Liberal guilt: still a media trait
9/17/2002 12:00:00 AM - Brent Bozell
Even as the trumpets sounded and bells rang in mourning a year
after thousands of American innocents were lost in a savage terrorist
attack, some people still couldn't place the blame where it belonged, on the
criminals. They firmly believe America somehow deserved the al-Qaeda attack.
We are the fount of great wealth and thus the legitimate target of
Legendary CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite appeared on CNN's "Larry
King Live" with another performance that makes you cringe at the thought
that he was once called "the most trusted man in America." Clearly, if this
man had ever been elected to office and tried to implement his opinions, he
would have made malaise-ridden, apology-loaded Jimmy Carter look like an
So why were we attacked? Cronkite said he believes "very
definitely that foreign policy could have caused what has happened." He
didn't elaborate, but apparently we have failed to love-bomb the repressive
backwaters of the world with enough foreign aid.
Cronkite's lecture went like this. "We represent the rich,"
while most of Africa, Asia, and the Americas are "very, very poor. The
people in these countries don't have adequate housing, don't have adequate
hospitalization, don't have adequate medical care, don't have adequate
education. They are not going to live forever in the shadow of the riches
that we display constantly in our movies, in our travels around the world,
in our airlines, in our shipping. They're not going to put up with that
forever." Terrorism represents "a revolution of the poor and have-nots
against the rich and the haves, and that's us."
Translation: We're at fault, and wretched murderers have
Poor Walter. He may have been a de-facto national leader by the 1970s, but
he felt so comfortable in that decade of despair, he never left.
Larry King tried to suggest that even a supposedly bungling or
arrogant foreign policy "doesn't excuse" massive terrorist attacks, but
Cronkite wouldn't lift a finger or change an inflection to agree. Larry
could have -- should have -- asked how this socialist fairy tale matched up
with the reality that most of the 9-11 hijackers came from wealthy Saudi
families. Or wondered why Cronkite would think radical Islamists wanting to
share the wealth of the American infidels would try to gain it by hoping to
destroy it. King might also have asked: If a massive redistribution of
wealth is the solution, why isn't the terrorists' own home, Saudi Arabia,
and its immense riches, the problem?
Put aside the lunacy of ending terrorism by adding every Middle
Eastern family to the American welfare rolls. This is not the terrorists'
aim; they want America destroyed, and have said so emphatically. No,
Cronkite's argument is but the tired socialist impulses of the American left
rearing its head and using 9/11 to its advantage. It's morally obnoxious,
If liberals hate greed, then how can they justify greed and envy
as an acceptable philosophy on the part of our enemies? Is it a moral
philosophy to want to kill the rich man because he is rich? Is it an
honorable economic policy to feed and clothe the world's poor by blowing up
New York? Apparently so, in the guilt-ridden fog that still envelopes the
former anchor for CBS News.
But Cronkite wasn't the only aging CBS veteran to beat his
breast in shame last week. In the self-satisfied quietude of the show
"Sunday Morning," longtime Middle East reporter Bob Simon uncorked a
commentary on how we'd have less enemies if we all drove tiny,
fuel-efficient cars. I'm not kidding. He said if we were "less greedy,
taking better care of our poor and our needy, and stop making impossible
demands on our planet's resources, I think we would plunge our enemies into
How would this strategy sound in the hearing rooms of Congress?
Ladies and gentlemen, Option A: We could attack al Qaeda, destroy their
training camps, dry up their finances and arrest their leaders one by one.
Or Option B: Perhaps we could win the war on terror if we all gave up our
SUV's, our mini-vans, even our intolerable mid-size cars, and bought a tiny
gas-sipper or a snazzy gas-electric hybrid. Osama bin Laden would be so
ashamed, he'd come out of his cave and apologize, right?
I think "Sunday Morning" ought to shelve those bubbling-brook
videos and invest in a laugh track.
Remember voices like these when people try to say that
conservatism is somehow "out of the mainstream." In a time of war, when
everything America has accomplished and stood for is under attack, when the
public has rallied around the president, and millions fly their flags with
pride, in some corners of liberalism, particularly in the liberal media, an
unpopular extreme of ideological self-loathing remains.