Barton: Good Cause, Awful Rhetoric

Arguing against a delay of the transition to digital television, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) argued that spectrum destined for public safety uses would be held up. Well and good. But he did so this way:

Osama bin Laden isn’t fictional, and he isn’t waiting. That should be reason enough to go full speed ahead with the DTV transition.

People around the world read and discuss what U.S. leaders say about terrorists. By invoking the specter of bin Laden, Barton has given free publicity to a leading terrorist among people who might join him or any group loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda. If they want to be a part of something powerful, Representative Barton has signaled to them what they should do.

The digital television transition should go forward, but exalting terrorists is not the way to argue for that.