After refusing to do so for seven days, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois finally apologized for insulting his country.
It is truly maddening to have the Senate Minority Whip, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, compare our military prisons to the concentration camps of Hitler and Pol Pot. It is reprehensible that the so-called "mainstream media" chose largely to ignore it. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, given their track record. They also ignored Washington Sen. Patty Murray in December 2003, when she stirred up outrage by claiming Osama bin Laden was very popular with Arabs because he was building schools and day-care facilities. At least Sen. Murray wasn't being covered on television when she put her high heel in her mouth.
Sen. Durbin stood on the Senate floor before the microphones and cameras on C-SPAN and claimed after reading an e-mail from an FBI agent about terrible conditions for Muslim detainees at Guantanamo, "you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."
Conservative activists and Republican politicians were upset and pounding the table to bring it to public attention almost immediately. This outrage was largely ignored by the national media, who were still fussing over John Bolton saying in 1994 that you could take 10 floors off the U.N. building and no one would notice.
The New York Times have been relentless in their focus on the alleged failings of John Bolton, but they've been buried so deep in a Democratic tank that they've barely touched the notion that Dr. Dean has a mouthiness problem and handled Durbin's rant with tiny three-paragraph items that whispered "this is hardly newsworthy."
The networks agreed. The morning shows on ABC, CBS and NBC were silent. So were the evening shows on ABC and CBS. "NBC Nightly News" had one mention -- but painted Durbin as the victim of White House attacks. Substitute anchor Campbell Brown said: "And the war of words over the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, continued today with the White House attacking a Democratic senator for comparing interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay ... to those used by the Nazis, the Soviets, and the Khmer Rouge." Brown noted White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan called Durbin's comments "beyond belief," but was not about to mention that the Bush spokesman wasn't asked about Durbin until 26 minutes into a 33-minute briefing, and he was not asked by the major media.