Sympathy for those under siege: That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." [There's] No mail segment at the end of “The Factor” tonight because we're going to throw directly to the Vice Presidential Debate in Cleveland, but much of the mail last night echoed sentiments by Jason Balcom who lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
"Bill, if you had done to Senator Kerry what Rather did to President Bush, you'd be crushed by the press. Why are you sticking up for Rather? Nobody would stick up for you."
Well, that's most likely true, Jason. And I might not have sympathized with Mr. Rather a few years ago. So it is safe to say that I have changed a bit.
I do believe Dan Rather (search) and his team wanted the Bush documents to be true, so they did not check the story thoroughly enough, obviously. I also believe Mr. Rather should have sought out those who bamboozled him, rather than defend the situation.
And I have said all that. But I take no joy in Rather's pain. And even in Martha Stewart's — even though she's guilty and remains arrogant about it.
My outlook is somewhat personal. Every day I'm attacked, threatened, scorned, mocked by those who dislike us and even by some who appreciate the program. That goes with the territory. I'm not whining about it.
But I now know that constant criticism and threats can wear you out. Dan Rather's not getting away with anything. He's been held accountable in the court of public opinion. If we continue to punish the guy, it just seems to be over the top.
I understand why some of you don't like him. But consider the old saying — those you hate control you. Hate clouds the mind, suppresses joy. It makes life darker. I'm a justice kind of guy, not a hate kind of guy.
Both Mr. Rather and Ms. Stewart have received punishment. Now it's time to give them a break. Many of you are accusing me of going liberal or soft or just being dumb. That's not it at all. I'm just tired of the hateful media. I don't hate anybody, although I dislike some. If I feel sorry for those getting pounded, it's because I identify with them to some degree. As the Bible suggests, I'll leave the vengeance to the Lord.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
No "Ridiculous Item" on October 5.