Brent Bozell

John Kerry's Super Tuesday wins on March 2 marked the formal start of this year's presidential campaign. This might explain why the liberal media silliness began with the first Bush-Cheney ad buy on March 4. The Bush ads were positive, promotional, piano-plunking, the type that usually bores reporters to death. But this time, they were quickly slammed by the press.

The Democrats thought they had an angle to trip up the Bush campaign, and they pushed it. Say, didn't those ads flash about a second of pictures of September 11? Well, yes, and so what? After being attacked unmercifully by the Left for his handling of the war on terrorism before and after 9-11, shouldn't the president be allowed to defend himself?

Apparently not. Bush, we are told, is playing politics. Which is exactly what his hypocritical critics are doing.

Some relatives of the lost, like Debra Burlingame on MSNBC, said the images of 9-11 "belong to all of us. We were all attacked." But most of the relatives quoted were fierce critics of Bush. Many of those featured in early press reports were members of a little radical conclave called "September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows," founded by about 80 relatives of the more than 3,000 victims of that infamous al Qaeda attack. The Washington Post called them "nonpartisan," which is laughable. They are very active lobbyists of the far Left.

See their Web site at peacefultomorrows.org. Last year, they were hosting protest marches to condemn "the illegal, immoral and unjustified U.S.-led military action in Iraq." They opposed the war uprooting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and complained that 9-11 was "used to justify the deaths of thousands of Afghan men, women and children." Their members give speeches across the country with titles including "Exploiting 9-11 for Empire Building."

Their fundraisers starred Amy Goodman, the host of Pacifica Radio's morning show "Democracy Now," the taxpayer-funded public radio show that replays long speeches by radicals like Michael Moore and Arundhati Roy spewing hate at Team Bush in the ugliest language. "Nonpartisan" is a rotten label for this group because it assumes they have no agenda, that they're quietly apolitical or perhaps soggy centrists.

By the way, please note that the "Peaceful Tomorrows" gang has been funded by a liberal philanthropy called the Tides Center, as their first newsletter in 2002 explains. The Capital Research Center notes that the Tides Center received at least $650,000 in 2001 from the Howard Heinz Endowment, led by none other than Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry. Keep waiting for the media to report any of this.

Some anti-Bush critics were so nonpartisan they could not recall whether they voted for Bush or Gore. On MSNBC's "Hardball," Monica Gabrielle, who gained prominence for slashing the Bush ads as "a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people," was asked how she voted in 2000. She said, "Politics don't have anything to do with it." Chris Matthews pressed again. She claimed: "You know what? To be honest with you, I don't even recall."

Uh-huh. Maybe Mrs. Gabrielle can recall her political position last summer, when she complained to the left-wing Web site Salon.com: "We've been fighting for nearly 21 months -- fighting the administration, the White House." She told Matthews that Bush spent September 11 in a schoolroom and then on his airplane, so he wasn't a leader. So she is uncommitted on Bush's re-election? She has no agenda? Her activism can be seen as a laudable response to losing her husband, but she should not be presented as having no axe to grind.

Our sensitivity to every image in a Bush ad is not matched by any sensitivity to the tone of Bush's critics. One widow, Kristin Breitweiser, even claimed, "Three thousand people were murdered on Bush's watch." Can you imagine a widow ever getting national media exposure by throwing hardballs about murders on President Clinton's "watch" in Oklahoma City, or the Khobar Towers, or our embassies in Kenya or Tanzania? That would be seen as a low blow, not worthy of broadcast. But not in this election year.

The media are at their most hypocritical when they suggest Bush is unfairly benefiting from 9-11 in his ads. But who has piled on the profits with hours and hours of specials, and newspaper and magazine special editions, devoted to 9-11? Because Bush has done a good enough job in preventing attacks on the homeland, the media can go back to profiting from the usual sludge on Martha Stewart and Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson.

Imagine how the media will react when the Bush people go negative!


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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