Tons of readers are e-mailing me about NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ comments tonight in which he apparently compared the Founding Fathers to modern-day terrorists. The remarks seem to pooh-pooh the story about Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s alleged involvement in the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Williams previewed his argument on his MSNBC blog:
Many Americans woke up to a curious story this morning: several of the former Iran Hostages have decided there is a strong resemblance between Iran’s new president and one of their captors more than 25 years ago. The White House and most official branches of government are ducking any substantive comment on this story, and photo analysis is going on at this and other news organizations. It is a story that will be at or near the top of our broadcast and certainly made for a robust debate in our afternoon editorial meeting, when several of us raised the point (I’ll leave it to others to decide germaneness) that several U.S. presidents were at minimum revolutionaries, and probably were considered terrorists of their time by the Crown in England.
According to news watchers, Williams repeated the argument in his broadcast banter tonight with NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Since I haven’t watched an NBC Nightly News broadcast in, oh, five years, I’m hoping someone grabbed video of it. (Update: MSNBC has the video here. Under “free video: Nightly News.” Click on “Iran’s incoming president a hostage-taker?” Go to 2:52 on the 3:21 clip. Hat tip: Wes Roth.)
According to this report, Williams told Mitchell:
“What would it all matter if proven true? Someone brought up today the first several U.S. presidents were certainly revolutionaries and might have been called ‘terrorists’ by the British crown, after all.”
In his blog post, it was “several of us” who came up with the morally equivalent notion. According to the above transcription, the “several” was reduced to a lone “someone” by air time. Who brought it up, Brian? Who? Do tell. Is it your own fabulously ill-informed thought? Or can you blame one or two or several low-level staffers?
Bloggers are already on the case, natch…
The Dread Pundit Bluto comments:
If anyone needed another example of the insanity of the liberal doctrine of moral and cultural equivalence, which came into fashion during the Cold War, this is it. It’s actually less offensive for Williams to imply that our Founding Fathers were terrorists than it is for him to put them on a par with the bloodthirs[t]y, unevolved barbarians who took over Iran in 1979.
Williams owes this country a sincere and abject apology.
Williams indulges in the same, tired moral equivalency that led Michael Moore to declare Zarqawi as the Iraqi version of the Minutemen from our war of independence. This minimizes the cruelty and inhumanity of the enemies of freedom that use civilians as their targets while trying to impose tyrannies far worse than anything George III could ever have dreamed in his most feverish illusions.
Media Lies: “That’s it. I’m done with NBC.”
I am quite the history buff and I have yet to see any type of mention where this happened or anything even remotely close. During the Revolutionary War, the British burned homes of settlers, executed traitors and ransacked the nation. We gave the British soldiers quarter for the most part and eventually shipped a large number of Red Coats back to England . . . alive. Never did American soldiers storm into buildings and take everyone inside hostage. Never!
I have a feeling Mr. Williams will be feeling a lot of heat in the next 24 hours. He’s already sparking some major pre-Fourth of July fireworks. For once, I’ll be interested in what he has to say. Stay tuned to his blog.
Instant Therapist spoofing…Declaration Of Independence Really A Glorified Ransom Note.
Dirty Harry adds, “”I’d like to add to the pile of facts being assembled by reminding Williams that John Adams, no doubt one of the “terrorists” he was talking about, successfully defended, in the face of fierce public opinion, British soldiers accused of firing into a crowd in what came to be known as The Boston Massacre…I’m unaware of any terrorist principled enough when it comes to the rule of law to defend his enemy. Successfully.”
Congrats, Brian, you’re ABP’s Buffoon of the Week!
J. Rob’s House of Opinion: Brian Williams, Valedictorian of the Jimmy Carter School of History
Literal Barrage: Alright, Who Put A Pallet Of Stupid In The Water Supply?
Good background on NBC’s historical illiteracy at the Media Research Center.
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