Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas on Thursday played up the threats and intimidation that Bart Stupak has suffered since he voted for the health care bill. However, last week, the same program ignored the "living hell" the Congressman dealt with as he claimed to oppose the legislation.
Thomas played a voice mail released by Stupak where an anonymous caller attacked, "Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother [bleeped]. I hope you die." However, when George Stephanopoulos talked to Stupak on March 19, he skipped the Representative's complaints to The Hill that "All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats."
Are threats only notable when they can potentially be linked to those on the right? Before the vote, Stupak repeatedly stated he was leaning towards voting against the legislation. But, Stephanopoulos' questions all revolved around what it would take to get the Representative to vote yes. There were no questions about possible violence.
Stupak also appeared on the March 4 GMA. And although this was before the Democrat publicly complained about threats, Stephanopoulos certainly didn't ask the possibility.
Yet, on Thursday, Thomas had no trouble in highlighting intimidating tactics towards the politician: "And letters sent to Stupak were just as ugly. In one letter, there's a drawing of a hanging noose with Stupak's name at the bottom of the gallows. At the bottom, it reads, 'All baby killers come to unseemly ends, either by the hand of man or by the hand of God.'"
A transcript of the March 25 segment, which aired at 7:05am EDT, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Clearly, that debate is not over, as we heard from Jon. And some members of Congress are being provided additional security after receiving death threats. Pierre Thomas has been investigating these threats and joins us with the latest from FBI headquarters. Good morning, Pierre.
PIERRE THOMAS: Hi, Robin. That health care debate has been ugly. And this morning, the FBI is trying to figure out if angry words could ignite violence.
VOICE MAIL #1: Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother [bleeped]. I hope you die.
VOICE MAIL #2: There are millions of people across the country who wish you ill. And all of those thoughts projected on you will materialize into something that's not very good for you.
THOMAS: These threats were for Congressman Bart Stupak, who along with along with six other peers, provided critically-needed votes to pass health care reform. And letters sent to Stupak were just as ugly. In one letter, there's a drawing of a hanging noose with Stupak's name at the bottom of the gallows. At the bottom, it reads, "All baby killers come to unseemly ends, either by the hand of man or by the hand of God."
REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER: I think it's a dreadful thing that we're going through.
THOMAS: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter says someone threw a brick into her offices and sent a threatening message mentioning snipers.
SLAUGHTER: The blog that we read was devastating. Basically, shape up or we're going to have a civil war. It's going to be your fault.
THOMAS: And vandals in Virginia got a wrong address, and cut a propane gas line at the house of this Congressman's brother. More than ten Democratic House members are receiving stepped-up security.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD, Majority Leader): We've had very serious incidences that have occurred over the last 48, 72 hours.
THOMAS: Law enforcement officials say some of these threats may be empty, with people simply blowing off steam. Still, all threats must be run down.
BRAD GARRETT (former FBI agent): You don't know what people are capable of doing until you investigate them.
THOMAS: Another congressman facing threats talked about the affect on his family.
REP. STEVE DRIEHAUS (D-OH): I take it very seriously. I have three, little kids. I now have a police officer sitting in front of my house.
THOMAS: Driehaus believes a toxic political environment is a catalyst for ugliness. He called inexcusable a quote attributed to House Minority Leader John Boehner, warming that Driehaus, politically, might be a dead man if he voted for health care reform. Boehner, who said his statement should not be taken literally, Wednesday, was denouncing actual threats against Congress.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER: Violence and threats are unacceptable. It's not the American way.
THOMAS: The fears that all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge. Bill?