The Nazi treatment: Press coverage of Barack Obama and Bernard Madoff from 2008 to 2009 | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1740-8296
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0918



In 2008, opponents of US President Barack Obama painted Hitler moustaches on his photographic likeness, and victims of Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff likened him to Hitler for the way he destroyed lives. This article examines how the ‘Holocaust theme and metaphor’ has emerged through media coverage of significant events in the United States from 2008 to 2009, through an analysis of newspaper articles. This study is situated within the broader context of Holocaust memory in American life. The metaphoric memory involving the Holocaust has less to do with factual, historic events of the Holocaust and more to do with the intended invocation of fear and a strong reaction from the public. This research concludes that references to the ‘Holocaust’ and ‘Hitler’ in news coverage of current events represents a rhetorical device to trigger an emotional reaction from the public, to warn the public against looming danger and to bolster support for their ideological position.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Barack Obama; Bernard Madoff; Hitler; Holocaust; media; press
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