An open letter to every reporter who insists they did Nazi this coming.

I'm addressing this Open Letter to Florida-based Politico reporter Marc A. Caputo, but the truth is there are hundreds of journalists out there who it could apply to as well. I know parts of it seem like a run-of-the-mill flame war between two people on Twitter, but I think there's a much deeper and more disturbing point here given Caputo's profession and status as a reasonably respected journalist.

Dear Marc:

First, let me say that I've followed your political reporting out of Florida for several years, so I know that you're a skilled, capable journalist.

That actually makes everything else in this letter more disturbing, because it proves that even intelligent, well-educated people can suffer from incredibly dangerous blind spots.

Eighteen months ago, after the election but before he was sworn into office, then President-Elect Donald Trump threw a party at his Mar-a-Lago resort which was attended by dozens of reporters who, instead of covering it as a political story, instead yucked it up and had a grand old time, even going so far as to pose for a group photo which caused some controversy:

Christmas @ Mar-a-Lago: @realDonaldTrump, relaxed and chatty, hosts press for drinks -- off-record but pics OK @axios

— Mike Allen (@mikeallen) December 19, 2016

I tweeted the following in response to a tweet of yours:

"And then, after chatting, why would a reporter say no to posing for a photo op with a Nazi while grinning for the camera?"

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 19, 2016

You responded by invoking Godwin:

Too bad Godwin wasn't there

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 19, 2016

Too bad Godwin himself has said Nazi comparisons are valid in some cases. When actual Holocaust survivors are saying it's valid, it's valid.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 19, 2016

@MarcACaputo Clarice Starling chatted with Dr. Lector to gather necessary info, but I don't recall her posing for a photo op afterwards.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 19, 2016

that's marginally better than comparing Trump to Hitler

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 19, 2016

I'd call it worse. Lector never had a major military power under his command.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 19, 2016

I'm consolidating multiple tweets down in the interest of saving space:

So, @MarcACaputo accused me of going Godwin for pointing out that a bunch of reporters grinned for the camera in a photo op w/a Nazi. I pointed out that it’s not so much the “reporters taking opportunity to have OTR convo w/PEOTUS” part which infuriates many, but the fact that a bunch of them then decided to go beyond that to actually posing for a photo op w/him, grinning like idiots at the camera, followed by at least one then posting the group shot to social media, bragging about his/their “off the record access” to a Nazi.

So I point this out, he accuses me of “going Godwin”. I note that a) Godwin himself sez it’s sometimes legit comparison, and b) when actual Holocaust survivors (including Anne Franks’ stepsister) say the comparison is valid, IT’S FUCKING VALID. HOWEVER, beyond that, let’s go back to his original point: It’s difficult for reporters to talk to Trump, so they’re desperate for any occasion to do so. Gee, why the hell do you think that’s the case? Perhaps because HE refuses to hold an actual press conference, and treats them like shit?

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 19, 2016

However, OK, I was willing to accept that this part is a legitimate discussion point for reasonable people. And then I saw this:

@MarcACaputo accidentally deleted this tweet but it's OK, I saved a copy for him.

— Comrade Weez (@weezmgk) December 20, 2016

For a moment I honestly wondered whether I was being unprofessional by saying Nazi (even tho political journalism isn’t my profession). After all, as @Langkard & @haroldpollack noted, Mussolini is a better comparison. then again, his party was literally the Fascist Party...or, specifically, “Partito Nazionale Fascista”…which also happens to include “Nazi”. So there you go.

But again…@MarcACaputo *IS* supposed to be a professional political journalist, I believe. And yet here he is, trashing @ParkerMolloy with mean-spirited, mocking language for raising reasonable concerns about press sucking up to a fascist narcissist about to gain power. I mean, I’m sorry, but all I could think of was “the top photo is missing Oskar Schindler”:

I’ve no idea who’s in that photo besides @mikeallen (who posted the photo). Perhaps they’re mostly decent reporters who had a one-time terrible lapse in judgment. But the fact that they, like so many voters, STILL DON’T SEEM TO GRASP WHAT’S HAPPENING...that they’re STILL treating Trump and his goon squad like any other PEOTUS (perhaps more “colorful” and “unconventional” but that’s it) is fucking TERRIFYING. Fascism is taking over in real time and they’re STILL treating this like a reality show.

The problem with the “don’t go Godwin!” response is that everyone envisions Hitler in 1943 or so. That’s not where we are. It’s 1932.

Hitler didn’t become “Hitler” as we envision him from movies /etc (mass murderer, etc) until a few years later. But things move very quickly, especially in the age of the internet. /end

PS, re. the “Mussolini is the parallel, not Hitler” thing: Agreed, but that’s not exactly comforting:

Credit here.

Oh, I should also credit @pookleblinky; much of my thread is inspired by this brilliant thread.

So what was your response?

sorry to inform you that Trump is not Hitler.

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 19, 2016

This guy is surprised that I pushed back on the notion that the president elect is a Nazi. 2017 will be so much fun.

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

@charles_gaba Let's pin this tweet and see who is closer to the truth this time next year.

— Teresa (@TeresaKopec) December 20, 2016

what are the terms? Extermination camps? Govt sanctioned beatings? Religious repression? I'll take those odds

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

so the govt closing mosques? No concentration camps

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

It's a sliding scale. I said let's see who is closer. I hope you are to be honest.

— Teresa (@TeresaKopec) December 20, 2016

so do i. and not because i want to be right. Save this tweet: i'll apologize if the fedl. govt closes 1 mosque

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

Well, technically speaking, you didn't say anything about apologizing if the federal government established concentration camps, so I guess you're off the hook on that one.

Point in Charles's favor.

Austria’s far right signed a "cooperation agreement" with Putin and met with Trump advisor @GenFlynn

— Liam Stack (@liamstack) December 20, 2016

— Teresa (@TeresaKopec) December 20, 2016

Oh, yes, and that'd be THAT Gen. Michael Flynn.

Moving on...

“This guy” either failed to read the rest of the thread or laughed it off. Recommend others do so & judge for themselves.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

"this guy" is being hysterical in a non-funny way

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

It was right after this exchange that you apparently muted me:

Mr. Bigshot @Politico reporter now picking fights with someone he believes is a nobody (“this guy”). Trumpization of journalism has begun.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

get real or get ignored

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

Hey, @Politico, is “this guy” considered a professional journalist? Just asking after you shitcanned @juliaioffe for being “unprofessional”.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

welcome to the misdirection machine. Hold for mute. Email me when you want to not be a jerk

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

you're being silly. I'm not laughing

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

you need a nap

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

And I’m a jerk for what, exactly? You’re the one who mocked a bunch of people’s legit fears last night, including @ParkerMolloy.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

@MarcACaputo Review the entire thread and find one ad hominem attack by myself on you?

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

in the case of @charles_gaba, they certainly bristle at fairness. I gotta go. The level of silly is too high. Work calls

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

So, “this guy” called me a “jerk” and “hysterical” for comparing Trump to a Nazi. Now, it’s true that while I’m Jewish, I wasn’t around…

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

…during WWII, so I suppose I’m not the best person to ask. Let’s check in with some holocaust survivors.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016


— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016


— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

How about @Hadas_Gold? Is she a reputable source?

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

Pennsylvania went for Trump. Let’s check in there.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

Gee, almost like a pattern here…

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

Oh, yeah…one more.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

But what would she know about it, amirite?

Of course, every one of these people could be wrong. Perhaps Trump isn’t a “Nazi” himself. He just supports & is supported by them...and the Ku Klux Klan. Because that's so much better. But how about if you ask @sfmnemonic (Mike Godwin) himself? I think I made a pretty good case here.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

For what it's worth, so many people did ask Godwin about it that he later responded with a blanket statement:

By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you.

— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) August 14, 2017

Your response to all of this?

you people have lost your minds.

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

Because I say the president-elect isn't a Nazi, I'm the one who lost his mind. Oh lord

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 20, 2016

No, because you’re hurling insults at me for pointing out the blatant, obvious parallels between him and the rise of Nazis/Fascism. I just posted like a dozen examples of FUCKING HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS saying flat-out “Yep, Trump is awfully Nazi/Hitler-like”. Now, is it possible that they’re all wrong? Of course. And if so, THANK GOD and I’ll be very happy to wear that egg on my face. But there’s AMPLE REASON for intelligent people who aren’t prone toward hyperbole to see the parallels, & you’re ignoring that.

You didn’t respond to ANY of my original thread beyond “yuk, yuk, look at this crazy nobody w/delusions of Nazis!” I presented cogent arguments and logical flow. You either didn’t read it or shrugged it off to call me “hysterical”.

I then presented a long list of, again, *actual* Holocaust survivors who see Trump and are scared shitless of the parallels. You’ve responded to none of this. You just keep going with “Trump’s no Nazi, anyone who sez he’s Nazi-like is crazy.”

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

…even though he’s openly supported by literal Nazis and the KKK, who are so emboldened they’re literally “Sieg Heiling” *in DC*

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

…and then claiming they’re “joking”. Even if they *were* “kidding”, how the hell does that make it any more acceptable? “Oh, we aren’t REALLY planning on massacring millions of Jews, we’re just PLAY ACTING at it!” Fucking hilarious. So this may all be a big joke to you—“2017 will be hilarious!” you said—but it’s deadly fucking serious to millions of others. It’s serious to Jews, blacks, homosexuals, hispanics/latinos, Muslims and transgenders, and it’s DEAD serious to the LITERAL Nazis, KKK members and other white supremacist groups. Whether TRUMP means it, THEY do.

I’ve followed you for awhile because you’ve done a lot of good political journalism…but for whatever reason, you can’t seem to accept that on this particular incident you were simply wrong. Everyone’s wrong about stuff at times.

incoming National Security Advisor to the President of the United States is hanging out w/Austria's literal Nazi Party. Cc: @MarcACaputo

Trump aide Flynn forges ties w Austria's Freedom Party, founded in the 1950s by ex-Nazis.

— Jeff Stein (@SpyTalker) December 20, 2016

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) December 20, 2016

May I present, Obergruppenführer 'Laura'.

— Cuck Merchant (@ProtectronArmy) December 21, 2016

And yet you STILL refused to get it...

I don't think the president-elect of the US is a Nazi. That shouldn't be controversial

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) December 22, 2016

Oh, wait...apparently you changed your criteria: Instead of "closing mosques", it's now defined as "starting concentration camps and genocide" to make him Hitler-like:

high bar there. Trump will literally have to start concentration camps and genocide to be a Hitler

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) January 29, 2017

Well, I guess he's halfway there, huh Marc? You really want to wait for the other half before admitting that MAYBE I HAD A FUCKING POINT?

.@MickMulvaneyOMB's statement on the departure of Gary Cohn.

— OMB Press (@OMBPress) March 6, 2018

(In case you're not aware, Marc, "globalist" is a fairly well-known antisemitic dog whistle slur.)

No, no...@MarcACaputo insists that unless they actually wear the swastika armband they’re nothing at all like Nazis.

This sickens me as an American & fellow human. Impossible not to see ICE as a brown shirted arm of Trump & Kelly's unAmerican views.
ICE to Deport a Father Whose 5–Year–Old Son Is Fighting Leukemia via @Splinter_news

— John Weaver (@JWGOP) February 12, 2018

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) February 12, 2018

An actual former head of the “American Nazi Party” and Holocaust denier will be the official Republican nominee for an Illinois House seat. The GOP will fund & support him. Let me guess, I’m not allowed to call this one a Nazi either?

— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) February 4, 2018

Not according to you, Marc.

Skinheads changes strategy, grew their hair, and were encouraged to get jobs with law enforcement.
This explains a lot

— ALT- Immigration (@ALT_uscis) December 18, 2017

Yes, yes it does, doesn't it?

Sometimes people tell me, "You're gonna feel so silly in four years when he's out of office and there were no concentration camps."

— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) August 19, 2017

Whoops. Too late for that.

CEO of Cambridge Analytica owner: Trump used same tactics as Hitler to get elected

— The Hill (@thehill) April 17, 2018

At a Turning Point USA conference, a Trump-linked policy advisor said the "only thing Nazi's didn't get right is they didn't keep fucking going"

Great scoop by @calebecarma

— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 10, 2018

President Trump during California #SanctuaryCities Roundtable: "These aren't people. These are animals."

Full video here:

— CSPAN (@cspan) May 16, 2018

A weeping mother has been forced to wear a yellow insignia (bracelet) as she is ripped away from her children indefinitely.

In the United States. By policy.

Read this story.

— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) May 25, 2018

Nah, @MarcACaputo says it isn’t a big deal until they start the actual genocide. Until then he’s Kool & the Gang.

@charles_gaba the scariest part is that you’re retweeting these from 1.5 years ago and things have gotten undoubtedly worse since

— Loretta (@Retta_Potterfan) May 25, 2018

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) May 25, 2018

A public defender in McAllen says some migrants are told their kids are going to be taken away briefly to bathe, and then it dawns on them hours later they aren't coming back

— Liz Goodwin (@lizcgoodwin) June 10, 2018

On the left: Display of personal items seized from Jewish victims as they were led to the gas chambers.
On the right: Display of Rosaries seized from immigrants at US border

Any questions?

— Archimedes Resists Migrant Concentration Camps (@Archimedes2020) June 11, 2018

making reuniting families even tougher: "The Trump admin is now fingerprinting family members wishing to take in the children" & sharing info with DHS. This "will likely mean family members in the U.S. illegally will not come forward for children out of fear they'll be arrested."

— Taniel (@Taniel) June 17, 2018

I could go on...and on...and on...and on...and on...over the past 18 months I've posted dozens of solid examples of Nazi-like behavior, rhetoric and policies by Donald Trump and his administration...none of which you've apparently seen because you had me muted. You can catch up on all of them here, however.

Finally, last week, I posted this:

Dear @MarcACaputo : I know you’ve been ignoring or muting me for 18 months now, but it’s time for you to fucking publicly admit that THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ARE A BUNCH OF IMMORAL NAZIS. Someone please ensure he sees this one.

Infant ripped from mother's arms while she was breastfeeding the baby at border detention center; mother handcuffed for resisting

— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) June 13, 2018

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) June 13, 2018

And your response?

Not sure who that is because I muted them a while back. And I mute idiots

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 13, 2018

he's an idiot. Join him in being muted

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 13, 2018

I see you have a troll account I just muted. He's an idiot. Join him in being muted, and therefore the ranks of the idiots

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 13, 2018

not worth the time beyond a reply and a mute

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 13, 2018

Yesterday, we heard this from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security:

“We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job,” says Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on separating families at the border. “This administration has a simple message: If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you.”

— CNN (@CNN) June 18, 2018

“Herr Commandant! I am only doing my job!”
“Yes, I'm doing mine.

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) June 18, 2018

In case you're wondering, Marc, this is what children screaming and crying for their parents sounds like:

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen. She says she’s memorized the phone number, and at one point, rattles it off to a consular representative. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”

Still finding it "so much fun" Marc?

I'll leave you with this:

Sessions says this is not like Nazi Germany "because in Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country!"

— Brian Tashman (@briantashman) June 19, 2018

Thanks for your time,

Charles Gaba
"Idiot" "Jerk" who has "lost his mind."

P.S. Oh, by the way:

My answer: if your argument is that terrible policy is not really as bad as what the Nazis did, that’s a weak defense.

Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) June 19, 2018