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Over the last few days, I have watched with concern as prominent media personalities and political pundits like Chris Matthews have engaged in reckless rhetoric comparing critics of the Bush Administration to the world's most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.  This isn't just offensive, it's absurd-- and harmful to our nation.

I share your outrage about the insulting comparison between Democrats and the man who is actively pursuing America's annihilation.  I urge you to keep up your public pressure on MSNBC so that it gets the message that these reckless comparisons to Bin Laden made by its commentators don't have any place in our political discourse.

No matter what their personal political beliefs may be, all Americans are united in their desire to bring a barbaric terrorist who struck America on September 11th, 2001 to justice. And though we may not always agree on the tactics used, we must stand together in our commitment to protect this nation and it's citizens from harm.

On November 1, 2005, Chris Matthews accused Democrats of "perhaps exploiting" the tragic deaths of our brave men and women serving in Iraq (Hardball, 11/1/05).  To suggest that the deaths of our service men and women could be used for political gain cheapens their sacrifice and trivializes the debate on one of the most important policy issues facing our nation.  I might be able to chock this up to a callus slip of the tongue if it weren't for the fact that these irresponsible comments are becoming a pattern for Mr. Matthews and other hosts on his network.

Since May 18, 2005, Chris Matthews has made statement after statement to do the Administration’s bidding

And last week, in one day, three different MSNBC hosts compared those who dare to question the Administration to America's most hated terrorist.  Mr. Matthews latest affront to responsible journalism took the form of comparing war critics to Osama bin Laden (Hardball, 1/19/06).  Perpetuating this offensive trend, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough piled on, "If you look at a lot of the things that Osama bin Laden said, it sounds like an awful lot like what we hear from a lot of the president`s political enemies domestically." (Scarborough Country, 1/19/06).  Tucker Carlson said, "Coming up, on THE SITUATION, we`ll listen to more of that chilling Osama bin Laden tape.  I`ll tell you why bin Laden is starting to sound a lot like Howard Dean." (The Situation with Tucker Carlson, 1/19/05).

Comparisons between Americans and Osama bin Laden have no place in our national discourse.  This rhetoric is pointlessly divisive and serves only to distract us from our most pressing priority: the capture of Osama bin Laden and the destruction of his terrorist organization.

If some Americans support alternative strategies in achieving victory in our war on terror, we ought to have an open debate to ensure that Congress and this Administration take the best course of action. Having real debates about our national security efforts at home and abroad will keep the pressure on our leaders to do what is right for the nation and the world.

The role of America's media is to inform citizens of the actions the government is taking to keep them safe and protect them from future terrorist attacks.  Our newspapers, radio, and television programs are supposed to help sort fact from fiction and present a neutral account of domestic and international policy.  Americans trust that their news sources will provide them with unbiased news, which will enable them to form their own judgments on the actions of national leaders.  Our media has no business proselytizing its own narrow political agenda on the public's airwaves.

Again, I mentioned above, I share your outrage about the insulting comparison between Democrats and the man who is actively pursuing America's annihilation.  Keep up your public pressure on MSNBC the public pressure on MSNBC so that it gets the message that these reckless comparisons to Bin Laden made by its commentators don't have any place in our political discourse.  We must remind them that our enemy is Osama bin Laden, not the diverse views of the American people.  We are united in our desire to rid the world of evil terrorists, and our will is stronger than opportunists who would divide us for political gain.

Thank y'all again for making me feel so welcome to your community. -LMS

Originally posted to Rep Louise Slaughter on Tue Jan 24, 2006 at 04:07 PM PST.

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