"What do you call a crazed group of people that disrupts a meeting on health care and hangs the congressman holding it in effigy?" Former CNN Washington correspondent Bob Franken , in a Friday blog posting on AOL's "Politics Daily " site, "Health Care Mobs and Their Instigators: Denials Ring Hollow ," answered by smearing all instead of holding accountable the few who commit the misdeeds: "A mob."
Franken, who departed CNN in 2006 and now shows up occasionally as an analyst on MSNBC, continued: "What do you call the partisan groups that whip up their fear-of-change ultra-conservative base to engage in that symbolic lynching and then disavow any responsibility? You have a choice here between 'deniers' and a word that rhymes with it." I guess that would be "liars."
To prove how the opposition must be orchestrated, Franken demanded: "Can someone point to any Republicans who have been harassed as they hold meetings on health care?" He again answered his own question by asserting those "who have been under siege in their home bases have one thing in common. They're all Democrats - senators and members of the House who have been heckled and threatened as they tried to explain their views on the health care reforms moving through Washington."
Franken soon pleaded in his August 7 post: "One can only hope that this effort at organized intimidation doesn't escalate. What if the other side decides to meet the conservative mobs head on?"
Whether a "reasoned debate" can occur, Franken concluded, "will depend on just how cynical those encouraging the mob frenzy are - while denying responsibility. What shall we call them? Mobsters?"
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center