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Up until last week, National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch was not a household name. Then, an old ad she filmed for the group went viral, and she became a flashpoint in the national discussion of civility in politics and inciting violence.
Throughout the uproar over the video—it appeared to many as a thinly veiled call for civil war—Loesch remained unrepentant, constantly defending herself and fighting with people snipping at her on Twitter for the ad, which she was adamant was not a call to violence.
Then on Tuesday night, she chimed in on the Donald Trump-CNN-Reddit-WWE GIF blackmail situation, which unfolded when CNN said it would out the identity of the GIF’s creator if he continued to use racists and misogynistic memes. CNN denied it had “blackmailed” the GIF-maker, but Loesch found the publication’s behavior to be ridiculous and tweeted about it, using language ripped straight from an infamous quote about the Holocaust.
First they came for the memes …— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Part of the issue with Reddit poster HanAssholeSolo, who made the GIF, was that he previously made anti-Semitic memes. Loesch’s tweet references a Martin Niemöller quote about how people ignored the behaviors of the Nazis because it did not directly affect them.
The full quote goes:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
It appears Loesch is flippantly invoking a reference to doing nothing about the Holocaust, framing the media as Nazis. The tweet comes at a time when the Trump administration has been accused of anti-Semitic behavior and actions—from leaving Jews out of their statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day to Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claim that Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on the German people—and she was immediately accused of furthering the idea that the alt-right is littered with anti-Semites.
Area fascist defends area anti-Semite.— Dennis Perkins (@DennisPerkins5) July 5, 2017
Again, Loesch did not back down.
So this is the line of attack as you roaches scurry to cover your asses for doxing a random teenager?— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Loesch’s indignation stemmed from the fact that she believed the person who made the GIF didn’t deserve to be scrutinized by CNN. She also felt that just because Trump used a GIF from a person who made anti-Semitic memes doesn’t mean the president should be considered an anti-Semite as well. Or, for that matter, anyone who appreciated the GIF.
I can’t believe that this is a story. It’s a meme FFS. https://t.co/Id880JQmmx— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Media's new defense: Because the gif maker was an anti-Semite, if you don't agree with him being doxed then you share his anti-Semitic views— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
The optics of going after people on Independence Day simply for making memes. And some wonder why people are frustrated with media.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Don't use gifs today folks, the media will go after you, dox the creator, and ascribe whatever a random gif maker believes to you.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Loesch’s points aside, Trump has been accused of using ant-Semitic memes before.
Even though Loesch claims her only qualm was with media threatening to dox a random person, people still felt her using that remark was out of line.
Didn't know the memes were first....thought it was Jews, women, people of color, LGBT folks, etc. https://t.co/9nax1IzQKw— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 5, 2017
1/ It would be hard to top this tweet from Dana Loesch for peak intellectual dishonesty. https://t.co/D7Ab1eGeUH— (((Nasty Cajsa))) (@Cajsa) July 5, 2017
No one told me the meme had been put on a train to Dachau. https://t.co/av8zfYELZm— Voight-Kampff Test (@enjen99) July 5, 2017
But then, Loesch’s repeated response to invoking Holocaust imagery was to tell everyone to lighten up.
Yes you two, lighten up. It's only Wednesday.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Seriously lighten up.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Lighten up Francis. You guys doxed a rando.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
Oh lighten up Francis.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 5, 2017
If Loesch’s Holocaust humor the kind of levity we need right now, call it a sign of the times.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]