On December 23, former CIA official and Fox regular Michael Scheuer wrote a column on his Non-Intervention.com website endorsing the assassinations of President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. On January 2, Scheuer showed up on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business Network program where he said Hillary Clinton "has blood on her arms up to her elbows for not being willing to protect the people who are representing us in Libya" and had therefore "killed those Americans" who died in Benghazi. Dobbs failed to ask Scheuer about his assassination endorsement.
It's hard to imagine that Scheuer's assassination column would not be running on a continuous news loop in Murdoch media and elsewhere, had his remarks targeted a conservative or perceived Murdoch ally. But Scheuer's comments would have gone unnoticed but for a January 3 Daily Beast column by David Frum, who wrote:
Scheuer's career reached its terminal nadir last week, when he published a column endorsing an assassination of President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron. In the modern media environment, it’s pretty hard to go too far. Advocacy of murder, however, does cross one of the last remaining lines.
Unfortunately, advocating and fantasizing about the murder of perceived enemies of the Fox worldview is a line that has been crossed all too commonly in Murdoch-owned media outlets, as we wrote about in "Fox News: The No. 1 Name in Murder Fantasies" (FAIR Blog, 11/10/10). Scheuer had previously gone too far on Fox when he called on Al-Qaeda to attack America: "The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States," he told Fox's Glenn Beck (FAIR Blog, 7/2/09).
In the column endorsing the assassinations, Scheuer set up his case by dismissing the idea of peacefully changing the government:
That Eric Holder and Barack Obama have not been impeached…suggests that the impeachment provisions of the Constitution are a dead letter; that they apply only to individuals named Nixon; or that they do not apply to black Americans supported by such towering giants of fatuousness as Oprah, Chris Matthews, Fareed Zakaria, Piers Morgan and Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and their band of American-killing Viragos.
Scheuer wrote that Obama as well as Cameron "will protect the growing power and durability of our Islamist enemies, while undermining the constitutional structure, the rule of law and the civil liberties which, since England's Glorious Revolution (1688-89), Anglo-Americans have built and defended against the despotic drift of their rulers with argument, protest, and–if at last needed–violence."
To underline that last ominous point, Scheuer quoted at length from Algernon Sidney, "the great 17th century English republican…a man who was revered on both sides of the Atlantic." Among Sidney's points Scheuer called to Obama and Cameron's attention:
- "There must therefore be a right of proceeding judicially or extra-judicially against all persons who transgress the laws."
- "By an established law among the most virtuous nations, every man might kill a tyrant; and no names are recorded in history with more honor, than of those who did it."
- "They [the people] know how to preserve their liberty, or to vindicate the violation of it; and the more patient they have been, the more inflexible they are when they resolve to be so no longer. Those who are so foolish to put them upon such courses, do to their cost find that there is a difference between lions and asses; and he is a fool who knows not that swords were given to men, that none might be slaves."
In his column about Scheuer's murderous call, Frum asserts, "I don't expect we will be hearing much more in future from the former CBS News analyst, bestselling author and CIA officer."
Frum may be overestimating US media–particularly Fox News.