Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat, on Wednesday accused the U.S. media of spreading "manufactured controversies" that pose dangers similar to the propaganda spread by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
"You have people's words and phrases being misrepresented and looped through the news media and thrown out there on the Internet, and people run with it because these things start getting reported in the mainstream media, and before you know it, people believe that stuff," Clyburn said.
The consequences of such misrepresentation, Clyburn warned, could be severe.
“The people of Germany believed Hitler’s foolishness that led to the Holocaust. They believed that stuff,” Clyburn said. “People will tend to believe what they hear through the media.”
Clyburn singled out “extreme right-wing” bloggers in particular for criticism. He accused such bloggers of forcing Shirley Sherrod to resign from the Department of Agriculture after misrepresenting statements she made to make her appear racially biased. He also said they had libeled the progressive group ACORN, leading to the group’s disbandment.
"Most of these people are not media people; they are bloggers, and they are bloggers for the extreme right wing," he said.
“People tend to act now and ask questions later,” Clyburn added.
He also said that President Obama was vulnerable to misrepresentation due to the media abdicating its responsibilities.
“The media has not been discerning enough, in my opinion, to say to people, ‘This ain’t news. This is foolishness.”
The South Carolina Democrat was appearing on "The Morning Briefing with Tim Farley" to discuss the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.