Friday, November 25, 2016

Tracking Report #11

It’s been a while since we did a tracking report on the fabricated quotation by Joseph Goebbels.

The last one, in fact, was on May 20, 2015. At that point there were 45,000 Google hits.  On November 25, 2016 the total is 40,600.  It would be encouraging to think citations were ebbing, but is  a result of changes in Google’s algorithms rather than a decline in use.  Microsoft’s Bing search engine provides 2,430,000 results.

Fortunately, our pages are at the top of most search engine results, so those who try to be accurate will find sufficient information as to discourage them from further spreading nonsense.

The Fabricated Quotation and Donald Trump

Over the years that we have followed this fabricated quotation allegedly by Joseph Goebbels, we find it is regularly used by both those on the right and left to assail their opponents.  Let’s look at what has happened since the advent of Donald Trump.

A Google search on November 25, 2016 finds about 35,000 web pages with the quotation that mention Donald Trump.  Clinton supporters used it to denigrate Trump, and Trump supporters used it against Clinton.  Some examples:

An August 11, 2016 post on claims that Clinton is following Joseph Goebbels’s strategy in dealing with Donald Trump. It claims to be “a rapid, up-to-date political news service that is relevant to the Tea Party movement of Constitutional conservatives.”  It doesn’t believe in fact-checking, apparently.

Dr. Rich Swier, who advertises himself as a "conservative with a conscience,” does not apply his conscience in matters of accuracy. In a September 13, 2016 post titled

    “Hillary’s Goebbels Problem — ‘The Big Lie

he accuses the Clinton campaign of using Goebbels’s methods by “frantically seeking ways to hide the truth about Mrs. Clinton.”

Meanwhile, Sputnik News, a Russian site with a remarkable ability to convey untrue material, carried a piece in September 2016 titled  “Trump’s Immigration Speech and Godwin’s Law.” It cited the Goebbels quotation and claimed that Trump was using Goebbels’s methods.

Closer to home, the Piqua Daily Call, a newspaper in Florida, published a column by Maria Boone titled “Burning down the house.”  She says, among other things:

An infamous man from history once declared “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
The speaker worked for a man who has much in common with Donald Trump. This man found himself on the cusp of power in a country that was floundering in turmoil and dissatisfaction with its government. The bossman, like Trump, found he could garner support by proclaiming who people should be afraid of and who they should blame for all their problems. The speaker was Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minster in Nazi Germany. His boss was Adolf Hitler.
Trump has found his own Goebbels in Steve Bannon, an anti-Semite, xenophobe, misogynist, white nationalist. Bannon has been named chief strategist and senior counselor for the Trump administration. Bannon hosts a website that asks questions such as “Would you rather your daughter be a feminist or have cancer?”
There are more.  We’re actually surprised there aren’t more than 35,000, but they will surely come as the left begins focusing on Trump’s presidency and the right assails those who fail to recognize his virtues.