Bill Press has a new book out called “The Obama Hate Machine.” To read the blurbs, you might wonder if Press thinks no one should be allowed to criticize the president. Here’s Nancy Pelosi touting the book: “In a poisoned political climate, negative personal attacks on President Obama must have no place in our public discourse.”
What’s next? A mandate forbidding inappropriate free speech? These tolerant liberals are out of control.
Press appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Feb. 12 to plug his book, and he did say “there’s legitimate criticism of any president, which I think is very healthy, and I welcome it, and I’ve been a part of it. Right?” But then he went off the rails.
“I don’t know that anybody ever said that Ronald Reagan was a terrorist, or George W. Bush was a terrorist. Right? This isn’t a slight difference. It’s a huge difference, the level of attacks we’ve seen against President Obama.”
It’s proof positive that Bill Press knows very little. Just like in his last embarrassing book, “Toxic Talk,” Press claims all the ugly rhetoric comes from conservatives. But this is — I’ll be blunt — dishonest, and you don’t even have to look back in history to prove Press wrong. The Daily Kos had an entry headlined “Ronald Reagan, Terrorist!” on Reagan’s 100th birthday last year. Cindy Sheehan called George W. Bush a terrorist routinely. The term is used against conservatives of every stripe.
But let’s turn the spotlight back around to Bill Press. How has he performed on the “hate machine” scale? Let’s explore the record. Oh, yes, Press has a record, too.
1. On Jan. 13 — 18 days before his anti-hate book was first issued — Press called Newt Gingrich a terrorist on MSNBC’s Al Sharpton program, “Politics Nation”: “He’s the suicide bomber of the Republican Party. … He’s in it to take down as many people as he can as he goes down, and he has that same silly grin on his face when he pulls the plug as a suicide bomber.”
2. On his radio show on Aug. 6, 2011, in a funding dispute over the Federal Aviation Administration, Bill Press attacked the Republicans: “These guys are terrorists! I’m sorry; I’m sorry; you know, you know Joe Biden; they say he’s getting in a little trouble ’cause he called them terrorists. That’s exactly what they are!”
3. On June 16, 2010, Press complained that Glenn Beck was granted permission to have a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “If you ask me, that’s like granting al-Qaida permission to hold a rally on Sept. 11 — at ground zero.”
4. How about death wishes? On his radio show on July 22, 2011, Press played a clip of Speaker John Boehner suggesting Obama “needs to step up and work with us on the spending cuts.” He then replied: “You know, it’s a wonder lightning just doesn’t strike people dead on the spot when they say stuff like that.”
5. Nazis? In an Aug. 6, 2009 column, Press slashed at Tea Partiers opposing Obamacare at town hall meetings: “Taking a page right out of a Nazi playbook, organizers bus in professional protestors and arm them with instructions on how to take over meetings, shut down discussion, shout over any pro-health care reform speakers and then post video of the resulting chaos on YouTube. It’s mob rule, pure and simple.”
6. On Oct. 10, 2008, Todd Palin’s reported support for a secessionist party in Alaska drew this radio blast from Press: “What’s the difference between a secessionist and a terrorist? Isn’t a secessionist just another form of a terrorist? Ask Abraham Lincoln. … Let’s find out what the ‘First Dude’ was going to do in order to secede from the Union. I tell you it wasn’t going to be peaceful.”
7. And then there’s the good old-fashioned insult. On July 25, 2006, Press declared who was the dumbest president ever: “George W. Bush, with his rock bottom IQ of 91: seven points lower than his Daddy. … He’s just plain dumb — the dumbest president in the last 50 years. And probably, the dumbest president ever!”
Press’s alleged IQ information by the “Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pa.” was a hoax, entirely made up, which underlined just who shouldn’t be calling other people dummies.
8. But Bill Press really thinks American voters are also morons. On his radio show on Nov. 4, 2010, Press proclaimed: “Just once … I would like to hear somebody say, ‘The voters have spoken, the bastards.’ Or, ‘The voters have spoken. What a bunch of idiots.’ ‘The voters have spoken. God, they’re dumb. Dumb as hell.’”
Most Americans won’t be dumb enough to buy Bill Press’s book or believe a word he says against other people building their “hate machines.”
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.