Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Citations Needed, Episode 22: Trumpwashing -- How the Media Uses Trump to Launder Our Criminal Past

The unique threat and vileness of Donald Trump’s presidency can’t be overstated. Since he took office a year ago, he’s increased civilian deaths in Afghanistan by 50%, increased civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq (surpassing Obama’s death toll in just under 7 months), issued dozens of nuclear threats against North Korea, unraveled the Iran deal, bombed Hezbollah, Iranian and SAA positions in Syria, signed a smash and grab tax bill for billionaires, and issued order after order making life hell for immigrants and other vulnerable communities.

With this unique threat comes a rhetorical habit of "Trumpwashing," the absolution, rehabilitation and rewriting of the history of American politics and empire prior to 2017.

The desire to revamp the image of the pre-Trump Republican party and the United States in general – “Trumpwashing,” to use a term coined by The Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah - is a favorite rhetorical tic of Russia-obsessed democrats and centrist extremists whose primary charge is treating the phenomenon of Donald Trump as anomalous from American history, rather than its most pure, and even logical, manifestation. This trope - in addition to denying the realities of the past hundred years of American politics and policy - carries with it pernicious long term effects.

We discuss this broader narrative with The Intercept's Jon Schwarz.


The Show


The Guest

Jon Schwarz is a Senior Writer at The Intercept. He has contributed to many other publications, such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.”


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Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.


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