Kathy Shaidle

First they came for the overused quotations…

Posted on October 15 2009 10:00 am
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."
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Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

“Godwin’s Law should be renamed Beck’s Law,” declares Media Matters scribe Brian Frederick.

Godwin’s Law traces its origins back to the internet’s beginnings. Noting how quickly arguments on Usenet discussion boards (remember those?) degenerated into “You’re a Nazi!” name-calling, attorney Michael Godwin wryly proclaimed, “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”; others added the provision that the first debater to call his opponent Hitler automatically forfeits the argument.

Godwin rightly feared that overuse of Nazi analogies trivialized the Holocaust. Which makes it all the more amusing to see Media Matters’ moral posturing about Glenn Beck’s latest “offense.” If any group violates Godwin’s Law on a regular basis, it’s the angry left.

Here’s what has Media Matters pretending to be so angry today:

In recent weeks, Fox News’ Glenn Beck has displayed an utterly shameful amount of disrespect toward Jewish people. Yesterday, Beck compared Fox News to Jews during the Holocaust, imploring journalists at other news networks to “[a]sk yourself this question: When they’re done with Fox, and you decide to speak out on something. The old, ‘First they came for the Jews, and I wasn’t Jewish.'”

Beck was evoking the familiar (I’d argue, too familiar) quotation by anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller condemning the apathy of his fellow Germans: “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist…”

The trouble is, Media Matters and its left wing allies are just as apt to work the Niemoller quote into any debate, however trivial, comparing everything and everyone from “the next Supreme Court appointment [and] street protesters,” ACORN and even Rod Blagojevich to Jews during the Holocaust.

Given that the left’s only recognized “sin” is hypocrisy, it’s a wonder they can criticize Beck’s latest “outrage” with a straight face.

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