Conservative radio host invokes Hitler in attack on Barack Obama

Eric Metaxas compares former president’s condemnation of ‘phony, trumped-up culture war’ issues through right-wing media to ‘a level of lying that unfortunately rises to evil’

Alex Woodward
New York
Tuesday 26 October 2021 15:54
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Conservative radio host invokes Hitler in attack on Barack Obama
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Right-wing radio host Eric Metaxas, who hosts daily nationally syndicated programmes, has compared Barack Obama’s condemnation of conservative “culture war” grievances and media-enabled bigotry to comments by Adolf Hitler.

During a segment on far-right cable network Newsmax on 25 October, host Dan Cortes said the nation’s first Black president’s administration “accelerated” a “Kulturekampf” between conservative Christians and issues on race and gender, pointing to recent school board battles over transgender students’ rights and teaching inclusive history lessons cast as critical race theory.

At a campaign rally on 23 October to support Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe, the former president criticised Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin for supporting “phony, trumped-up culture wars”.

“This fake outrage that right-wing media pedals to juice their ratings, and the fact that he’s willing to go along with it instead of talking about serious problems that actually affect serious people? That’s a shame,” Mr Obama said on Saturday. “That’s not what this election’s about.”

On Newsmax, Mr Cortes said: “Isn’t it rich then that this very man is lecturing us because the right is starting to fight back and telling us we shouldn’t be engaging in this culture war he started.”

Mr Metaxas replied: “His saying that is as if Adolf Hitler had said, ‘We need to put an end to antisemitism. Enough.’ If Hitler said something like that, you wouldn’t think it was funny. You wouldn’t think it was hypocritical. You’d think it was evil. It’s a level of lying that unfortunately rises to evil.”

Asked by Mr Cortes whether conservative Christian “niceness” is preventing the American right from engaging in a “fight” over cultural war issues the panelists have cast as destroying America with “cultural Marxism,” Mr Metaxas called those who don’t “cowards”.

If the country is being “destroyed by fools and incompetents and wicked cultural marxists, and you do not fight? You’re the problem. You’re a coward,” he said.

“If now is not the time to fight, there is no time to fight. Do everything you can to work against this,” said Mr Metaxas, adding that the American right may soon be stripped of their money, voice or platforms.

It was not the first time that Mr Metaxas – a prominent Donald Trump supporter who supported the lie that the 2020 presidential election was marred by fraud – has compared Democratic officials and Joe Biden’s administration to Nazism.

After federal law enforcement issued a domestic terrorism advisory bulletin in the wake of the Capitol riot on 6 January, he said “if this isn’t our ‘Reichstag Fire’ I don’t know what is” – suggesting that the administration was prematurely blaming pro-Trump supporters just as Hitler blamed his political opponents for an arson attack as pretext to violently suppress dissent and consolidate power.

“The point is, in Germany, if you didn’t go along with the party line, you would be demonised,” he told The Atlantic earlier this year. “We’re kind of getting there. Even a millimeter in that direction is too close for comfort for me.”

The Independent has requested comment from Mr Metaxas.

The framing of so-called “culture war” issues developed by right-wing think tanks have dominated cable news, fuelled Republican platforms and mobilised conservatives to protest Covid-19 vaccination efforts, transgender rights, and teaching accurate histories of racism and civil rights in schools, presented as existential threats to their ways of life.

One study by progressive media watchdog Media Matters found Fox News mentioned “critical race theory” more than 900 times in June alone and 1,900 times over the previous three months, compared to just three times a year earlier.

Mr Cortes said in his commentary on 25 October that “the culture war ends when you lose and our side wins”.

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