Library: The Neo-Nazi And The Euphemistic Press

Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1989 (excerpt from Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism)

In fact, the LaRouche movement's fascist character and its dangerous (non-kook) side were not really difficult to see. As early as 1976-77, recognition that LaRouche had gone fascist could be found in such places as the op-ed page of The Washington Post.

If this viewpoint--easily proven by LaRouche's writings, his alliances with ex-Nazis and international neo-fascists, and a simple comparison of his tactics with those of classical fascism--had been adopted and widely publicized by the major media and other opinion makers, LaRouche would have been stopped dead in his tracks in the early 1980s. There would have been no chats with National Security Council officials, no alliance with top Teamsters, no deals with shadowy GOP operatives, no grassroots candidates' movement of significant proportions, no passive sufferance by the Democratic Party, and certainly no Illinois primary victories in 1986. All that was needed was for opinion leaders to draw the same clear line they had drawn against the Klan, to name LaRouche for what he really was, to declare his movement beyond the bounds of decency.

The confusion on this point, and the inability to draw a clear line, is best illustrated by the role of the major media and especially the major daily newspapers....

After the 1986 Illinois primary, it was more important than ever to give the public accurate information about LaRouche. At first it appeared that blunt, accurate terms might become acceptable. The media did quote Adlai Stevenson III as calling the LaRouchians neo-Nazis. Senator Moynihan likewise used this designation in a Manhattan speech. Many journalists were aware of the truth, but the major media...decided to stick to soft terms that wouldn't disturb anyone (the Times went so far as to censor out the forbidden word in its coverage of Moynihan's speech). Some newspapers continued to call LaRouche a "rightist," but conservatives began to object. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial suggesting that LaRouche was really still left-wing (the evidence it cited was conspiracy theories that actually originated on the right). Suddenly the fact that U.S. and West German ultrarightist networks had nurtured LaRouche and provided him with ideas, money, and allies (not to mention weapons training) for the previous ten years became too controversial to dwell on. Newspapers avoided giving offense to the right by adopting the neutral term "political extremist" or by saying LaRouche had a "mixed" philosophy. The New York Times called him "eccentric" and a "conspiracy theorist" while announcing that he somehow defied classification in conventional terms. Meanwhile, most of the media promoted the kook theory, by reminding the public over and over that LaRouche believes the Queen of England pushes drugs. The only serious analysis of LaRouche appeared in smaller unorthodox weeklies such as the Chicago Reader, the Boston Phoenix and In These Times. LaRouche watcher Chip Berlet recalled his frustration at the time: "I talked with dozens of reporters. I'd send them LaRouche's writings. Then I'd lead them step-by-step through it on the phone, to show them it was classic fascism. I'd cite chapter and verse from Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism--how LaRouche fit like a glove. They'd say, 'That's nice,' then turn to their word processors and crank out some quip about Queen Elizabeth."

From Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, by Dennis King. Doubleday. 415 pp. $26.95.

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