After Donald Trump finished speaking in Cleveland on Saturday night, his supporters hurled abuse at reporters covering the rally, a now familiar ritual, thanks to the candidate’s repeated attempts to dismiss all unflattering news about him as media fabrications.
The night before in Pennsylvania, an NBC News producer, Frank Thorp, captured the intensity of the crowd turning to jeer the press pen after Trump said “they are dishonest people.”
In Cleveland on Saturday, video recorded by Rosie Gray of Buzzfeed News showed that, mixed in with the usual insults, was a new one: Lügenpresse, a German word meaning, “lying press.”
As CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out, the word is a term of abuse first made popular in Germany by the Nazis. In recent years, it has been adopted by Germany’s far-right and is often heard at anti-immigrant rallies, chanted by followers of PEGIDA, a German acronym for a name that translates roughly as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.
It is not entirely clear how the word made it from Germany to Cleveland, but a likely source is the alt-right bible, Breitbart, which has made common cause with the anti-Muslim hysteria in Germany and uses the word frequently.
To judge whether the word sounds, as Molly Ivins once said of Pat Buchanan’s nativist rhetoric, “better in the original German,” readers can watch a short clip of anti-Muslim soccer hooligans in Cologne chanting “Lügenpresse, halt die Fresse,” (“Shut up, lying press”) in 2014.