#FakeNewsweek Calls Innocent People Nazis for Criticizing Politics in Wolfenstein II
Newsweek appears to have lost its credibility. Tim Marcin, a staff writer for Newsweek, recently reported on a Twitter dust-up between the creators of the new Wolfenstein II Nazi shooting video game and people who don't like being called "Nazis." The problem started with this tweet.
Obviously, whoever wrote it is insinuating, not very subtly, that America is currently overrun with Nazis and that something must be done to get rid of them. Wolfenstein II is a graphic and violent game famous for allowing the player to kill Nazis in gruesome ways. Perhaps in a bid to increase sales when the game drops this October, the marketing team decided to get edgy. But the tweet linking the cartoonish Nazis who are supposed to portray Hitler's minions to Trump voters is unforgivable. So is Newsweek's response.
It's a hell of a time in America when a video game taking an anti-Nazi stance is considered by some to be too controversial. Yet here we are. The video game Wolfenstein II, the latest iteration of an exercise in killing virtual Nazis, has angered Nazis with an online presence because it is about... killing Nazis.
Wait a minute. Who are the "Nazis with an online presence"? Does Marcin really believe the people objecting to the Wolfenstein II marketing tweet are swastika-wearing Nazis? He can't be that stupid. No one really believes Nazis are a growing problem in the United States. Only dishonest hucksters trying to gin up political points push this fantasy. Consider the tweets Marcin highlighted with his claim that they were "Nazis with an online presence."
I tried to contact the authors of the tweets Newsweek found so offensive. One had been chased offline, but @ckhttp, who goes by Rick, and Nick Villano responded instantly. Rick's comment that triggered the charge of "Nazi" was that politics injected into entertainment is upsetting to consumers. I asked him if he is a Nazi. "No, far from it. I would consider myself a right-wing libertarian." Rick confirmed that Marcin did not attempt to contact him before posting his tweet and calling him a "Nazi with an online presence" in a nationally known publication. "I'm just a college kid. They just posted it with no context and called me a Nazi. It triggered a massive hate mob," he stated, adding: "I'm not white so I don't think [Nazis] would accept me."
Like much of America, Rick has a less than favorable opinion of the dinosaur media. "I don't expect much from places such as the New York Times, Newsweek or Slate anymore."
Nick Villano, who had posted a sad Pepe cartoon on Facebook lamenting the loss of his ability to play games without politics ruining it, responded strongly.
I am not a Nazi by any means and I am completely disgusted by the lack of effort that was put into that article. I have had to explain to people many times what they glossed over with two sentences. I don't care about a game that kills Nazis. I LOVE Wolfenstein! What annoyed me was the interjection of current-day politics into the medium I go to to escape that stuff! And, if I am a Nazi, my wife is Polish, and my best friend since high school is Jewish, so I think I'm doing a bad job at it.
This kind of sloppy reporting at Newsweek is pretty shocking. Neither victim of the drive-by media attack had been contacted by anyone from the publication to verify if they actually have Nazi beliefs. Considering that people lose their jobs over charges of racism or Nazi association, shouldn't Newsweek have exercised basic caution by contacting the Twitter users before smacking a Nazi label on them? It didn't take me more than an hour to get in touch with them. Isn't that what responsible journalists are supposed to do? And they wonder why people call them fake news!
The left has been busy labeling every Trump voter as a "Nazi" to foment hatred against them. The makers of Wolfenstein II and the writer at Newsweek appear to be either completely ignorant of that fact or find it an amusing game to accuse innocent people of heinous beliefs for political gain. I'm going with the latter.
No one is offended at a game that makes you shoot Nazis. They are offended at being equated with Nazis when they are not. They object to being defamed in a national publication without being allowed to respond.
The campaign, unsurprisingly, was followed by vitriolic comments from unconfirmed social media accounts. It's a tactic that shouldn't shock anybody who has followed recent, fascinating studies about Russian campaigns of disinformation and political-bubble exploitation that rely on similar social media actions. One of the most visible anonymous complaints directed at Bethesda, carried by "WTF really" retweets, described the ad campaign as an attempt to "tap into hysterical leftist power fantasy."
And just like their other Russia conspiracies, it isn't really true; they just like pretending it is. Added to the end of that paragraph was this fun aside. "To clarify: these anti-Wolfenstein posts do not appear to have a clear connection to Russian disinformation campaigns." WTF, really?
Games Industry reached out to Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines to discuss the matter, and he had nothing in the way of apology or concession to any of the ad campaign's dissenters. " Wolfenstein has been a decidedly anti-Nazi series since the first release more than 20 years ago," Hines told GI. "We aren't going to shy away from what the game is about. We don't feel it's a reach for us to say Nazis are bad and un-American, and we're not worried about being on the right side of history here."
Did Hines really think that perverting Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," a slogan half of America has on a t-shirt, into "Make America Nazi-Free Again" wouldn't upset anyone but "Nazis"? That's ridiculous and disingenuous. He knew exactly whom he was insulting and the breathless claims of not understanding that people who are upset are not Nazis rings hollow. Trump supporters have been assaulted for the better part of the year for simply wearing MAGA hats or showing up at Trump rallies. The people who assault them claim they are "punching Nazis."
Proud antifa member Jetta Rae writes at Mic that Wolfenstein II is basically her catharsis for living out what she wants to do to Trump supporters.
But for all its gleeful artifice, Wolfenstein II has a spark of the hyper-real. The Nazis of Bethesda’s Wolfenstein II love genocide and strawberry milkshakes. They watch game shows. They have disobedient pets. They’re concerned with their nutrition. They beg and bleed when you catch up to them...I’ll tell you what I told new recruits of the Democratic Socialists of America: Punching a Nazi is good and good for you...
The undoubted highlight of the trailer was seeing B.J. Blazkowicz building coalition with a black resistance leader (who is clearly evoking Pam Grier) and a Southern communist priest.
Americans are not going to let the left continue this character assassination without a fight. They appear to want conservative people to just lie down and be beaten with this disgusting invective. The only thing resurgent in America is love of country and the backbone to stand up to defamatory garbage like this, especially when it leads to real violence against innocent people.
Do you want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.