Brokaw Uses NN Commentary to Compare Trump to Nazism, McCarthyism, Segregationists

As part of NBC Nightly News’s five segments on Tuesday obsessing over Donald Trump’s proposed ban on all Muslims entering the United States, the program turned to former anchor Tom Brokaw to end the show with a commentary comparing Trump to Nazism, McCarthyism, and opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

In the three teases proceeding Brokaw’s editorial, current anchor Lester Holt promised that Brokaw would discuss “the politics of fear” and the “harsh,” “ugly lessons about fear and marginalizing groups of people.”

Introducing Brokaw’s piece, Holt touted his “perspective” coming “[i]n the heat of the political moment” since “[h]istory is replete with examples of what happens when fear and intolerance take hold and an entire category of people is marginalized.”

Brokaw began by pronouncing Trump’s proposal as “much more than a shouted campaign provocation” but rather “is a dangerous proposal that overrides history, the law, and the foundation of America itself” made “in this season of extremes.”

Speaking of his own generation (aka the Greatest Generation), Brokaw declared that he and his compatriots “have been witness to the consequences of paranoia overriding reason” that began in World War II when “law-abiding Japanese-American citizens were herded into remote internment camps, losing their jobs, businesses and social standing, while an all-Japanese-American division fought heroically in Europe.”

Over in Europe, Brokaw alluded to how Nazi Germany “declared war on its own citizens if they were Jewish and Germany paid the ultimate price, defeat and history's condemnation.”

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As for U.S. history in the post-war era, Brokaw ruled that “America still had to learn about demagoguery the hard way” as “Senator Joe McCarthy's reckless anti-communist witch hunt...making ever-more outrageous claims, damaging reputations.”

Brokaw also hyped that McCarthyism ran rampant in the previous decade “while African-Americans, whose ancestors came here as slaves, were treated as second or even third-class citizens, in uniform and out.” 

Returning to the present, Brokaw admitted that “the Jihadists are radical Muslims, but they're minority in a world with 1.5 billion Muslims.” The longtime NBC News figure closed by telling a brief anecdote about a Muslim-American who joined the Army after 9/11 and later gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep the country safe:

Kareem Khan, a Muslim, responded to a different kind of recruiting, 9/11. An American citizen, he joined the American Army to show that not all Muslims are fanatics. He was killed in Iraq in 2007 by an IED, just 20 years old. Mr. Trump cannot exclude him from America. He has a permanent home here in section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Before signing off, Holt simply commented to viewers: “Tom Brokaw with something for us to think about.”

As this writer highlighted on Tuesday night, the major broadcast networks spent a massive 24 minutes and three seconds reporting, analyzing, and opining on Trump’s proposal instead of giving in-depth coverage to San Bernardino, a new revelation concerning Hillary Clinton, and a bipartisan House vote seeking to bar those who’ve been in Iraq and Syria from coming into the U.S.

The relevant portions of the transcript from December 8's NBC Nightly News can be found below.

NBC Nightly News
December 8, 2015
7:00 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Trump’s Muslim Ban Backlash]

LESTER HOLT: Tonight, Tom Brokaw on the politics of fear and the harsh lessons of history.

(....)

HOLT: Also, with Donald Trump proposing that ban on Muslims, Tom Brokaw offers a poignant reminder of history's ugly lessons about fear and marginalizing groups of people.

(....)

HOLT: When we come back, as Donald Trump pushes to ban Muslims in the U.S., Tom Brokaw looks at history's harsh lessons about singling out entire populations.

(....)

HOLT: Finally tonight, we return to our lead story, the uproar over Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering this country. In the heat of the political moment, some perspective. History is replete with examples of what happens when fear and intolerance take hold and an entire category of people is marginalized. Tom Brokaw offers reflections now on the hard lessons of the past.

TOM BROKAW: Donald Trump's promise to ban all Muslims from coming to America is more, much more, than a shouted campaign provocation. Trump's statement, even in this season of extremes, is a dangerous proposal that overrides history, the law, and the foundation of America itself. In my lifetime alone, we have been witness to the consequences of paranoia overriding reason. During World War II, law-abiding Japanese-American citizens were herded into remote internment camps, losing their jobs, businesses and social standing, while an all-Japanese-American division fought heroically in Europe. At the same time, in Germany, a regime that declared war on its own citizens if they were Jewish and Germany paid the ultimate price, defeat and history's condemnation. But after the war, America still had to learn about demagoguery the hard way. Senator Joe McCarthy's reckless anti-communist witch hunt —

JOSEPH MCCARTHY: It has been labeled —

BROKAW: — making ever-more outrageous claims, damaging reputations, until one day — 

JOSEPH WELCH [TO MCCARTHY, on 09/09/54]: Have you no sense of decency, sir? 

BROKAW: All of that while African-Americans, whose ancestors came here as slaves, were treated as second or even third-class citizens, in uniform and out. Yes, the Jihadists are radical Muslims, but they're minority in a world with 1.5 billion Muslims. Even so, defeating ISIS will be long, hard and expensive, perhaps even more so now because ISIS is likely to use Donald Trump's statements as a recruiting tool. Kareem Khan, a Muslim, responded to a different kind of recruiting, 9/11. An American citizen, he joined the American Army to show that not all Muslims are fanatics. He was killed in Iraq in 2007 by an IED, just 20 years old. Mr. Trump cannot exclude him from America. He has a permanent home here in section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. 

HOLT: Tom Brokaw with something for us to think about. 

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Foreign Policy Media Bias Debate Labeling Military War on Terrorism Conservatives & Republicans Religion Islam Moderate Islam NBC NBC Nightly News Video Government & Press Nazis McCarthyism Joe McCarthy Lester Holt Tom Brokaw Donald Trump
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