#reichwing | #WhatTheyVotedFor
Three bylines, and the Washington Post brings what might well be the least surprising lede we might imagine:
The man who federal authorities say threatened to kill CNN employees had declared in high school that he identified with Adolf Hitler and suggested “the Holocaust was exaggerated,” according to a former classmate.
Some might point out that the difference between Holocaust denial and diminution is a matter of the wolf and what it wears, but that’s the thing; they’re not wrong, but once upon a time, that difference actually meant something … er … significant … ah … that is to say … (ahem!) … to the wolves.
So … uh … yeah. Oh, right. There is also this:
That description of Brandon Griesemer’s behavior in high school emerged after the FBI accused him of placing menacing phone calls to CNN, describing the news organization as “fake news” and vowing to carry out a massacre at its Atlanta offices. The FBI also said in court documents that Griesemer made “disparaging remarks regarding Jewish individuals” during one call and, months before threatening CNN, called a Michigan mosque and “made derogatory comments relating to the mosque and Muslims.”
And of course he did. And for the WaPo troika of Bach, Berman, and Swenson, two paragraphs and then the turn to President Trump, which is not in itself inappropriate. Still, yes, really, the difference made a difference, once upon a time. Quite obviously not so much to the people who had to endure the existential menace, that, yes, Holocaust exaggerationist diminution was supposed to be the escape hatch: “No, no, I’m not denying that the Holocaust happened,” #notaNazi would reassure, “I just think it’s a shame how the liberal conspiracy with Jewish elites diminishes the reality by wildly exaggerating the death toll!” It was a fairly superficial maneuver, tacitly asserting two points, that one is on your side and not a Nazi, and, hey, they are smarter than you are so feel lucky for the chance to be enlightened. And, for instance, Godwin’s law is Godwin’s law, but the corollary about losing the argument seems, in hindsight, nearly an inevitable shield for actual Nazi advocacy. And the distinction between outright denial and revisionist diminution is part of what that shield would seem to have protected. The idea was that one wasn’t a Nazi; that is to say, one was not dangerous. And now, here we are with the explanation that a terroriste poseur “identified with Adolf Hitler and suggested ‘the Holocaust was exaggerated’.”
Because of course he did.
The FBI’s depiction of the threats to CNN comes as President Trump wages a battle against the news outlet that began during his campaign, regularly labeling it and others he does not like as “fake news.” CNN has been among Trump’s most-consistent targets in the news media. He has tweeted critically about the organization more than two dozen times since taking office a year ago, including on Tuesday morning, when he tweeted about “Fake News CNN” even as many news outlets had picked up on the FBI’s allegation that Griesemer used the phrase while threatening violence.
Because of course … er … ah … right. Of course. This is #WhatTheyVotedFor.
Image notes: Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)
Bach, Trevor, Mark Berman, and Kyle Swenson. “Michigan man accused of threatening to attack CNN identified with Hitler, former classmate says”. The Washington Post. 23 January 2018.