The Right-Wing "Isms" Arms Race Heats Up


Smart post by Karl Frisch over at Media Matters:

An "-isms" arms race is under way in America.

Turn on cable news or talk radio and you're likely to hear a conservative host, right-wing pundit, or Republican elected official accuse President Obama and the Democratic Congress of just about every "-ism" in the book.

Socialism, Marxism, Leninism, fascism, Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism -- few, if any, "-isms" have been spared as the right escalates its daily verbal assault on the progressive agenda.

In fact, according to a search of broadcasts on, since Obama's inauguration in January, these terms and others like them have been thrown around on cable news at least 3,000 times. Add conservative talk radio and the nation's newspaper op-ed pages to the mix and watch that figure grow like a well-watered, limited edition Bill O'Reilly Chia Pet.

Take the third most-listened-to radio voice in America, San Francisco's Michael Savage, who recently called Obama "a neo-Marxist fascist dictator in the making." That's one of the kinder things Savage has said of the president during his daily three-hour hatefest. He's also claimed that the "radical left," including Obama, "dream[s]" of "Maoist revolution" with "death camps" and that Obama appointees "actually have almost the same exact policies as the Nazi Party did."

Then there's Fox News' "-ism" king, Sean Hannity, who has dubbed the United States under Obama the "United States of France" (bonus points for bringing up the dreaded French) and the president himself "commissar-in-chief." Hannity, who hates to pass up an opportunity to advance GOP talking points, has even applauded congressional Republicans for finally using the "S-word." He's also said the Obama administration "is on a mission to hijack capitalism in favor of collectivism. ... The Bolsheviks have already arrived." He opened one recent show by declaring, "Day number 52 of the socialism that you've been waiting for." At least he can count. Spelling, on the other hand, doesn't appear to be Hannity's strong suit. His Red-baiting blood runs so -- well, red, I guess, that his program recently misspelled "comrades" in on-air graphics.

The same folks who've likened progressive policy initiatives to communism have gone on to accuse the president and other Democrats of "McCarthyism." The bizarre nature of this historical comparison is apparently lost on those making the charge. It would be a bit like practicing magic days before kicking off a witch hunt. Hocus-pocus, indeed.

There were moments during the 08' campaign when I wanted to throw something heavy at the TV as some talking-head blathered on about the threat of creeping socialism in an Obama administration.

Anyway, go read the whole thing.

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