Thomas Sowell

The change from Senate majority leader to Senate minority leader has apparently led Senator Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, into more of the kind of wild and reckless rhetoric that may have contributed to the Democrats' defeat in the recent elections.

According to Senator Daschle, when radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh "attacks those of us in public life" his listeners are "energized to go out and hurt somebody." This is supposed to explain threats that Daschle says he is getting.

That is quite an accusation to make, without a speck of evidence. In more than a decade of listening to Rush Limbaugh, I have never heard him condone violence, much less incite it. Moreover, he has never rewarded people who commit violence with free air time to broadcast their views -- as liberal media journalists do routinely when riots break out to protest meetings of the World Trade Organization or other activities that the rioters don't like.

Raise hell and get free air time on TV is the deal. But not on the Rush Limbaugh program. It is the liberals who are busy trying to "understand" the reasons behind the violence by letting the rioters spout off into network microphones and cameras.

Liberals can be very "understanding" about violence -- provided it is violence from the left. On the very day when terrorist planes were crashing into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon, The New York Times was running a sympathetic story about one of our own home-grown terrorists from the 1970s who had been caught up with by the law.

Where was the outrage from Senator Daschle when environmentalist terrorists booby-trapped trees so that saw-mill workers would be injured -- and could have been killed?

The double standard is blatant when you compare political reactions to the Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber. The Oklahoma City bombing was immediately blamed on conservative talk show hosts, even before the perpetrators were known. But when the murderous Unabomber was captured and a copy of Al Gore's environmental cult book was found in his cabin, dog-eared and with many passages marked up, that was passed over in silence by most of the liberal media.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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