Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric against on the media, borrowing terminology from Joseph Stalin on Friday in one of his most blistering attacks on American media yet.
On Friday afternoon, the president tweeted a direct attack against several media outlets, calling them “FAKE NEWS” and using what some saw as a veiled call to violence.
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” he tweeted.
Trump then deleted the tweet, Politico reported, and close to 15 minutes later he revised it to include more media outlets.
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” the amended tweet said.
As many commenters noted, Donald Trump’s language seemed to echo a term used by Joseph Stalin in his crackdown against political enemies. The term Stalin used — “enemy of the people” — was nearly identical to Trump’s tweet on Friday.
Many people took note of Trump’s incendiary language, calling his words irresponsible and even a veiled call to violence among his supporters.
"Enemy of the people" was the term used by Lenin, Stalin, etc to justify the murder of millions of innocent people.https://t.co/YNa7vXAAaN
— John Schindler (@20committee) February 17, 2017
Words matter. My great-grandfather was sentenced to the gulag under Stalin for being "an enemy of the people." He was a poet… https://t.co/DlcqNppd5q
— Lucy Kafanov (@LucyKafanov) February 17, 2017
This is not the first time Donald Trump has gained comparison to Joseph Stalin. In January, just before Trump’s inauguration, Slate writer M.T. Anderson issued a warning that Trump’s propensity to play loose with the truth has a counterpart in Stalin.
But Anderson also shied away from some of the more direct comparisons between Donald Trump and the murderous Communist dictator.
“Of course, it is hyperbolic to compare Trump’s lies to Stalin’s. The differences between the two figures are many. (For one thing, Stalin actually read his intelligence briefings.) Trump and some of his Cabinet appointees are dazzled, even seduced, by the Russians, but their interest is clearly more in the culture of the current oligarchs than the drab, murderous Soviet functionaries who trained Putin and his ilk. Nonetheless, it’s worth following just one strand of comparison between these self-declared strongmen: the use of lies as a principle of control. As we struggle through the muck of ludicrous but toxic disinformation that currently infests our political swamp, we should look to the past to remind ourselves of both the potency of rampant political dishonesty at the highest levels of government and the ultimate limits of its effectiveness.”
The tweet came hours after Donald Trump’s campaign released what it called a “mainstream media accountability survey” that included leading questions about whether media outlets were treating the president unfairly. Trump has increased his attacks on media — which have been a popular target for him during the campaign as well — including terming a growing number of outlets as “fake news.”
But these attacks are gaining more critics, with even Fox News coming out against some of the more recent attacks.
— Raw Story (@RawStory) February 16, 2017
— DMurray (@DMurrayNYFL) February 17, 2017
But though critics may be comparing Donald Trump’s tweet calling American news media an “enemy of the people” to the words of Joseph Stalin, supporters of the president have backed the statement. The tweet racked up tens of thousands of likes within just an hour of being posted.
[Featured Image by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]