Friday, August 21, 2009

Compare And Contrast

Via Brutally Honest, this ZombBlog photoessay.

From the intro:

Why am I doing this?

Let me make this perfectly clear:

I am not publishing this essay in order to make excuses for anyone who has threatened President Obama, or who plans to threaten him in the future.

This is not some wrongheaded attempt at a tu quoque logical fallacy; in other words, I’m not trying to claim that death threats against Bush in the past justify threats against Obama now. Not at all. What I’m saying is that present-day threats to Obama at protests should be investigated — yet previous threats to Bush at protests weren’t investigated, which I think is inexcusable. Threats to the president aren’t excusable now, and weren’t excusable in the past — and yet death threats against Bush at protests seem to have been routinely ignored for years (and readers who have any evidence showing that the threateners depicted below were ever prosecuted for threatening the president, please tell me and I’ll update this essay with the new info). Why the discrepancy?

Am I calling the Secret Service incompetent?

No — I am not calling the Secret Service incompetent. In fact, I’m pointing the finger of blame in an entirely different direction. I’m quite sure that the Secret Service always dutifully investigates any threat to the president of which it becomes aware. But that’s the key right there: of which it becomes aware. The Secret Service has only a limited budget and a limited number of investigators, and so can’t be present to witness every potential threat as it appears. Often, the Secret Service is only alerted to a possible threat by reports in the media. And the media is the weak link.

I contend that the media is aggressively reporting on, highlighting and pursuing any and all possible threats to President Obama — and even hints of threats — but they purposely glossed over, ignored or failed to report similar threats to President Bush. Why? I believe it is part of an ideological bias: most mainstream networks and newspapers tried their best during the Bush administration to portray the anti-war movement as mainstream and moderate; whereas now they are trying to portray the anti-tax and anti-health-care-bill protesters as extremists and as fringe kooks. To achieve these goals, they essentially suppressed any mentions of the violent signage (including threats to Bush) at anti-war rallies, but have highlighted anything that could even conceivably be construed as a threat at anti-Obama events.

I believe this partly accounts for the 400% increase in reported threats against Obama over those against President Bush. Part of that reported increase in investigated threats is undoubtedly due to an increase in actual threats; but part of it is almost certainly due to an increase in threats which get reported by the media and are therefore brought to the Secret Service’s attention.

[additional excellent points follow]

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