Monday, April 25, 2005

Alexander Cockburn on Time's Hitler cover story

Lloyd e-mails Alexander Cockburn's latest at CounterPunch, "Time's Buried Hitler Cover:"

Throughout the article, Time's reporters and rewrite team gave Hitler every benefit of the doubt. Hitler's notoriously vitriolic hate speech was alternately dismissed as a put-on or excused as "from his heart." The worst Time could say about Hitler is that he could "occasionally be coarse," citing Hitler's oft-repeated claim that Jews are "genetic garbage". Time readers learned that Hitler is an omnivorous reader (the report mentions Gobineau and several American writers on population control), and that he regards himself "as a public intellectual."
Hitler is dubbed "iconic" by Time because he "epitomizes the way politics is now discussed in the Munich beer halls."
"Hitler has a reputation for carelessness with facts, " Time reported, adding that its checking staff "did not in fact find many outright errors," though the magazine acknowledged that Hitler was, in a sense, hard to "fact check" because he "rarely makes arguments based on facts".
Throughout the cover story, Time presents instances where Hitler has been allegedly misunderstood or underappreciated. Hitler, it claims, "likes to shock reporters by wondering aloud whether Germany might be better off if the world was rid of global lice like Slavs, gypsies and Jews" but writes or speaks such things on "only to get a rise out of journalists" and enhance his political profile. Time recalls a 1932 Munich rally where Hitler offered his typical hyperbole: "We must drench the world in blood in retribution for Germany’s past injuries". Unfortunately, writes Time, "his drench-the-world bit" would later be wrenched from context and repeatedly quoted as Hitlerian nuttiness or worse, The context, apparently, is that Hitler was laughing when he said it. Time admits that maybe not everyone would find the line funny.

Sound familiar? Thinking of Ann Coulter?

Note: Cockburn is using humor to illustrate a point. I thought (wrongly) that the joke would be
seen but a few members e-mailed in to ask if the issue was available online. Cockburn was joking (and notes that in the piece). I'm sorry that I wrongly assumed that would be readily apparent.

The e-mail address for this site is