John Patrick Bedell was a registered Democrat who believed George W. Bush was behind 9-11. So how does Good Morning America portray him? As a right-wing extremist, part of a pattern of anti-government violence that flares during Dem presidential administrations . . .GMA had a two-part segment on Bedell this morning. First came a reasonable report by Martha Raddatz. At one point, as images of the WTC in flames appeared, she did state that "there had been internet postings, laced with conspiracy theories about 9-11, and government corruption." Raddatz stopped short of mentioning that Bedell explicitly accused the Bush admin of being behind 9-11, calling them a "murderous government" and "collection of gangsters" that sacrificed "thousands of its citizens" on September 11th.
But then came co-host Bill Weir, literally waving Janet Napolitano's report about "right-wing extremism" in the air, and wondering out loud to ABC consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett, who was willing to go along, about having seen this before "during past Democratic administrations."
BILL WEIR: Back in April, almost a year ago, the Department of Homeland Security put out this assessment, called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." And the title alone stirred up a political firestorm for the Secretary, Napolitano. She apologized, had to reaffirm that the government doesn't monitor people who are opposed to this administration. But as a law enforcement officer, how do you make the distinction between somebody who has a legitimate different point of view from this government and someone who might become unhinged?. . . .
WEIR: What are some of the, if this is a trend, have we seen this before in past recessions and past [pauses] Democratic administrations?
GARRETT: If you believe the numbers about people involved in extremist movements in this country, they increased in the '90s when President Clinton was in power, and there's some belief, at least in the right-wing folks, that Democrats will reduce their ability to have firearms, and they see their rights disappearing I guess under the Democrats.
Note: I don't want to fall into the mirror-image mistake of branding Bedell a conventional left-winger. I'm with Michelle Malkin on this. The bottom line is that he was insane, and filled with rage toward people across the political spectrum.
But by the same token, it was entirely wrong of Weir, and reflective of his liberal bias, to associate Bedell exclusively with right-wing extremism and violence during Dem administrations.