A President In Search Of An Enemy
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

A President In Search Of An Enemy

Trump's war with the media

49
A President In Search Of An Enemy

A day after Mr. Trump’s now notorious solo press conference, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza floated an idea gleaned from a senior White House official, that without an enemy in his sightlines, Donald Trump is virtually at sea. It was Steve Bannon who suggested “the media” as a target, simple for Bannon, the official grumbled, “because he never talks to the media”, and minutes after the hour-long presser ended, the administration seemed to solidify this tactic by rolling out the “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey.” The survey is a masterclass in leading questions (“On which issues do the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans?”), and some of its sentence constructions are gnarled beyond comprehension by double negatives (“Do you believe that contrary to what the media says, raising taxes does not create jobs?”). If anything, the survey resembles the kind of impossible questioning one might find on a literacy test for voters in the Jim Crow south.

Enemies, if you need them, are important to define early, and with the administration coming up on its one-month anniversary, Trump decided to ramp up his rhetoric with a tweet that was deleted (gasp!) and then shortly reinstated (of course) that called the media “the enemy of the American people.”

Trump updates deleted tweet to include more media outlets he hates: pic.twitter.com/uZu474LOwI
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 17, 2017

Garry Kasparov soon noted that the president was pretty much right on time, if his goal was to beat Vladimir Lenin to the punch.

A century ago, it took Vladimir Lenin one month after taking power to coin the term "vrag naroda", "enemy of the people", on 28 Nov, 1917.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) February 18, 2017

In his 2013 book "The White Rose of Stalingrad", about the Soviet air-ace Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, author Bille Yenne describes the uses and reuses of the political phrase “enemy of the people” which was first used by the Roman Senate in the ousting of Nero, and later has been trotted out by any leader looking for a few good enemies:

"Stalin and his fellow Bolsheviks had always been cognizant of the fact that their Revolution was as transformative to the course of world history as was the French Revolution nearly 130 years earlier. Just as French Revolutionaries used the term ennemi du peuple to describe counterrevolutionaries as harshly as possible, so did the Bolsheviks. To be an enemy of the people, a vrag naroda, was an indefensible crime.

Said Maximilien Robespierre in December 1793, “The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation, it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but Death.”
Said Vladimir Lenin in November 1917, “all leaders of the Constitutional Democratic Party, a party filled with enemies of the people, are hereby to be considered outlaws, and are to be arrested immediately and brought before the revolutionary court.”

On is also reminded that in 1934, Maxim Gorky had remarked that the use of slave labor in the construction of the “Canal Named Stalin” had been an exercise in reeducating “enemies of the people into their friends.”
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

5813
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

50680
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

57576
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health?

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

170105
Sleep Position

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Throw the Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

119192
Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments