The Enemies of the American People -The New Yorker



Lenin, Stalin, and the rest—used the term vrag naroda, an “enemy of the people,” it was an ominous epithet that encompassed a range of “wreckers” and “socially dangerous elements.” To be branded an enemy of the people was to face nearly inevitable doom; such a fate was soon followed by a knock on the door in the middle of the night, a prison cell, the Gulag, an icy ditch—a variety of dismal ends.

To be called an “enemy of the people” did not mean you had to hold oppositional thoughts or commit oppositional acts; it only meant that the dictator had included you in his grand scheme to insure the compliance of the population.

Robespierre, one of the architects of the Jacobin Reign of Terror, set out to “horrify” the opposition, and his instruments were the epithet, righteousness, and the blade. “The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation,” he said. “It owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death.”

Once in power, Lenin was far more brutal than the revolutionary French. He built the first outposts of the gulag archipelago. Stalin, Lenin’s energetic successor, expanded the system from western Russia to the Sea of Okhotsk, ten time zones to the east.

Now Donald Trump, the elected President of the oldest democracy on earth, a real-estate brander and reality-TV star, has taken not to Pravda but to his own preferred instrument of autocratic pronouncement—the tweet—to declare the media “the enemy of the American People.”

For months, cool, responsible heads have been counselling hot, impulsive heads to avoid overreacting to Trump. We must give him a chance. We must not in all our alarm compare him to all the tin-pot dictators and bloody authoritarians who have disgraced history.

Sadly, none of this was written by me, but by David Remnick, the editor of “The New Yorker.” A brilliantly written piece of journalism. The New Yorker is only one of the magazines and newspaper that Trump attacked in one of his many senseless tweets.

Now is the time to show loyalty and to the free press. Journalists, newspapers and TV stations are under attack.

Take the New Yorker for instance -one of my favorite websites to go to when I want to read a well-written piece of information, or when I need a good laugh about the times we live in. Only $6 and you get online access for 12 weeks as well as home delivery. “Read something that means something.”

The article ends on a serious note

In the meantime, the New York Times and the Washington Post­­ are engaged in a ferociously competitive battle to cover this new Administration that has bolstered the forces of fact and truth, and no one has shut off their computers or phones, either. At CNN, Jeff Zucker, the network president, has gotten telephone calls of bitter complaint from Jared Kushner about the coverage of his father-in-law, but if the performance of Jake Tapper and others there is any indication, the attempt to intimidate CNN has not deflated any spirits. The journalists at Mother Jones, MSNBC, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, NPR, The National Review, the Marshall Project, ProPublica, and many other outlets are doing their work with determination and seriousness.

Source: The New Yorker  (Please read the full article, it’s brilliant)

We need to support the free press. Many online news websites offer specials these days. Just 99 cents provides us with full access for up to 3 months. It’s money well spend! I agree with John McCain who said, “Our free press is essential to a healthy democracy.” I am glad he spoke out and I hope many (on both sides of the aisle) will follow.




23 thoughts on “The Enemies of the American People -The New Yorker

  1. If it’s any consolation, I have started watching CNN now, in addition to my prior network of political choice, MSNBC, just to see what all the “fuss” was about, Of course, I have not seen or heard anything so “terrible” that their reporters should be banned by his Excellency the Donald. On the contrary, I have found their evening moderators to be quite polite and evenhanded when trying to manage discussions between way too many “talking heads” on their programs. This is the exact opposite of the approach taken by Fox News which, based on the networks that were allowed into private discussions with the current White House press office, may even be too liberal for Bannon, Kushner, Miller et al who we all know are the ones truly running that establishment, or what’s left of it anyway. It’s really amazing to me now that I used to watch Fox just to get a bit of what “the enemy” was thinking, but now I can’t even stand to leave it on that channel for more than a minute or two before I become nauseated at the ignorance and hate that spews out of the majority of those commentators.


  2. I too cringed at the use of the expression ‘Enemy of The People”. Holy Crap! I feel like I’m watching real-time the devolution of a democracy.

    In Canada we are seeing wannabe Conservative leadership candidates, hoping to oppose Trudeau and his liberal policies, taking a chapter from the Trump playbook, spouting the same vileness … and their popularity is growing! I agree with Catherine …. this is a Stage 5 cancer!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donald Trump is a Stage 5 Cancer. And the entire republican party is Stage 4. My issue with the press–well more the television media is that they assisted in elected this vile man by normalizing him. Yet, they raised the bar too high for Clinton. Where was this press when it came to defending Clinton? Where was this media when it came time to tell the American people that-no, she may not be the most popular candidate but she had expertise in politics. Her husband was President for eight years.
    The media glorified Trump in a very bizarre way by normalizing his behavior and not having the balls to criticize him when they could have.
    And the problem therein lies in the disease known as political correctness. News should NOT be politically correct. News needs to be HARSH. It needs to be in your face and needs to be a wake up call.
    The free press has a chance to redeem themselves. Get real. Grow a set of balls. SCARE people the way that moron in the whiter house scares people. Beat that bastard at his own game.
    God I wish I was a journalist. I would go for the gut.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was screaming bloody murder in front of my keyboard through the whole election circus and I wrote about the double standard. I couldn’t believe they didn’t take Trump serious, I was flabbergasted that they didn’t knock him dead (verbally) each and every day.
      They made him bigger and bigger and then one day they noticed he had gotten to big.
      As for going for the gut…you don’t have to be a journalist. You are a blogger…go for it!


  4. It’s a scary scenario isn’t it, I wonder what success he might have is stomping on the US press, for you can’t stop people talking and sharing news in this day and age…..I did wonder what the basis of Kushner’s protest to CNN must have been, what lie did he insist be accepted as a truth…in the end it comes down to the role of the press and I agree with John McCain in saying the free press is essential to any democracy for without it what do you have….I keep being reminded of Orwell’s 1984 where the daily newscasts would come one and from day to day the news might contradict the news of the day before but people were so conditioned to accept it… awful that would be…


  5. Just reading the second of Ken Follett’s trilogy which is starting with Germany right before Hitler’s election. I already knew the parallels, but reading this now is just eerie. Trump and the trumpites are so similar to Hitler and his supporters it boggles the mind. Now we all are getting a taste of what it is like to live in a country with a fascist ruler and his loyal minions and it is horrible. Can we as a species ever really learn? I have my doubts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am reading George Orwell’s 1984 right now. I read it so many years ago, but reading it now feels almost surreal.
      I just put Ken Follett’s trilogy on my Amazon wishlist. I don’t think we are capable of learning. Every generations thinks they know it better than the one before.


  6. Thanks, nonsmokingladybug, for your excellent piece, the excerpts from other pieces, and the cartoons. As someone who has worked in the media for many years (as a full-timer and freelancer), the “enemies of the people” in the media are not…enemies of the people. Some media people are not the most admirable sorts, but many are. And even the worst of the worst in the media are more admirable than Trump!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned about Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Lenin in school. It was the main subject in our history class from 9th grade on.

      You are right, not all media is good, neither is all media bad. It takes time and interest to fact check things and I fear many are not willing to do that.
      This are scary times. I would have never thought this could happen (again).


  7. I’ m just reading J. Barnes’ The Noise of Time…… which Stalin imprisons all ‘the enemies of the people’,(1936)………..
    Your article reminds of other dictatorial countries , under tyrannical governments and we all are scared….
    When I say WE ALL , I mean people like you and me…..because, too bad , there are so many who don’t realize
    the real alarm…
    Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I heard a frightening report yesterday that 46% of Americans believe Trump is truthful and only 42% believe the media is truthful. That’s super disturbing because it means that his repeated vilification of the media is having an effect. The parallels with the rise of fascist regimes are terrifying. Great rallying cry, Bridget, to support our media’s battle for truth.

    Liked by 1 person

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