A guest of Rachel Maddow‘s compared Putin to Hitler while describing Ukraine — but in the process … kinda made it seem like Hitler wasn’t nearly as bad, which didn’t go over well.
Michael McFaul — a former U.S. ambassador to Russia — appeared Friday on Maddow’s self-titled show on MSNBC … this while she was on vacation and had a temporary host, Ali Velshi, filling in. In discussing the war, McFaul made a suspect analogy that got torn apart.
McFaul invoked the Nazis’ former leader in an attempt to distinguish what they were doing during WWII and what Putin’s doing now … suggesting that Putin’s actions are perhaps worse, because he’s killing people with Russian roots — aka, his “own” people.
The problem with that … he claimed Hitler didn’t necessarily go after ethnic Germans, a dubious assertion and one that Maddow’s official blog retweeted as fact, without attribution.
On a factual note: Hitler did kill ethnic Germans & German-speaking people: those who opposed the Nazi regime, those who resisted, those who did not fit into the ‘Weltanschauung’. He ordered the murder of people with different disabilities & finally the murder of German Jewry.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) March 12, 2022
Of course, as many pointed out, McFaul’s characterization is false. The Nazis DID, in fact, target/kill “ethnic Germans” for a variety of reasons … including, for example, disagreeing with their ideology, or not fitting the mold of what they thought was the perfect race.
This also gets to an even more controversial claim … namely, the Jews who were murdered in and around Germany are not considered ethnic Germans, which many argue is simply not true and highly disrespectful … if not teetering on anti-Semitism and revisionist history.
Okay, I’m going to express this calmly. It’s wrong to suggest that German Jews, whose families had lived in Germanic lands for centuries, weren’t ethnic Germans. Also Hitler killed German communists, German Roma, German trade unionists, German handicapped, German queers, etc https://t.co/GicnqD6Zk7
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 12, 2022
Sounds like Maddow’s team got the picture pretty quickly, because they deleted their tweet and the accompanying clip — which had already aired at that point — and followed up with a correction and an apology.
They write, “The historical record is clear. Hitler killed millions of Germans. We tweeted out part of an inaccurate statement made last night by former Ambassador Michael McFaul without attribution, and we regret doing so. We have since removed the tweet.”
Even McFaul himself reversed course, saying he was wrong to try and do a juxtaposition with Hitler … whom he called “incomparably evil.” He also asked for the best literature on this topic to educate himself … and ended with one final clarification.
He writes, “And please, to clarify the obvious, last night and today, we were NOT discussing Hitler’s horrific killing of German citizens. Please have some decency to know that I would never compare Mariupol to the Holocaust.”
And please, to clarify the obvious, last night and today, we were NOT discussing Hitler’s horrific killing of German citizens. Please have some decency to know that I would never compare Mariupol to the Holocaust.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 12, 2022
Good thing they cleared this up, ’cause as one person aptly noted online … you never wanna start an argument with a “ya gotta hand it to Hitler” type of tone, even if it’s unintended.