Last night Bill O'Reilly announced he was doing an admirable thing -- covering the legal expenses of Fred Phelps victim Albert Snyder -- and in doing so, seemed to express an admirable sentiment: hate talk is a bad thing, and all sides should eschew it.
Except, of course, by Bill's lights, the flow of hate is equal on both sides:
There is far too much hatred in America. That's obvious. It comes from both sides. The Michigan militia and the Westboro Baptist Church are far-right nuts, but there are just as many far-left idiots doing vile things.
Thirty-eight-year-old Norman Leboon has been charged with threatening to kill Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. Apparently Leboon wants to kill Cantor and his family and is now being held without bail. It looks like this guy is simply nuts. Ideology might not be in play.
However, a brick was thrown through the window of the Michigan Republican Party headquarters on Monday. Obviously that's political.
The point is that the situation in America is reaching critical mass. There is far too much hatred in the air.
The press is obviously pumping up inappropriate things that happen on the right and pretty much ignoring hateful things on the left. Bernie Goldberg and I established that on Monday.
But every member of the media should condemn all hate speech and violent activity. It is simply un-American.
Then O'Reilly had Laura Ingraham come on to point out that yeah, those left-wingers can be every bit as nasty as the right-wingers.
Tell you what, Bill and Laura. Come and talk to us again about how nasty and wrong hateful talk from the left is when:
-- A liberal walks into a church and opens fire on the congregation because they're all a bunch of conservatives and he wants to kill as many right-wingers as he can.
-- A liberal walks into another church and shoots a doctor in the head.
-- A liberal shoots three police officers who come to his door because he fears the president is going to take his guns away.
-- A liberal walks into the Holocaust Museum and shoots a guard because he hates Jews and believes it's time to start a race war.
-- A liberal walks into the Pentagon and opens fire because he believes the government is plotting against its citizens.
-- A pack of gun-loving liberals forms a plot to kill law-enforcement officers and start a revolution.
See, that isn't happening. But it is happening with characters from the right, opening fire on various perceived "liberal" targets, law enforcement officers, and government employees. (In order, they've happened in Knoxville, in Wichita, in Pittsburgh, in Washington, twice, and this past weekend in the Midwest.)
No doubt there are some liberals who use ugly and sometimes even violent rhetoric. But there's a big difference between what's actually happening on the ground in terms of the behavior of right-wingers and left-wingers when it comes to acting on the rhetoric: The fanatics on the right are decidedly more violent, and act out violently with much greater frequency.
Why is that? Well, there are two big differences between left-wing and right-wing hate talk, one qualitative, the other quantitative:
-- Right-wing talk is decidedly more violent and openly eliminationist -- which is to say, it speaks more openly about eliminating entire blocs of their fellow Americans, and it does so by harkening to violent themes with much greater frequency.
-- The sheer volume of right-wing hate talk is so much greater. Not only are there more examples, by an exponential factor, of right-wing hatefulness, but the talk is emanating from the upper reaches of the right-wing hierarchy: on TV and radio talk shows with hosts who spew eliminationist hatred daily to audiences of millions daily, and among politicians who represent the supposed mainstream of officialdom, and thus lend their imprimatur to such behavior.
The talk shows, in particular, are a real problem. Especially when you have hosts who repeatedly call someone a "baby killer" day in and day out.
Now that's hate talk. But of course, Bill O'Reilly will never admit to that.