MEDIA WATCH | OPINION | USA
by Dovid Katz
NEW YORK—At least a few viewers of the Fox News Channel’s premier prime time program, “The O’Reilly Factor” were taken aback to hear Bill O’Reilly spurt out last night, in his best high-school teacher by-the-way factual tone, “Stalin was as bad as Hitler! Alright, it’s the same thing!” during a segment presented as uncontested truth. The guest inspiring the “truism” was Mr. Marion Smith, executive director of the Washington DC based “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” (sometimes known for short as VOC).
Of course, psychiatrists, ethicists and historians alike may find Stalin to be personally as bad as Hitler or worse. But that is not the point. The point is that Mr. O’Reilly’s guest represents an institution that is partnered with the “Prague Platform for European Memory and Conscience” which is the prime mover of the Double Genocide movement in Europe. Emanating from Eastern Europe, and particularly those countries with records of vast collaboration with the Nazis and the Holocaust, the movement seeks to “equalize Nazi and Soviet crimes” as per the Prague Declaration of 2008, while domestically continuing to invest state funds in the glorification of Nazi war criminals and collaborators as supposed “anti-Soviet” heroes. The movement has far-right, racist and antisemitic overtones, and is linked with diminution of democracy in Eastern Europe. Penalties for disagreeing with various aspects of the new state-stamped history include sentences of up to two years of imprisonment in Lithuania, three in Hungary, five in Latvia, and ten in Ukraine.
The usual savvy O’Reilly is, like most American pundits, not aware of the Double Genocide movement in Europe which seeks, among other things, to belittle the American and British sacrifices undertaken to bring down Nazism in Europe, while effectively falsifying the history of the grand alliance that defeated Hitler. No doubt that Mr. O’Reilly, on reflection, would think twice before embracing a theory that effectively diminishes the sacrifices of his own family members who fought heroically in World War II.
It seems that young Mr. Marion, featured as a self-described millennial, manipulated Mr. O’Reilly to the point where he, the host, would blurt out the Double Genociders’ coveted “Red-Brown” equivalence, while Mr. Marion himself was left to attack the strawman of those who think that George W. Bush was worse [!] than Stalin (the purported basis being some weird off-the-wall polling exercise).
The overall effect of the segment was to use cover of debunking a nonsense (the supposed Stalin-Bush comparison) to set the stage for a major television figure known for traditionalist conservative patriotism to blurt out a version of red-brown equivalence, which is alas, one of the real purposes of VOC. Of course, VOC could disassociate itself from the Prague Platform and the Prague Declaration that the “Platform” flaunts on its website, and pursue the truly noble goal of making the world aware of the horrendous crimes of Communism as an important and distinct issue.