On PBS, Amanpour Finds Russian Guest to Support Flake's Comparing Trump to Stalin

PBS removed Charlie Rose from the air after The Washington Post threw the book at him for sexual misconduct. But it appears they succeeded in maintaining the channel’s late-night leftism by replacing him with rebroacasts of Christiane Amanpour’s talk show on CNN International.

On January 18, she hailed “Renowned Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen on Trump, Putin, and totalitarians of the past.” The columnist for The New Yorker -- a lesbian hailed as "Russia's leading LGBT rights activist" -- came rushing to the defense of Jeff Flake comparing President Trump to mass-murdering Joseph Stalin.

Amanpour introducted the Gessen segment: “I sat down with her to discuss [her latest book], President Putin's seemingly endless reign, and why she thinks that Arizona senator Jeff Flake is right to take to the Senate floor to compare Trump's attacks on the media to the rhetoric of Joseph Stalin.” This is how it unfolded:

AMANPOUR Totalitarianism, Joseph Stalin, they seem to be having something of a rebirth these days. I mean, today Senator Jeff Flake takes to the Senate floor to excoriate President Trump about his attack on the press, likening the enemy of the people accusation to what Stalin did. Your book is all about totalitarianism. These are big words, though. These are big accusations, are they really accurate?

MASHA GESSEN: It's a fair question, and I think the important thing to understand now and it's never been more relevant is that this is not something that was a one-off in the history of humanity. We’re not insured from having a repeat performance.  If we prevent it, we'll never have known how close we came to the abyss, but we are certainly living through a crisis and I think that Senator Flake was absolutely right to point out the very clear way in which Trump has borrowed the phrase the enemy of the people from Joseph Stalin. And actually, it's not an accident that Trump did that. It does tap into a kind of mobilizational politics.

You have to admire the slipperiness of left-wing spin. “If we resist Trump by calling him Stalin, then we’ll never know if Trump was actually ready and itching to be Stalin.” Amanpour brought a skeptical question, but it sounded like "Do you think Trump has actually ever heard of Stalin?"

AMANPOUR: Do you think he really knows that? Do you think that these people would have used that specifically for that reason?

GESSEN: I don't think that it's conscious, but I think that that sense, that he has to equate himself with the nation, and that anybody who is opposed to him has to be positioned as the enemy of the nation. That instinct is there.

Amanpour also brought up Trump’s alleged use of “s—hole” and compared it to Putin’s use in 2012 of “dickhead,” a comparison Gessen made in her January 14 New Yorker column “How Donald Trump Degrades Us All.” She concluded there: “Once again, the news is not that the President of the United States is a foul-mouthed racist—we knew that, and we also knew that this was the reason some people voted for him. The news is that he insists on dragging the rest of us down with him.”

Masha Gessen Jeff Flake Christiane Amanpour Donald Trump
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