Left unsaid: George W. Bush often governed according to conviction and against the polls. But the liberals never found that admirable. In 2007, Ignatius wrote that the surge in Iraq was preposterous: "What's starting to crack isn't the obdurate Bush, but the country."
History wasn't the point. Like Obama, the media aren't looking back at the horrific violence of 9/11. They are much more comfortable projecting the violence that might occur from conservative resistance to the mosque proposal. On ABC's "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris touted that "Muslim activists" decried a "rising tide of Islamophobia in the country, with increasingly venomous fights" over mosque construction.
That night, Harris repeated that spin: "Muslim activists say angry rhetoric is fueling a dangerous level of Islamophobia, with protests over proposed mosques in places like Tennessee and Wisconsin, the bombing of a mosque in Jacksonville, Fla., in May, and a church in Gainesville, Fla., that's now planning to burn Korans on Sept. 11."
Historical analogies were strained. On ABC, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., compared the mosque-builders to the Pilgrims, just seeking religious freedom. Not to be outdone, on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann compared mosque opponents to the Nazis, in particular, the old Martin Niemoller line about "They came for the communists, but I was not a communist..." Somehow, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin were coming to send Muslims to concentration camps.
Olbermann tried to acknowledge he wasn't trying to compare a Manhattan zoning battle to the Holocaust, but that conservatives were "building up a collective pool of ... fear and hate" and "the need to purge" could outstrip "the parameters of the original scapegoating." Forget it. He was definitely using the Nazi smear.
Once again, the media have demonstrated that they feel their job is galloping to the rescue of Barack Obama, no matter how low he sinks in the polls -- or how low they sink in the ratings advancing politically noxious positions.
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