Fear-mongering: bad for them, bad for us


[On September 19, 2004], GOP Senate candidate John Thune of South Dakota said of his opponent, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle: “His words embolden the enemy.”

<– snip –>

[In late 2001], Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said tactics used by critics of the USA Patriot Act “only aid terrorists” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”


“ [Jeremiah Wright’s] comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate…” Mr. Obama said.

Sorry, but this rhetorical fallacy was wrong for Thune and Ashcroft then, and is wrong for Obama now. He can – and should – distance Rev. Wright as he sees fit, but to engage in this brand of fear-mongering goes against the hope and positive outlook for which Obama’s campaign has stood thus far.

3 Responses to “Fear-mongering: bad for them, bad for us”

  1. John J. Says:

    In all fairness, Wright’s words recently have been divisive and actively are being used by hate mongerers. It isn’t fear mongering to say Faux News will use these words to inspire racially tinged fear and hatred when they already are doing so.

  2. Tom Ryberg Says:

    John, that’s a fair point that I had not frankly considered. I think I got turned off by the whole “…giving comfort to…” word choice, which reminded me of times I’ve been told that my opposition to the Iraq War amounts to “giving comfort to” the terrorists. Which is an unfortunate tactic.

  3. FranIAm Says:

    The language of our times demands some attention to words and how they are used. I agree with your thoughts about “giving comfort to…” and how it gets used.

    This whole thing is driving me crazy.

    First of all, what does this have to do with the real issues that face us today?

    And what about the hateful, hateful words of John Hagee, whose endorsement McCain sought out and has.

    That said, I do think it might be a good time for Wright to keep a low profile.

    However, as adults, we are all responsible for our own choices and I am not sure that Obama has made the wisest ones with his words.

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