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Friday, September 9, 2005
Presidential Threat Double Standard Alert
Topic: Newsmax
In a Sept. 8 NewsMax piece noting that the Secret Service is declining to say whether it's investigating Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu's threat to punch President Bush, NewsMax references Jesse Helms:

The agency took a tougher stance on Senatorial threats in 1994, when then-North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms joked that President Clinton "had better watch out if he comes down here. He better have a bodyguard."

But NewsMax leaves out the context of what else was going on in 1994, or why "some pundits" were "complaining that Helms had committed treason." (Actually, it was only one pundit, The Baltimore Sun's Roger Simon.)

At the same time he made that remark, Helms had also reaffirmed an earlier statement that everyone in the armed forces believed that Clinton was unfit to be commander in chief, undermining respect for authority and, Simon claimed, giving aid and comfort to our enemies. (Imagine the conservative firestorm if anyone said that about President Bush today.) A man had recently sprayed the White House with semi-automatic bullets. And the nation was marking the 31st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

NewsMax apparently wasn't bothered by Helms' statement -- if not secretly wished for something to happen to Clinton that would required bodyguards -- but it's worried that a female senator might pop Bush in the kisser (which NewsMax called a "much more explicit threat" than Helms') is worthy of a full-on investigation.

And, as an added bonus, the article references a incident in which, during a visit to hurricane-stricken Louisiana by Vice President Dick Cheney, a man said "Go f - - k yourself, Mr. Vice President." NewsMax called it an example of the "rising tide of hostility towards the Bush White House where normal boundaries of criticism have fallen by the wayside." But NewsMax failed to note that 1) the heckler was using the very same expletive that Cheney himself used against Sen. Patrick Leahy (an insult NewsMax had no apparent problem with) and 2) NewsMax helped obliterate some of those boundaries on criticism of the executive branch with its continuous attacks on the Clinton White House.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:48 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 9, 2005 12:31 PM EDT

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