Towards the end of October, a number of journalists started to notice that Donald Trump's supporters had begun to hurl the unfamiliar word "Lügenpresse" at reporters. It's an old Nazi term that has been popularized by the far right in Germany and its appearance on American lips is yet another sign that the American alt-right movement is being shaped by its contacts with European white nationalists. BuzzFeed writer Rosie Gray even captured two men saying it to her at a Trump rally.
"Lügenpresse" is German for "lying press," and it's no mystery why some corners of Trump supporters prefer to use the original German term instead of translating it into English, even if that umlaut is giving them fits. "Pissing off the liberals" has been the organizing ideology of certain corners of conservatism for decades now, and certain saucy Trumpians have realized that nothing pisses off those politically correct cucks more than celebrating the people responsible for the Holocaust.
While ironic-but-not-ironic enough Nazism may be fun for some of the more sociopathic members of the Trump tribe, it does kind of make it hard to expand your message to people who don't want to be associated with history's greatest villains. Newt Gingrich seems to have figured out a way to take that nasty-sounding German word and translate it to English in such a way that it has a chance to go mainstream.
“One of the great disgraces of the propaganda media we have," Gingrich said last week in a speech at the Heritage Foundation, "all of us on the right should describe it as the propaganda media, drop the term ‘news media’ until they earn it, and begin to realize that the propaganda media cannot come to grips with the level of talent that they’re dealing with." (Can you guess what "talent" he was talking about?)
Granted, "propaganda media" doesn't really roll off the tongue like Lügenpresse, but at least it's English, which matters quite a bit to the "English-only, "make America great again" crowd that Gingrich is trying to work here. Conservative pundits and politicians have been griping about the "liberal media" for eons now, in an effort to shame and bully reporters into going easy on Republicans lest they be accused of bias. But Gingrich's new term, "propaganda media," is an escalation. This isn't just claiming that reporters are allowing their liberal biases to seep into their coverage, but accusing journalists of trying to bamboozle the public and hide the truth — that they are, in essence, the Lügenpresse.
To be clear, Gingrich said this in the context of a speech that would have maded Mussolini glow with joy. “Donald Trump is the grizzly bear in ‘The Revenant,’” Gingrich told the audience. “If you get his attention, he will get awake. When he gets awake, he will walk over, bite your face off and sit on you.”
It's not exactly "blood alone moves the wheels of history," but the gist is the same. The purpose of Gingrich's rhetoric is clear enough: Conservatives should discount anything said by members of the media or any other experts and should trust only Trump and his advisers. Other Republicans have played with this idea, but Trump and his supporters have embraced this mentality with ferocity, as witnessed by the president-elect's response to reports that Russia had been involved in hacks of Democratic Party members' accounts that bolstered his electoral chances:
The entire intelligence community, the White House, Democrats who were targeted by hacks, The New York Times and a private cybersecurity firm all stand by the reports. Basically, Trump expects his followers to believe no one but himself. Sadly, it seems that they are listening.