'Today' had two 9/11 family members on as guests this morning to react to yesterday's jury determination of life in prison rather than the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui. That the family member who expressed general support for the process was relatively unknown, whereas the bitter Bush-administration critic, Kristin Breitweiser, is a household commodity, is indicative of MSM coverage in the years since 9/11.
Ironically, it was the family member that was disappointed in the verdict who expressed pride in America and the process, whereas Breitweiser, who got the verdict she preferred, remained bitter.
First to speak was Hamilton Peterson, who lost his father and step-mother on United 93. Katie Couric opened by asking him why he believes Moussaoui should have received the death penalty. Consider Peterson's response:
"Katie, first I'd like to say I am proud to be an American. What happened yesterday in that courtroom speaks well of the United States the world over. The prosecutors did a good job. The jurors did a responsible job. And the integrity of our process was maintained and demonstrated to the world."
But Katie was implacable: "Having said that, you are disappointed I know."
Peterson again declined to rise to Couric's attempt to elicit criticism of the prosecution, which after all is a part of the Bush administration:
"Katie, my personal views are irrelevant. The process which was exercised successfully yesterday and unfolded before the world sends the message what a great system the United States has. And while I am personally disappointed in certain factors, I am proud to be an American."
Contrast this with the reaction of Kristin Breitweiser, who since losing her husband at the WTC on 9/11 has become a ubiquitous press presence with her bitter criticism of the Bush administration. Just last evening in an appearance on 'Hardball', Breitweiser went so far as to imply that former CIA Director George Tenet and two named FBI agents merited the death penalty as much as Moussaoui for their failure to take actions that could have averted 9/11. See report here.
This morning, after a fleeting acknowledgement that "the jury did an appropriate job", Breitweiser immediately trained her sights on her real enemy - the Bush administration. "I think no one seems to be acknowledging the reality here. The reality is our Justice Department prosecuted the wrong person." She went on to name three terrorists in US custoday, and alleged "because of our interrogation techniques of those individuals we are unable to prosecute them."
She also complained that "the 9/11 families have yet to hold one person accountable for these attacks. Three thousand people were killed. We have not prosecuted anyone successfully. Zacarias Moussaoui plead guilty, he plead guilty to charges that were not very directly related to 9/11, and to me that's sad." She granted that Moussaoui was "a terrible person" but claimed there were no legal grounds to execute him. Peterson respectfully disagreed, pointing out that Moussaoui attended flight school but was unconcerned with learning to take off or land and testified that given the chance he would have slit the throats of passengers and crew.
In any case, while Breitweiser deserves understanding and sympathy for her loss, in many ways she has become emblematic of the blame-America-first attitude of many in the MSM and the American left.
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org