Two of the most toxic political commentators in the nation tried to make the case Monday that violent political rhetoric emanates far more from conservatives than liberals.
Fortunately for the small number of viewers watching MSNBC's "The Ed Show," Tony Blankley was present to set Ed Schultz and Bill Press straight (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ED SCHULTZ, HOST: Now let’s get rapid-fire response from our panel on these stories. I want to get their thoughts on extreme political rhetoric in this country. What is the responsibility of the politicians, the left and the right? Are they equally to blame? With us tonight, Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host. And Tony Blankley, syndicated conservative columnist. Great to have both of you with us.
BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Ed.
TONY BLANKLEY, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Good to be here.
SCHULTZ: Does -- does the rhetoric of Michele Bachmann, Bill Press, saying that she wants all Minnesotans to be armed and dangerous. Should she take that back, or is that all just part of politics today?
Funny how the Left are fixated on Bachmann's "armed and dangerous" comment from 2009. However, Schultz could have just as easily referred to an October 2010 remark by former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Penn.).
As reported by the Times-Tribune on October 23:
This was followed by a reference to Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for Florida governor, who was ousted in 1997 as head of the giant health care company Columbia/HCA, amid the nation's largest Medicare and Medicaid fraud scandal. The company paid $1.7 billion in fines and civil settlements.
"That Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida," Mr. Kanjorski said. "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he's running for governor of Florida. He's a millionaire and a billionaire. He's no hero. He's a damn crook. It's just we don't prosecute big crooks."
So, a Democrat Congressman in October 2010 specifically advocated the shooting of a Republican that is now governor of Florida. Not surprisingly this got very little attention at the time.
More importantly, despite it being far worse than anything that anyone has recently said on the right side of the aisle, neither Schultz nor Press mentioned it:
PRESS: I don’t think that it’s part of politics today. I don’t think it should be, look, I want to say what you said at the top, right, and we all agree. This act was committed by one unhinged, mentally unstable young man. But you can’t escape the fact that he committed this attempted political assassination in this fiery political rhetoric -- headquarters, if you will, of Arizona. And he went after a congresswoman who herself was the victim of personal violent rhetoric for the last year, and then in a climate where you had Sharron Angle talking about second amendment rights, and Michele Bachmann with armed and dangerous, and Sarah Palin with her map. And I think all of those people who’ve used that gun-filled rhetoric tonight, Ed, have to do some real soul-searching.
Actually, Press is the one that should do some soul-searching. Here's a list of some of his recent toxic comments:
But I digress:
SCHULTZ: Tony, what do you think?
BLANKLEY: Look, I think that very regretfully throughout American history, going back to colonial times, our rhetoric has been violent and our actions have been violent. We’ve had more assassinations, political assassinations, than any other democratic country.
SCHULTZ: Is it always going to be like this?
BLANKLEY: Well, if the last 240 years is any indication. But let me make a point here. Because in fact, it is on all sides. You talked about Sarah Palin’s gun site stuff. I’ve seen a democratic national committee posting, where in 2004, they had gun sites. They had it called "behind enemy lines," the same phrase that you were quoting in the previous segment. I quoted Pelosi, calling people who’ve opposed Obama-care Nazis, et cetera.
As for Pelosi's comments from August 2009:
But I once again digress:
PRESS: Tony, look.
BLANKLEY: It’s on all sides and equally.
PRESS: No, it’s not. No, it’s not. And Ed made that point earlier. There’s no morrow equivalency here. Listen, I wrote a book about this called "Toxic Talk," I have to tell you something, I listened to all of the talk radio on the right and on the left. This is 24/7, the specialty of right-wing talk radio today.
For those interested, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell wrote about Press's pathetic book on May 25. But I again digress:
BLANKLEY: Bob, you can say.
PRESS: I’ll tell you something else, there’s a big difference between colonial days and today. And the difference today is that that ugly hate talk from Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, it’s around the world within seconds. It will never was in colonial times. So get off of that.
BLANKLEY: Well, that’s a little aggressive yourself, Bill. But look.
PRESS: Because I feel strongly about this.
Fine example of hostile rhetoric from Press, wouldn't you say?
SCHULTZ: Go ahead. Tony, go ahead.
BLANKLEY: The fact is that Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Senator Reid, all used the words "Nazis," "dissenters," "un-Americans" to describe their opponents. This is part of the American politics. We all know that this is an ugly.
SCHULTZ: Harry Reid’s used the term Nazi?
PRESS: Again, show me when.
BLANKLEY: No Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid used to call people who were opposed to him, evil. That’s the word. And I have it from a column that I wrote late last year. This is a reality. We all know that this is an ugly part of American politics and it always has been. I hope it changes -- I hope it changes but I don’t think that it’s going to.
Indeed. As The Hill reported on August 13, 2009:
Town hall protesters are "evil-mongers," says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Reid coined the term in a speech to an energy conference in Las Vegas this week and repeated it in an interview with Politics Daily.
Such "evil-mongers" are using "lies, innuendo and rumor," to drown out rational debate, Reid said.
Facts really are a stupid thing, aren't they? But I once again digress:
PRESS: Listen to me -- Ed, I think you made the point, Ed. You made the point that all of us should be cooling our jets and all of us should be searching in looking at the words that we use, everybody should.
SCHULTZ: My prediction is, nothing will change because the passion on both sides and the ideological divide is so great in America, I don’t think anything is going to change when it comes to the conversation.
Yes, Schultz would predict that, for as NewsBusters has reported since its inception, he is one of the most toxic and virulent commentators on national television today.
Just last Wednesday, less than 72 hours before the shootings in Tucson, he said on his program, "This is an ideological war. I say it on camera tonight here on MSNBC - I will fight these [Republican] bastards every night at 6 o’clock."
In July, he called Harry Reid "ball-less." "You won't do the nuke option for the American people and shove the Republicans into the ditch! Shove those bastards right into the dirthole!"
And this guy has the nerve to point fingers at anyone for using violent political rhetoric?
Physician - heal thyself!