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Often, the Secret Service is only alerted to a possible threat by reports in the media. I contend that the media is aggressively reporting on, highlighting and pursuing any and all possible threats to President Obama — and even hints of threats — but they purposely glossed over, ignored or failed to report similar threats to President Bush. I believe it is part of an ideological bias: most mainstream networks and newspapers tried their best during the Bush administration to portray the anti-war movement as mainstream and moderate; whereas now they are trying to portray the anti-tax and anti-health-care-bill protesters as extremists and as fringe kooks.To achieve these goals, they essentially suppressed any mentions of the violent signage (including threats to Bush) at anti-war rallies, but have highlighted anything that could even conceivably be construed as a threat at anti-Obama events.Before we can have a rational discussion on this topic, we need to have a shared factual basis. If you truly, truly cared about presidents’ lives being threatened, you would be just as incensed by people threatening Bush’s life at protests as you are about (the far less frequent instances of) Obama’s life being threatened at protests.Were any people ever arrested or questioned for threatening to kill Bush during his term in office? Every president is the target of numerous threats, and many of them do get investigated.The most famous case was that of Brett Bursey, who was arrested in 2002 outside a Bush speech.
Part of that reported increase in investigated threats is undoubtedly due to an increase in actual threats; but part of it is almost certainly due to an increase in threats and are therefore brought to the Secret Service’s attention.Examples include: - A man who in 2008 made verbal threats towards Bush at the White House fence where he left a suspicious package; - A student who was quoted in a 2007 school publication as saying, “I would like to shoot George W.Bush, because in my opinion he is the worst president ever.The reason: Because the media intentionally failed to report on them.Which is why both the average American and the Secret Service never became aware of many of these protest threats.
(This is similar to the famous paradox about rape awareness programs.