Letter: Columnist missed several points
While I agree with Glenn Beaton’s assertion (“Trump, journalists and politics porn,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, May 29) that Donald Trump’s success has been enabled and fed by the constant attention of the press, the symbiosis between the public and 24/7 “news” stations is the proverbial train that left the station decades ago. When the news had to be delivered in a concise, 30-minute package every evening, news was news. Much of what passes for news now is indeed deplorable, but it’s a matter of supply and demand. Rather than blast the press for everything, isn’t it simply meeting that demand? Without the public appetite for scandal and drivel, this wouldn’t be sustainable. (Though there has always been a National Enquirer on the sidelines, even in the good old days.)
However, how can Beaton take up three-quarters of his article lambasting the press for name-calling while exonerating the very person — and party — who set the tone? The Republican debates resembled that kindergarten schoolyard brawl that he attributes to the press, but there’s no question who instigated it this time. Whatever one thinks of the candidates on either side, it’s inarguable that the Democratic debates looked like the stuff of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates by comparison.
No one is literally claiming Trump equals Adolf Hitler in all respects, but the comparison is apt with respect to the overall phenomenon. He employs the same techniques in his speeches: capitalizing on inherent racism, anger, a sense of disenfranchisement and, finally, fear. He adroitly uses mass psychology to stir up huge, chanting crowds, casting giant nets to degrade and blame specific ethnic, gender and religious groups for all our problems, not-so-passively condoning ganglike behavior against protesters, etc. The allusions to Hitler are right-on in terms of his Machiavellian talent for employing these propaganda techniques to manipulate the lowest common denominator of our society.
Finally, the reference to Joseph Stalin economics: I hope Beaton is ready to forfeit his Social Security, Medicare and any other social programs conceived by that Stalinist guy Franklin Roosevelt. Any student of world history knows that the USSR was just another abhorrent, exploitative dictatorship under the guise of ideals never implemented in reality. A comparison of Bernie Sanders to Stalin is a hell of a lot farther off the mark than comparing Trump to Hitler.