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NJDC to MSNBC: Watch It!

Liberal network responds by blocking Buchanan nonsense

Allison Hoffman
September 04, 2009

We’re always a little leery of stories commemorating anniversaries—we did, after all grow up in a house decorated with one of those twee bronze plaques announcing that on some random date in the 1800s “nothing happened”—but Pat Buchanan, history buff that he is, apparently can’t resist. On Tuesday, he put a column on his blog, which MSNBC then picked up on its Web site, noting the 70th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, which triggered World War Two. Buchanan, most recently the author of a book called Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, used the occasion to wonder whether Hitler really meant to start a war at all, and, correspondingly, whether it wasn’t the case that the Allies—mainly the British—just overreacted.

The argument starts to unravel right around the point Buchanan writes that “Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps”—which, presumably, is also the point at which the good folks at the National Jewish Democratic Council decided to intervene. Press secretary Aaron Keyak got a column up on the Huffington Post asking why Buchanan was defending Hitler, but instead of wasting time trying to outargue the pundit, the NJDC trained its eye on MSNBC, a network they would normally expect to count as a liberal friend. “There is a place on MSNBC where he may belong,” Keyak wrote, and linked to Keith Olbermann’s Countdown. And, voila! Media victory ensued: MSNBC took down the column. NJDC couldn’t, however, resist a parting shot. “MSNBC took the responsible action,” wrote president David Harris. “But no worthy news organization should employ and promote a commentator who engages in such vile fiction.” Note to Phil Griffin: Watch it!

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.