Unabomber Dies in Prison: Remember When Some Journalists PRAISED Him?

June 11th, 2023 3:32 PM

The apparent death by suicide of "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski might come as a "who's that" from younger citizens. Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski mailed or hand-delivered a series of increasingly sophisticated bombs that killed three people and maimed or injured 23 others.

Nevertheless, our Best of Notable Quotables 1996 edition included several sickening examples of journalists praising the eco-terrorist

"He [Ted Kaczynski] wasn't a hypocrite. He lived as he wrote. His manifesto, and there are a lot of things in it that I would agree with and a lot of other people would, that industrialization and pollution all are terrible things, but he carried it to an extreme, and obviously murder is something that is far beyond any political philosophy, but he had a bike. He didn't have any plumbing, he didn't have any electricity."

-- Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon talking about the Unabomber, April 7, 1996 C-SPAN Sunday Journal. 

"I can't bring myself to hate the Unabomber. Quite the opposite; I find his story curiously affecting. The original Unabomber -- the anonymous, hooded fellow, hiding behind aviator glasses -- was uninteresting, a freak, a nobody. But Theodore Kaczynski is someone very interesting indeed...I envy his disobedience....the [manifesto] tells us what we all know: that American society can be a powerfully compromising, deadening, even saddening force....

If Kaczynski proves to be the Unabomber, he is nobody's hero, certainly not mine. The bomber murdered three people, and might well have many more, all by design. Coincidentally, Kaczynski invaded our front pages just before Easter Sunday, mute, pathetic and manacled before his captors. But maybe he accomplished what the Unabomber set out to do, to make us think about ourselves, and the society that drove him to madness." 

-- Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, April 10, 1996.

There was also this: 

"It could be argued that the Unabomber at least had the courage of his convictions. He -- again, assuming the feds have the right man -- lived in 'wild nature.' He battled the machine."
-- Los Angeles Times columnist Peter H. King, April 10, 1996.

In a different category, just days later, Bryant Gumbel was blaming the Oklahoma City bombing on conservative talk radio (again).

NBC's Bryant Gumbel: "You mention talk radio. They [relatives of Oklahoma bombing victims] have some very hard feelings about talk radio and the hate being spewed by some of those on the far end of the spectrum."

Bill Moyers, PBS omnipresence: "If anything, talk radio in that part of the world is more anti-government today than ever. The airwaves are saturated with hostility, it's just an unremitting vilification of government. Sometimes it's, sometimes it's, you know, the government makes mistakes and there are justifiable grievances against government. But this is, this goes beyond that, it's excessive. And these people take it like salt in the wound. They drive around, they turn on their radio, they hear some vicious attack on government, and they think, `You know, if you strike the government, you kill my daughter.'"

-- Bill Moyers on the April 12, 1996Today promoting that night's Dateline on the families of and victims of the Oklahoma City bombing

Leftist journalists tried to claim you couldn't pin the Unabomber on the Left: 

"One source told the San Francisco Examiner that Kaczynski was 'disgusted with the widespread drug use and liberal politics' at Berkeley. Maybe so: the Unabomer [sic] manifesto is harshly critical of leftism."
-- Newsweek Senior Writer Tom Morganthau, April 15 issue.

"Yet no one, either at Michigan or Berkeley, remembers Ted having any contact with the leftists he would later excoriate in his manifesto."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, April 15. The Unabomber manifesto begins: "The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race."

In the June 7, 1996 CyberAlert, MRC's Brent Baker reported:

In the "On the Prowl" section, the June American Spectator reported: "FBI agents on the scene are telling colleagues they were amused when, while tearing apart the shack of suspected Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, they came upon Al Gore's 1992 eco-tract, Earth in the Balance. Many sections were underlined in pencil, and there were copious notes in the margins. Why wasn't Gore among the handful of titles listed in press references to the 80 or so books found in the cabin? The FBI and Justice Department haven't commented publicly, but some agents assume the title was clearly suppressed to avoid embarrassing Gore."

This week Rush Limbaugh discussed the charge on his show, prompting former NBC News reporter Carl Stern, now Janet Reno's chief flack, to issue a denial. From the June 6 Los Angeles Times: "The Justice Department insists that Gore's book is not among about 200 found by investigators. 'We're at the mercy of any mischief making,' grumbled Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern. 'There is no way to prove what isn't there.'"

It's nice to see Stern squirm from a media report. If only the major media would show a little interest in pursuing the story.

No one asked Al Gore to denounce the guy who was inspired by him.

PS: In 2015, remarkably unfunny Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore compared Kaczynski to Ted Cruz: “Ted Cruz went to Harvard, just like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Hey, Harvard, stop admitting dudes named Ted."