Matt Lauer sets his audience up for ignorance

Todd Manzi
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Posted: Mar 17, 2006 1:00 PM

Last week, Matt Lauer interviewed Jay Bennish, the Colorado teacher whose 20-minute socialist diatribe was taped by one of his students. Lauer asked Bennish, "On the tape you can hear Sean Allen asking you questions that seem to be egging you on a little bit. Do you feel you were set up?"

Lauer has set himself up for us, once again, to question his journalistic competence and his obvious liberal bias. Apparently, he has listened to the tape. It’s disgusting he has the audacity to say Allen set Bennish up.

On tape, the teacher spews forth his tainted view of U.S. drug policy, capitalism, the war in Iraq and President Bush’s State of the Union Speech. After all of that, Bennish makes a statement equivocating Hamas terrorist acts with our efforts in Iraq. Allen asks:

"Isn’t there a difference of having Hamas being like 'we want to attack Israelis because they are Israelis' and having us saying we want to attack people who are known terrorists? Isn’t there a difference between saying we’re going to attack innocents and we’re going to attack people who are not innocent?”

Bennish responds:

"But you have to remember who is doing the defining of a terrorist. What is a terrorist?"

Allen:

"When people are attacking us on our own soil and are actually attempting to take American lives and taking American lives. Whereas Israelis in this situation aren’t saying we want to blow up Palestine."

Bennish then proceeds to claim that Israel engaged in numerous terrorist actions including the assassination of a British Prime Minister. Allen tries to bring the conversation back on point:

"But it is just to say that it is okay to attack Israel if it’s okay to attack known terrorists is it okay to attack Israel?"

Bennish then makes the argument that Palestinians are justified if they consider the United States and Israel terrorists. This leads to the following exchange:

Allen:  "We did not have the intention of killing their innocent people; we had the intention of killing a known terrorist."

Bennish: "Do you know that?"

Allen: "So we’re saying that the US has intentions to kill innocent people?"

Bennish: "I don’t know the answer to that question."

Allen: "What gain do we get from killing innocent people in the Middle East? What gain does that get us?"

Now Bennish tries to make the case that when Bush says he is going to hunt down Al-Qaeda, he knows he is going to kill other people too. Allen responds to the teacher by asking:

"He stated he’s trying to kill innocents?"

This leads Bennish to the claim that, in the minds of Al-Qaeda, they were not attacking innocent people. The Pentagon, White House and World Trade Center were legitimate military targets. On tape, you can hear the student ask his teacher one final question:

"But we were the ones that were attacked first. On September 11, 2001 we were the ones that were attacked. We were not attacking anybody until that point. Then we said, okay, we’re going to go into Afghanistan, okay the Iraqi government has ties with Al-Qaeda, we’re going to go into Iraq. We were the ones that were attacked."

Now Bennish reminds his class that we attacked them before they attacked us. He says, "And so this whole idea of who attacked who first, how far back in time do you want to go?"

In the course of this exchange, Bennish attempts to justify Hamas attacking Israel by going back in time, then, he hypocritically goes back in time to suggest that September 11th wasn’t the starting point of our War on Terror. Bennish implies President Bush is killing innocent people and he states that Al-Qaeda is not killing innocent people. Incredible.

Matt Lauer needs to defend publicly his accusation that Sean Allen’s questions set up the teacher. While he is at it, he should explain why none of Bennish’s comments in the "set up" portion of the tape were used by the Today Show. Most of Lauer’s audience will never know the gist of what Bennish is "teaching" his students.

The mainstream media positioned this story as a teacher who was disciplined, because, after listening to the president’s State of the Union speech, he said Bush sounds a lot like Hitler. Unfortunately, the mainstream media failed to report the fact that on February 1st, while addressing his high school geography class, Jay Bennish sounded a lot like Osama Bin Laden.