."

I'm not particularly impressed with Hannity's smarts either, but according to one of the quotes in the link you provided, this term goes back much further than Stalin, "originating with ancient Roman dictators placing bounties on rivals[.]"

I only point this out because your post suggests anyone who didn't peg the term's origins to Stalin is not very bright. I agree that a reasonably smart person should associate the term with dictator types, but not knowing the actual origin of the term probably isn't evidence of mental inferiority.

Posted by: Bernard Woolley on August 26, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I hate fascists. People should speak freely, short of hateful speech, but hateful speech should be Constitutionally protected nonetheless. I should have been able to express my respect for John McCain’s son. But I am gaining a certain level of respect for Leon Trotsky.

Everybody should read Animal Farm, where Mr. Jones is the Czar, Napoleon is Stalin, and Snowball is Trotsky. Animal Farm is a good book. But the reality is more interesting.

Trotsky was first exiled to Kazakhstan. His supporters were sent to Siberia and most were shot during the great purge. Why do people continue to harp on Germany when Russia did the same thing under less economic duress? Then Trotsky was sent to Turkey for four years. In 1933 they sent him to France. Then they kicked him out of France and he went to Norway. Then they put him on a freighter and sent him to Mexico.

In Mexico, he was put up by a painter, and nailed the painter’s wife.

In 1936, Stalin called Trotsky a, no kidding, terrorist, and sentenced him to death in abstentia.

In 1940, Trotsky survived an assassination attempt by the Mexican painter and a Soviet agent.

Then, later that year, another Soviet agent got him in the head with an, again no kidding, ice axe. But it wasn’t a clean kill and Trotsky physically defended himself until his security forces overwhelmed the Soviet. As his security was preparing to disembowel the assassin, Trotsky told them to stop. Trotsky said:

"Do not kill him! This man has a story to tell."

Trotsky died the next day. In 1987, his books were again published in the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on August 26, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Clear Skies... Healthy Forests...

Who would have guessed it would work so well?

Americans are sheep.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on August 26, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

r_m on August 26, 2008 at 12:58 PM:

If you look at Hannity's wikipedia entry, he only has high school and some college.

Wow. All I would expect to see is Hooked on Phonics.

Posted by: grape_crush on August 26, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

**

Posted by: mhr on August 26, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

And again I ask, don't you have an elephant to kill?

Posted by: kenga on August 26, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

And here I thought the German Goose Step came from The Ministry of Silly Walks.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on August 26, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant." Barack Obama

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 26, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Dick Wadhams is the most felicitously named man in politics.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on August 26, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Your station is committed to operating in the public interest, an objective that cannot be satisfied by accepting for compensation material of such malicious falsity."
-Robert Bauer, Obama lawyer

No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on August 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Reading is elitist.

Posted by: Incertus on August 26, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Wadhams released a statement just moments ago officially renaming his effort to the 'Ministry of Silly Walks.'

Posted by: doubtful on August 26, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

The "Ministry of Truth," huh?

Doubleplus-sweet.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on August 26, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I'm sure Hannity just isn't very well read. Just like G. Gordon Liddy:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200411230004

Posted by: Bill B. on August 26, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

OK, fire up the spin-tronic. It has to create a statement that informs the public that Mr. Dickwad didn't know what he was talking about and he just happened to come up with the same phrase used by George Orwell and no he wasn't plagarizing he just thinks like Orwell except Orwell is read by DFHs so ... um ... JOHN MCCAIN WAS A POW!

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on August 26, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

In another historical blooper, Jesse Jackson, Jr. on MSNBC yesterday (or this morning) referred to the Goldwater vs. Kennedy race in 1964. A neat trick, since Kennedy had been dead a year by then.

I don't know whether to worry more about our political system or our school system.

Posted by: on August 26, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I'm sure Hannity just isn't very well read.
Posted by: Bill B. on August 26, 2008 at 3:28 PM

That is fine, this is America where even the less-than-well-read are given national airtime to vent opinions that garner an strong following by the even-less-than-less-than-well-read crowd.

(that was fun)

Posted by: Zli on August 26, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

A neat trick, since Kennedy had been dead a year by then.

As had Goldwater, according to the results of the 1964 election.

Posted by: shortstop on August 26, 2008 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK
In Mexico, he was put up by a painter, and nailed the painter’s wife.

I think you mean "the painter"; as he was at different times at the homes of Diego Rivera and Rivera's wife Frida Kahlo, and it is Kahlo with which he supposedly had the affair, while staying with her.

In 1940, Trotsky survived an assassination attempt by the Mexican painter and a Soviet agent.

Er, no, actually, a completely different Mexican painter than either of the two he was "put up" by.


Posted by: cmdicely on August 26, 2008 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

The GOPer in question is Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, -- Eric Kleefeld


Is *that* where Dickwad got to? Oooh, yummy. I wish Colorado GOP all the joy of Dickwad. When last seen, he was running -- with equal skill and zeal -- the re-election campaign of one George Macaca Allen. I've often wondered what had happened to him afterwards. It's reassuring to see that his Dickhood here was not the result of high humidity swelling his brain, just as the dryness of Colorado isn't what shrunk it.

Posted by: exlibra on August 26, 2008 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Z8PbdK

Posted by: Rizafxjq on July 14, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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