Liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow will anchor an April 19 retrospective on
terrorist Timothy McVeigh and whether his murder of 168 people could be linked
to "today's anti-government extremists." [Audio available here .]
During an ad for the upcoming special, footage of bloody victims from the Oklahoma City bombing appeared onscreen as an announcer wondered, "15 years later, can McVeigh's words help us understand today's anti-government extremists?"
Now, it's possible that the "anti-government extremists" the ad refers to are groups such as the recently arrested militia group in Michigan. But, it's worth remembering that after the original bombing, journalists jumped to associate McVeigh's actions with mainstream conservatism.
In the May 8, 1995 issue of Time, senior writer Richard Lacayo smeared, "In a nation that has entertained and appalled itself for years with hot talk on the radio and the campaign trail, the inflamed rhetoric of the '90s is suddenly an unindicted co-conspirator in the blast."
Then-Today show co-host Bryant Gumbel derided:
"The bombing in Oklahoma City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that's been coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men. While no one's suggesting right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the President....Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Bob Grant, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and others take to the air every day with basically the same format: detail a problem, blame the government or a group, and invite invective from like-minded people. Never do most of the radio hosts encourage outright violence, but the extent to which their attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue."
- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, April 25.
For more, see the May 8, 1995 issue of Notable
Another question for MSNBC: Domestic terrorism, such as the attack perpetrated by an American like McVeigh, is rare. What, precisely, will MSNBC compare the incident to?
The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist will air on MSNBC on April 19 at 9pm.
A transcript of the ad, currently airing on MSNBC, can be found below:
ANNOUNCER: For the first time ever-
TIMOTHY MCVEIGH: I lit the two minute fuse at the stoplight.
ANNOUNCER: -you'll hear from the man responsible for the horrific bombing in Oklahoma City.
MCVEIGH: Kids are fair game. Women are fair game.
ANNOUNCER: From decorated soldier to domestic terrorist.
MCVEIGH: I felt absolute rage.
ANNOUNCER: 15 years later, can McVeigh's words help us understand today's anti-government extremists?
MCVEIGH: I feel no shame for it.
ANNOUNCER: The McVeigh Tapes. April 19 at nine on MSNBC. [Graphic says: Hosted by Rachel Maddow.]
-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow him on Twitter.