Citations Needed

Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.

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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.

But with this unique threat comes a rhetorical habit of "Trumpwashing" that, while perhaps tempting in the short term, will - in the long term - have disastrous effects.  

The desire to revamp the image of the pre-Trump Republican party and the United States in general – a concept Ali Abunimah coined “Trumpwashing” - is a favorite rhetorical tic of Russia-obsessed democrats and centrist extremists who’s 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.


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 2018-01-10  57m