Topic: The ConWeb
Is the ConWeb giving Sen. Richard Durbin the Patty Murray treatment?
Murray is the senator from Washington state who, in 2002, suggested that Osama bin Laden had support in the Islamic world because he had built schools, roads and day care centers, and wondered why the U.S. hadn't done the same thing to build goodwill. The ConWeb -- WorldNetDaily in particular -- twisted this comment (which occurred on the heels of the uproar over Sen. Trent Lott's comments about Sen. Strom Thurmond) into a claim that Murray was praising bin Laden; NewsMax started calling Murray "Osama Mama." Meanwhile, a Republican congressman who actually did whitewash the Taliban faced no criticism from the ConWeb.
It looks like the ConWeb is trying to do the same to Durbin, taking his comments likening treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the torture regimes of Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot. Mostly, the ConWeb has ignored his specific allegations of abuse and tried to distort Durbin's comments as a condemnation of all U.S. military personnel.
A couple of examples:
-- A June 17 NewsMax article goes after Sen. Pat Leahy for defending Durbin by claiming that "I'd be very careful about taking quotes off the Wall Street Journal editorial page." NewsMax's response: "urbin's quotes, however, didn't appear in the Wall Street Journal, but were instead first covered by its sister web site, OpinionJournal.com." It's a distinction without a meaningful difference; the WSJ editorial page runs OpinionJournal.com. It also noted "Durbin's characterization of GI's as 'Nazis.'" Another June 17 article insisted that Durbin claimed that "U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay conducted themselves like 'Nazis.'"
-- A June 18 WorldNetDaily commentary by Robert Knight downplays allegations of abuse: "Mr. Durbin might have been carried away after hearing about some of the techniques used to break the terror suspects, such as playing loud rap music, making them stand naked, lowering the temperature and so on. But so far, not one prisoner at Guantanamo has perished, nor has any suffered any permanent physical harm." Knight also calls Durbin hypocritical because he "smeared good Americans" at Gitmo while opposing a law banning so-called "partial-birth" abortion."
-- A June 17 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" claimed that Durbin "wildly" made his accusations, called them "absurd" and "crazy," and insisted that "the issue is really moot." A June 17 CyberAlert called Durbin's remarks "outlandish" and complained that the networks didn't give them enough attention.