New York Times: Trump Has ‘Repurposed’ the Term ‘Deep State’ to Demonize ‘Civil Servants’

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York Times columnist Max Fisher, in a piece titled “What Happens When You Fight a ‘Deep State’ That Doesn’t Exist,” whines that President Donald Trump and populist conservatives have appropriated the term “Deep State” — just like the briefly trendy buzzword of “fake news.”

From the New York Times:

Though Mr. Trump has not publicly used the phrase, allies and sympathetic news media outlets have repurposed “deep state” from its formal meaning — a network of civilian and military officials who control or undermine democratically elected governments — to a pejorative meant to accuse civil servants of illegitimacy and political animus.

It is akin to Mr. Trump’s appropriation of “fake news,” a term that originally described rumor mills but one that he has used against any outlet that reports real news unfavorable to his administration.

Much as his use of “fake news” miscasts reporting as lying, “deep state” presents apolitical civil servants as partisan agents. And it mischaracterizes those officials, who seek to defend their place within the system, by presenting them as acting against that system.

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