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WWII Proves Media Danger to U.S. Today

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Written by Hank Fritzsche.  Republished by Permission.

World War Two would not have started without media corruption in Germany.  Its most trusted broadcaster betrayed the public and became a tool of the government.  His story offers every American a powerful insight into the role of media and methods of governing today.  Will we heed this compelling lesson from history?

Just after the Second World War, 14 year-old Hank Fritzsche was surprised to see an article in the Los Angeles Times headed “Hans Fritzsche acquitted at Nuremberg”.   I am that baffled lad.  Who was this fellow with a name so close to mine and what did he do?  It wasn’t until Google that I found “the rest of the story.”

It turns out that Hans Fritzsche was this most trusted radio broadcaster in Germany.  One weekly broadcast was “Hans Fritzsche Speaks”.  In 1933, the new German regime’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, enticed an at-first reluctant Hans to join the new ruling party and become its propaganda minister.  (Please note my avoidance of using Nazi and Hitler here for the party and its leader; these inflammatory words can distract from the substance of any discussion).

So what could he possibly have to do with us?  Ignoring the outcome of his actions could cost us our freedom, that’s what.  The same way it did for Germany.

The First World War was supposedly “the war to end of all wars”.  Germany was defeated and forbidden to rearm.  No problem, right?  Wrong.  In the thirties, Germany did rearm.   Winston Churchill was almost alone in trying to alert the world about the threat of the military buildup and concentration of power in Germany.   His warnings were not heeded.  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with the German leadership and proclaimed in September 1938 there would be “peace in our time”.   His appeasement was welcomed by those who wanted to avoid war, but within a year Germany invaded Poland and went on to overrun Europe.  There are those today who would have us believe there is no real threat from Islamic terrorism.

In 1937, Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago spoke about the tragic transformation of German public opinion, “Perhaps you will ask how it is that a nation of 60 million intelligent people will submit in fear and servitude to an Austrian paper hanger and a few associates like Goebbels and Goering who dictate every move of the people’s lives?”   He suggested that the brains of 60 million Germans had been removed without their even noticing it.

How did the German transformation happen?  Working directly for the Propaganda Minister, Fritzsche supervised all radio and all 2,300 daily newspapers. He held daily press conferences to deliver the messages of the Propaganda Ministry, directing the press to present to the people certain themes, such as the leadership principle and the Jewish problem.

The basic method of the German propaganda activity lay in the false presentation of facts. This is stated quite frankly in the leader’s book Mein Kampf, “With the help of a skilful and continuous application of propaganda it is possible to make the people conceive even of heaven as hell and also make them consider heavenly the most miserly existence.”

The systematic deception of public opinion was as necessary to the Germans for the realization of the leader’s plans as were the production of armaments and the drafting of military plans.

Robert H. Jackson, US Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg, wrote, “Fritzsche, radio propaganda chief, by manipulation of the truth, goaded German public opinion into frenzied support of the regime and anesthetized the independent judgment of the population so that they did without question their masters’ bidding.”  Although acquitted at the international Nuremberg tribunal, Fritzsche was retried, convicted and imprisoned by the German government.  He was in fact guilty as sin.

So Hans Fritzsche and the complicit media played an important role in annihilation of millions of Jews, invasion of Germany’s neighbors and centralization of power that stripped German citizens of freedom.

Now let’s look at today.  Gallup reported last month that Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.

We do not have a minister of propaganda as such.  But our media has gradually shifted from reporting the news to shaping it.  Our “paper of record” in New York is a major source of national and international news for many of our newspapers, radio and TV.  Many believe it is not an honest broker of the news and that it acts as a bulwark for our present government’s policies.  The same can be said for the major TV networks.  Talking points issued by the White House to complicit media – JournoList, MSNBC and Media Matters also come to mind – are parroted to the public.

Mein Kampf was the model for German propaganda.  Its principles guided the taking away of basic rights from German citizens and ultimately to crimes against humanity.  It has nothing to do with modern day America.  Those methods have been replaced by those of Saul Alinsky.

The activities and communications of the Obama administration are guided to a large part by Saul Alinsky’s tactics.  Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were intimately involved with Alinsky’s teachings in their formative years.  President Obama taught a class on, and Secretary Clinton wrote her university thesis on, the Alinsky method.

Many of us have heard of Alinsky but do not know much about him.   In his 1971 book,Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, Alinsky (who has been described as the modern Machiavelli) sets forth how to get and maintain power.  “Tactics are those consciously deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them.”   His 13 rules emphasize power, enemies, confusion, fear, retreat, pressure, ridicule and polarization.  Absent is any rule dealing with right or wrong or the merits of items discussed.  It’s all about power.

The outlandish use of Rule 13, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it”, explains why there is so little reaching across the aisle between Congress and the administration. It is why $200 million was spent trying to destroy a decent and capable candidate.  That character assassination tactic failed after the debates when Americans could see directly for themselves with no media filter that the administration had painted a false picture.  That tactic was in lieu of presenting its record or plans for the future.  Without the debates we would be left with a false narrative on which to base our vote.

So what does this mean to us today?  The German leader was able, with the aid of a complicit media, to centralize power and attack a major religion.   Our leader today is centralizing power into the Executive Branch using unelected czars and usurping congressional power.  The President says, “If Congress won’t act, I will”.   I am shocked that he has attacked my Catholic religion in significant actions that violate First Amendment rights.

I have often wondered what I would have done if I were in Germany at the time of Hans Fritzsche.  Could I have done anything to prevent the coming disaster? Once control was obtained by the government it would have been too late.  It is not too late in our country.  We still have time through the ballot box to vote.  And we still have time to demand that our media meet their duty to provide us with all the news that’s fit to print.

Abraham Lincoln told us, “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

Thomas Jefferson reminded us, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

American philosopher George Santayana opined, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Martin Niemoller gave us (paraphrased)

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me –
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

We have seen that the media in America is aiding and abetting the administration by not playing it straight with the voting public.  We have seen that when individuals abdicate their interests to an unjust government, bad things happen.  The President has just told us to trust him.  I cannot trust a person whose actions speak so loud I can no longer hear his words.

The only clear way to restore freedom is for the American public to stand up and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” and then take the time to replace that government through the ballot box.  In doing so, we would honor those who fought and died to preserve our freedom.  Act. Vote.

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