MSNBC guest flamed for claim ‘Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans’, fact-checked by Auschwitz Memorial

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A Stanford University professor who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia during the Obama era is being pilloried on Twitter by the left and the right for “accidentally” whitewashing notorious Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler while simultaneously denying the existence of ethnic German Jews.

Speaking on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” late Friday, professor Michael McFaul compared Hitler to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a way that seemed to make the Nazi dictator sound like a better person than his modern counterpart.

To be fair, he made the comparison while paraphrasing someone else’s commentary. But on the other hand, he mixed in plenty of his own commentary as well.


“I was just on Ukrainian television 30 minutes ago. … and one of the commentators said something interesting about how horrific this war is. And remember, these are people who suffered under fascism, that fought the Nazis. The Nazis came, then the red army came back through,” he said to fill-in host Ali Velshi, setting up the quote.

“One of the … journalists [then] said, you know, there’s one difference between Hitler, when he was coming in, and Putin. Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans; he didn’t kill German-speaking people,” he added, paraphrasing the related quote.

McFaul then continued with his own commentary.

“I think people need to remember, that when we’re talking about cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol and Kyiv, there are large populations there, up to one-third and sometimes as much as up to one-half, that are Russian speakers and are ethnic Russians. Yet Putin doesn’t seem to care about that. He slaughters the very people he said he’s come to liberate,” he said.

The remarks triggered an outpouring of bipartisan anger from critics who say he made two crucial “errors.”

First, he suggested that the Jews who were killed during the Holocaust hadn’t been real Germans. That, incidentally, was the exact same argument that Hitler had made when pursuing the Holocaust.

Second, McFaul said that Hitler never killed ethnic Germans. That was blatantly wrong, according to the Auschwitz Memorial:

Backlash has also been directed at “The Rachel Maddow Show” for, again, two reasons. First, Velshi failed to challenge McFaul’s false points. And second, the show went on to actually tout his false points on Twitter.


Making matters worse, the show took over 10 hours to delete the tweet. This particular offense even attracted the attention of far-left hatemonger Keith Olbermann.


Note that this is the same Olbermann who clapped in glee when a Canadian dissident was trampled by a police horse last month.

To the show’s credit, it eventually deleted its false tweet and posted a new tweet fact-checking itself.


McFaul meanwhile posted a non-apology apology about how he’d “slipped” and “violated an unwritten taboo” by making a Hitler comparison.

He also stressed that he hadn’t been talking about German Jews and encouraged his Twitter followers to direct him to “the best scholarly readings” so that he can learn more about this topic.


The non-apology backpedaling earned him even more ire, some of it again coming from Olbermann.

“@McFaul! Jesus Suffering F–k! STOP DIGGING. Even @maddowblog deleted the tweet. You never made any of the distinctions you are now condescendingly telling us we were too stupid to hear. Apologize, atone, and hope you’ll be on tv again in a few years,” the left-wing hatemonger tweeted.

As for McFaul, it took awhile, but he did eventually issue a real apology.


The apology wound up being ratioed, so that’s probably not a good sign for him …

Vivek Saxena


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