Imagine you're the host of a morning news show, and the head of the country's major opposition party has just invoked the danger of the President of the United States turning the country into a police state akin to Iran. Would you perhaps ask a follow-up question challenging your guest to substantiate his inflammatory remark? No, you wouldn't. At least, not if you're GMA's Charlie Gibson. For when Howard Dean made just such an allegation this morning, Gibson never blinked.
Discussing the NSA terrorist surveillance program, Dean stated:
"All we ask is that we not turn into a country like Iran, where the President of Iran can do anything they [sic] want at any time."
Surely Gibson would demand that Dean back up his suggestion that America is on the brink of dictatorship? But no, the incurious Mr. Gibson merely thanked Dean and bade him goodbye.
Gibson was similarly insouciant earlier in the interview. In response to Gibson's request that Dean describe the Democrats' national security policy, the DNC chairman offered the following:
1. "We will hunt down Osama Bin Laden, enough is enough." Policy, or fond wish?
2. "We will under no circumstances allow Iran to become a nuclear power." How?
3. "We will make the deal that has to be made with the North Koreans." And what deal is that?
4. "We will always adequately equip our troops if we have to send them into battle." A shot at the Bush administration on the body-armor issue.
Um, Mr. Dean, isn't there an item missing from your list? You lay out Dem national security policy and don't mention one word about . . . Iraq? Wouldn't you have thought, particularly given Dean's recent averment that the war in Iraq is unwinnable, that Gibson might have asked him just what the Dems would do about Iraq?
But no. Gibson was as silent as Dean when it came to the national security issue that the president has described as the cornerstone of our war on terror and in which 130,000 of our troops are currently engaged.
Perhaps the graphic ABC displayed during throughout the segment: "Fear Factor - Is Bush Playing Terror Card?" told us all we needed to know about GMA's view of the issues.
Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY where he hosts the local TV show 'Right Angle.' Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org