The News Sites That Most Embody Godwin’s Law

March 23, 2014 in Editorial

hitler parade

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler or Nazi’s approaches 1”

Godwin’s Law

One of the surest ways to show that someone is bad is to liken them to a Nazi, thus ensuring that everyone listening knows that they gas minority groups and are definitely The Bad Guy. It’s also cheap, overdone and makes the offender look about as broad minded as the Naz- erm…the…uh…Apple fan boys we guess? But that doesn’t stop it from happening. A lot. We were interested in the most flagrant offenders, and searched for uses of the word ‘Hitler’ across various websites to see how many hits we could get. We then accounted for the size of the websites, and found the following:


Note: The searches (via Google) turn up uses of the word ‘Hitler’ in the both the website’s articles and comments sections.

American news outlets seem to embody Godwin’s law more often than British ones which is unsurprising. Democrats believe their opponents are Hitler. Republicans believe their opponents are Hitler. Even Justin Bieber fans believe their opponents are Hitler. Where else can you find that kind of agreement in America today? Hitler has done the most to unify Americans since the invention of the drive thru. Wikipedia also mentions Hitler a lot. For an encyclopaedia that covers over ten thousand years of history it’s oddly focused on this one man, with a 1,905 word article on his sexuality alone.

Another trend is that the more up-market the news site, the lower the Godwin compliances, which fits with the general idea that Hitler references show a lack of imagination.  As The Economist put it, “A good rule in most discussions is that the first person to call the other a Nazi automatically loses the argument.” Except that the Economist fulfils Godwin’s law weirdly often.


Which is odd given that Adolf once said “the economy is something of secondary importance”.  Perhaps they took it personally and have thus seen fit to mention him in the context of car-sharing, Hungary’s GDP in the year ending Q1, 2012, and grammatical syntax rules. It will also surprise precisely no-one that among the biggest followers of Godwin’s law is Israeli English language news agency Haaretz:


So for frequency of use of the word ‘Hitler’, the Israelis should be looking sheepish. But although Youtube doesn’t have a particularly high frequency of Godwin’s law violations, it makes up over half the total Godwin violations of the internet.


Overall then: If you’re after lots of Hitler references, go to Youtube. If you want to have the best chance of a Hitler reference on any given day, read Haaretz. Or for seriously intelligent news that helps readers put pretty much anything in the context of the Third Reich, head over to The Economist.


It may also amuse you to discover how much it would cost to attend Hogwarts, or what villains could have been doing instead of being evil. You can find those and other interesting things in our Editorials although if you want a selection of our most popular check out the Greatest Hits. And be sure to stay in touch:

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