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Op-Ed: Kruger's largely ignored "Cheney final end" comment worse than Nugent quip

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What do rock legend Ted Nugent and State Representative Chuck Kruger have in common?

Kruger would probably hope the answer is that they are both gifted musicians. “Kruger’s got a sweet, cool, breezy vocal manner,” a Boston Herald article said in 1979. They even compared him to James Taylor.

But that musical connection isn’t the one you’ll find tying the two together today. Instead, they have each gained national attention for comments they made about the president (Nugent) and the former vice-president (Kruger).

Kruger said on his twitter feed, for the entire world to see, “Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams.”

The statement was very clear, without a great deal of interpretation needed. It’s well known that the former dictator of Iraq died by execution. Kruger’s comment clearly stated that he hoped the former vice-president would meet the same end. Kruger later offered a tepid apology, saying, “this was a particularly poor attempt [at humor].”

Maybe Ted Nugent was trying to be funny too when he told a group that if President Obama was elected again, that this time next year he would, “either be dead or in jail.”

Nugent’s statement certainly raises some eyebrows, some Secret Service eyebrows at that, but still, there is no question that Kruger’s statement is more strongly suggestive than Nugent’s. “Cheney deserves same final end as he gave Saadam,” doesn’t leave much room for interpretation.

It looks like the Maine media doesn’t see it that way.

Despite coverage of the Kruger comment by national media outlets including the Drudge Report, the Daily Caller and the Washington Examiner, Maine’s media has remained almost completely silent on the issue.

More than 100,000 people from across America read the story on Kruger’s comment in just 24 hours, but Maine’s media decided it wasn’t worth covering.

Maine Public Broadcasting eventually stepped in to cover the story, and wrote a factually inaccurate story that tried to paint Kruger as the victim, since he was getting, “hundreds of [phone] calls that were unpleasant…”

To date, no other Maine media outlet has covered the Kruger flap.

In sharp contrast to the complete muteness on the Kruger comment, the Bangor Daily News was eager and willing to run the story on Nugent, re-publishing a Washington Post article regarding Nugent’s statement at 5am the day after the story broke.

The Maine Today Media papers, the very same day that the Kruger story broke, ran a piece about Congresswoman Pingree (you know, the wife of the guy that owns the paper?) and her response to being called a “communist” by another member of Congress. The article noted that she said name-calling does “nothing to help members of Congress bridge their differences.”

What about an elected official publicly stating they hope someone dies by execution? Does that help members “bridge their differences?”

Pingree has been very vocal in other cases of questionable messaging involving violence. In the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, Pingree called for the word “killing” to be removed from the Republican sponsored “Repeal the Job Killing Health Care Law Act.” She even wrote a letter to the Huffington Post to promote her idea.

No word yet from Pingree’s camp, or her husband’s newspaper, denouncing Kruger’s comment.

Diane Russell, one of Kruger’s fellow democrat representatives in the Maine legislature, also has had strong words about civil discourse.  “The language has become vitriolic and dehumanizing. Rhetoric like cross-hairs, targets, taking up arms, the Second Amendment, these are all calls to revolutionary action,” Russell told the Portland Daily Sun.

No word yet from Russell, or the democrats in Maine’s legislature, whether “Cheney deserves the same final end as he gave Saadam” is the kind of vitriolic language they have spoken out against in the past.

What’s even stranger about the silence regarding Representative Kruger’s comment is that Republicans are mum on the issue as well. The Republican Party put out a statement rightly condemning the remarks and demanding Kruger resign. But no word yet from Republicans in the legislature.

It wasn’t that long ago that Governor Paul LePage, in the context of a discussion about federal funding flowing into Maine, said he would tell President Obama to “go to hell.” You remember that right?

Of course you do. There were stories written about that for weeks on end, as breathless journalist from Maine’s media scurried about trying to find the next angle on that “story.”

But, no word yet from Maine’s media on Kruger’s comment. “Cheney deserves the same final as end he gave Saadam.”

At the very least, Kruger deserves the same final coverage they gave Ted Nugent.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently producer for the Howie Carr Show. Follow him on Twitter @Stevie_Rob or send him an email at Steve@HowieCarrShow.com.

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