They suggest that "news" shows don't go into reruns. But it certainly seemed that way when Bill Clinton marked the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing by repeating the same reprehensible smear from 1995. "Anti-government talk" emanating from conservatives naturally, inevitably led to 168 lives snuffed out in the wreckage of the Murrah Federal Building.
On the night of April 16, ABC substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas red-carpeted Clinton's latest attack with the title "Watch Your Words" on the screen. Vargas identified talk radio and Tea Partiers as the culprits: "There is a lot of attention tonight on comments made by former President Bill Clinton, who has weighed in on the angry anti-government rhetoric, ringing out from talk radio to Tea Party rallies. He warns that sometimes firing people up with caustic comments can have unintended and dire consequences."
The New York Daily News was even more explicit, with the headline "Bubba: Tea Party Ticking Time Bomb." Clinton said in his speech that "This Tea Party movement can be a healthy thing if they are making us justify every dollar of taxes we raise and every dollar of money we've spent. But when you get mad, sometimes you end up producing the exact opposite result of what you say you are for."
Clinton tried to express that there's nothing wrong with protest - but then suggested that these protests lead to domestic terrorism and mass murder. Reporters suggested Clinton "warned about incendiary language" - not that his words were incendiary, mind you.
Where was President Clinton when liberal partisans took to the streets with real violence - the kind that generates riot police and mayhem and oh yes, injuries? Throughout all those years of ultra-left civil disruption, there was complete silence from Clinton. So hypocritical. So....Clinton.
The most maddening thing about this repeated phenomenon is that the Clinton-adoring media helpfully paint these speeches as the plea of a unifier, a humanitarian voice for sanity and civility. Why can't they acknowledge that asserting your enemies are encouraging terrorism is not unifying, nor does it define civility?
Back on April 25, 1995, the New York Times reported that Clinton flew to Minneapolis to savage conservative talk radio: "We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other."
Clinton added to the paranoia theme: "I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences, and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility."
Now compare that last concept to his 2010 speech: "One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have."
Translation: the more "influence" you have in conservative circles, the guiltier you are of encouraging violence and death. Keith Olbermann was only being clearer when he said "Rush, you have blood on your hands." Joe Klein was being only being more craven when he charged conservatives were edging "right up close to being seditious."
Our alleged defenders of civility in the media elite can only provide their usual hosannas for Bill Clinton. But no one blinked in 2005, when we marked the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and Republicans were in the White House. Clinton granted no interviews to warn about anti-government talk. He issued no civility warnings. These attacks on "anti-government talk" are only relevant when the president is a Democrat. We live in "crazy" anti-government times only when protesting the government is seen as standing in the way of progress, not opposing the government schemes of "neocons" and "warmongers."
Within months of the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Cindy Sheehan would sit outside of President Bush's ranch in Texas proclaiming "George and his indecent bandits traitorously had intelligence fabricated to fit their goal of invading Iraq." By the end of 2005, the media elite were excoriating Bush as "Big Brother" and a "dictator," but no one warned that this intemperate language could lead to violence.
Bill Clinton wants to surpass Jimmy Carter and be declared the greatest ex-president by the liberal media. But while George Bush and his namesake son quietly toil without any harsh smearing of the Left, Clinton and Carter shout their smears from the rooftops. All the media have to offer is a microphone and a kiss on both cheeks.