'Humanity can never let this happen again': remembrance, resistance and the alt-right©

Coatney, Caryn (2017) 'Humanity can never let this happen again': remembrance, resistance and the alt-right©. In: Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia 2017 Conference: The Second Coming of Journalism? Rebirth, Resurrection, Renewal, Resistance, Resurgence (JERAA 2017) , 4-6 Dec 2017, Newcastle, Australia.


An online resurgence of Holocaust denial has sparked a movement of citizen activists who have staged their own media theatres of justice to challenge the alt-right, or ultranationalism, in Australia. This paper asks: how have professional journalists responded to the politics of emotion in the online representations of Holocaust denial, evasion and protest? Certainly, there has been little news analysis on the re-emergence of the formerly fascist slogan, Australia First, and its historical underpinnings in the Australia First Movement of Nazi sympathisers during World War II. This study has examined the media portrayal of the related historical terms, Australia First and Holocaust denial, in online news articles during the past year. This paper draws upon Theodor W. Adorno’s concept of remembrance and Michel Foucault’s regimes of truth. Contemporary journalists often showed that the citizen activists accomplished, using Adorno’s terms, an ability for working through the past as a dynamic communication process by posting online videos to resist Holocaust denial. As the Guardian (27 April 2017) quoted a Jewish student union representative, the activists intended to attract media attention towards the need for remembrance and critical reflection to ensure that 'humanity can never let this happen again'. Many news reports represented a tendency to correct the alt-right attempts to disseminate regimes of post-truth, a term coined by Jayson Harsin. Yet the news analyses rarely mentioned the problematic legacy of the Australia First Movement. The slogan, Australia First, has reappeared in mainstream political efforts to appeal to disaffected voters. The contemporary rhetoric has mitigated the slogan as a historical euphemism for Nazi support. This paper also shows the capacity of journalism education to shed light on the Adornian view of breaking a captivating spell from the past.©

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract only published in proceedings.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 06:48
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2018 00:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: journalism; media; communication; Holocaust denial; Australia First Movement; World War II
Fields of Research : 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33513

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