Full disclosure: I used to work for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, so I know firsthand how hostile some on the editorial staff can be, having had my award-winning column yanked from its pages because it was said that my "blunt" (conservative?) tone was "offensive" to some. Imagine my non-surprise when I saw the graphic (and story itself) used in the editorial board's piece attacking the Tea Party and activist Scott Boston, and carrying water for Senator Claire McCaskill in what is comedically known as "Bear Scare-Gate."
Here is the back story.
Here is the opening line of the Post's piece:
"Kill the Claire Bear" is not a campaign slogan. It's not a poor choice of words. It's not a metaphor.
It's a threat of violence. So when an overzealous supporter of U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman, a Republican, directed the threat toward U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, at a campaign rally this week, Ms. Steelman swiftly should have condemned it.
This is asinine. While I and scores of other Missouri grassroots may have loudly disapproved over the Tea Party Express's endorsement of Steelman, she deserves kudos (as does Rep. Todd Akin, one of her primary opponents, for smartly staying above the nontroversy's fray) for disagreeing with Boston's remarks while refusing to kowtow to the progressive overreaction to metaphorical speech cleared by the FBI.
That's what the Post doesn't tell you.
Instead, the Post was upset that Steelman's reaction wasn't strong enough. In other words, it wasn't as strong as the reaction of the McCaskill campaign, which apparently leaked the story about her security to the Post-Dispatch, then used the media to bully Steelman about it for several days thereafter. The Post apparently wanted Steelman to rip out Boston's endocrine system through his nostrils and post the punishment to Youtube. At least that's what they say:
She should have taken the microphone from St. Louisan Scott Boston, the man who spoke the threatening words in Springfield, Mo. She should have told him he'd crossed the line.
In 2008, Mr. McCain stood up for the citizenship and patriotism of his opponent, Democrat Barack Obama. Ms. Steelman should have stood up for her opponent's right to serve her country without the threat of violence being made against her.
The Post continues to falsely refer to Boston's speech as a "threat." Again, doesn't tell its readers that the FBI concluded no such threat was made, that this was a citizen speaking metaphorically, no matter how he chose his words -- words, by the way, for which he apologized. But the Post doesn't tell its readers that, either.
Another interesting tidbit: that's not how assessing threats works. You don't blow it up to the media before you've even had a chance to vet the threat -- any security firm will tell you that. I've worked with such companies and once required 24-7 security due to the threats against me and my family made by progressives. If the McCaskill camp was genuinely concerned for the Senator's safety, they would have assessed the threat and tried to bring Boston into custody instead of making his supposed "threat" a media firestorm. Instead, they apparently leaked it to the Post (Jake Wagman, bless him, already said he got the video from the DNC) and put on their shocked faces before the FBI even met with Boston. In fact, it was the media that told Boston the FBI was going to meet with him.
Does that sound like topnotch security assessment by the McCaskill camp to you?
If Boston made a threat, why isn't he in custody? Why aren't charges pending? Why, in fact, has it been reported in multiple outlets that the FBI cleared him? They cleared him because it's clear they found no legitimacy to the claims being made by the campaign or the Post. But the campaign and the Post are using it in an attempt to score political points:
Worse yet, when asked about it, she defended Mr. Boston and blamed the whole thing on the liberal media.
"I may disagree with the words Mr. Boston chose in his statement, but I understand his frustration and I emphatically support his right to express his views," Ms. Steelman said.
Here's what Ms. Steelman should have said at her rally or — if she didn't have the courage or presence of mind, immediately after her rally — "This type of rhetoric is unconscionable."
Interesting. When the Occupiers busted up police cars, tried to intimidate city employees by vandalizing their homes, vandalized historic monuments -- all in Sen. McCaskill's own backyard -- the Post's editorial board was silent. Silent still when Sen. McCaskill called this same movement "patriotic."
When Sen. McCaskill's staffer called tea partiers "brownshirts," the Post's editorial board was silent.
When Sen. McCaskill encouraged supporters to 'take up their pitchforks' against Republicans if they didn't do what she wanted, the Post's editorial board was silent.
Where is the Post's condemnation of such "rhetoric?"
The difference is that they support McCaskill. What she says is perfectly acceptable, because they agree with her ideology over the ideology of conservatives.
The Post finished:
In condoning violent rhetoric directed at her opponent, Ms. Steelman turned away from such values. She has shamed the proud political legacy of her family name.
This would mean something if the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wasn't a publication selling itself on the idea of objectivity and forth-rightness. Steelman didn't condone anything -- she simply refused to accept the media's double-standard where it concerns conservative and progressive speech. Political speech has always been heated. The difference is that one side has discovered that over-dramatic reactions to it is an easy way to change topics and sometimes score points. Steelman and Akin refused to play this game and the Post is angry.
That the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's editorial board wrote an entire piece perpetuating the falsehood that Boston made a "threat" without also reporting that no, the FBI deemed it wasn't a threat, is shameful. That the Post demonized conservative citizens in an editorial cartoon is offensive:
This has been the Post's opinion of conservative St. Louisans all along.
The public bullying of a private citizen all to score a political jab at one of three primary opponents is the true shame here. The Post has disgraced the proud legacy of its origins.