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Nazi Example Used in Critique of Stimulus by Washington Times Editorial

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Last week, The Washington Times ridiculously wrote of the "Nazi version of efficiency" when criticizing health care provisions in the stimulus plan. The use of this example is not only inaccurate, but it is insensitive and clearly beyond the pale of even the most partisan critiques of the stimulus bill. The Times is free to voice its thoughts on its Editorial page, but attacking the stimulus plan by printing a photo of Adolf Hitler and invoking comparisons to Nazi policies is offensive and not befitting of any newspaper with at least a modicum of respectability.

As usual, Media Matters is on top of this.

A February 11 Washington Times editorial--also published on the paper's website alongside a photo of Adolf Hitler--compared the "spirit of the partisans of efficiency" who support a provision in the economic recovery bill that would attempt to improve "efficiency" of health-care delivery by providing for electronic medical records to the "Nazi version of efficiency" in which "elderly people with incurable diseases, young children who were critically disabled, and others who were deemed non-productive, were euthanized." The Times' comparison was based on a false interpretation of the health-care provisions in the recovery bill, claiming that it provided for the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology to "monitor[] the health care being provided to every American" and that it the bill "appears to institutionalize ... a body free of political influence to make the hard choices regarding how these efficiencies will be realized--what care will be limited, and who will be denied what services."

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The Times suggested that the "efficiencies" embodied in the bill's provisions are comparable to the "Nazi version of efficiency." The Times asserted that a quote it attributed to "a program instituted in Hitler's Germany called Aktion T-4" is "fully in the spirit of the partisans of efficiency." The quote as the Times provided it read: "It must be made clear to anyone suffering from an incurable disease that the useless dissipation of costly medications drawn from the public store cannot be justified." The Times then explained that, under Aktion T-4, "elderly people with incurable diseases, young children who were critically disabled, and others who were deemed non-productive, were euthanized."

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