That is the basis for my latest column at Big Peace:
In 1995, the internet was still trying to get its sea legs; it was nowhere near the force it has become today in getting information to the public. On April 19th of that year, 168 people were killed in Oklahoma City and a man named Timothy McVeigh was largely responsible. Then president Bill Clinton resurrected his presidency by painting McVeigh as a right wing extremist.You're urged and encouraged to post comments at Big Peace.
Imagine if the internet of today had been available then. Would Clinton have been able to pull off such a despicable smear campaign? Not likely.
The image of McVeigh portrayed by the White House was one of an angry white Christian made even angrier by his time in the Gulf War. The narrative was difficult to refute because so much information about him was unavailable. Much of what would have been learned about McVeigh a few short hours after the bombing wasn’t actually learned until his authorized biography was released in 2002 – things like the fact McVeigh was agnostic and said “science is my religion,” which would actually align him more closely with the man-made climate change crowd or Nazis than with Christians.
In the hours after the shooting rampage in Tucson, AZ that saw the near death of a U.S. Congresswoman and the actual death of a Federal Judge, available to the public was an extensive profile of the gunman, Jared Loughner. For example, his YouTube page identified a video of an American flag burning as his favorite; also featured were his writings, which exhibited contempt for the U.S. Constitution, the Christian Bible, and God. He also listed the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf as two of his favorite books.
What would Timothy McVeigh’s YouTube, MySpace, and facebook pages look like?
In light of what we now know about McVeigh, he likely would have been open to showing a video of the burning of an American flag. Perhaps he would have posted incoherent rants about not being able to trust in God. Among his favorite books, he likely would have listed the Neo-Nazi novel, the Turner Diaries. Perhaps he would have explained his rationale for not believing in God or for the contempt he had for the U.S. Military for handing him a Bible as a recruit.
We can speculate on such things because McVeigh and Jared Loughner seem to share similar beliefs and we should have no compunction about comparing the two.
However, as the strategists of Obama’s party demonstrate an eagerness to portray Loughner as the Clinton administration portrayed McVeigh, they’re indifferent to how informed Americans are about the similarities that exist between Loughner and McVeigh. Those similarities say more about the left in America than they do about those they attempt to demonize by any means necessary.
The 1995 Clinton playbook is doomed to fail in a facebook world.
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