At the Corner, Steve Hayward describes this week’s conspiracy of the century:

Although I haven’t seen this anywhere yet (not that I’m looking especially hard), I’m sure there’s a right-winger or disappointed birther out there somewhere who thinks we’ve known about bin Laden’s whereabouts all along, and that President Obama wanted to knock him off in the fall of next year as the ultimate October Surprise, but had to move up the timetable because of WikiLeaks, or a crease in Hillary’s pantsuit, or something. Although the White House isn’t helping itself very much with its serial fumbles in the aftermath, I hope this particular conspiracy doesn’t catch on.

As Hayward adds, “I do recall that there were a lot of folks on the left who believed this about President Bush in 2004. What Christopher Hitchens wrote about the matter then applies now (with “Axelrod” swapped out for “Rove”):”

What will it take to convince these people that this is not a year, or a time, to be dicking around? Americans are patrolling a front line in Afghanistan, where it would be impossible with 10 times the troop strength to protect all potential voters on Oct. 9 [the date of Afghan elections in 2004] from Taliban/al-Qaida murder and sabotage. We are invited to believe that these hard-pressed soldiers of ours take time off to keep Osama Bin Laden in a secret cave, ready to uncork him when they get a call from Karl Rove? For shame.

And that conspiracy was pushed by some rather prominent media figures. Recall this infamous moment on CNN in the days before the 2004 presidential election involving Larry King and Walter Cronkite, a few years before the latter passed away, and the former retired from his chat show.  For shame indeed:

KING: Walter Cronkite, the legendary journalist and old friend, a great man in the history of broadcast journalists, and maybe the most revered person ever to go on camera. Let’s first play a little bit of this tape, in which bin Laden, released today, directly addresses the American people. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSAMA BIN LADEN (through translator): Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: OK, Walter. What do you make of this?

CRONKITE: Well, I make it out to be initially the reaction that it’s a threat to us, that unless we make peace with him, in a sense, we can expect further attacks. He did not say that precisely, but it sounds like that when he says…

KING: The warning.

CRONKITE: What we just heard. So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I’m a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.

[Video online here — Ed]

Plus ça change: Greg Pollowitz responds to Hayward, “Your right-winger/birther with the theory that we’ve know bin Laden’s whereabouts all along is named Michael Moore.” As Pollowitz noted, Moore was on CNN last night with Piers Morgan, King’s successor, to babble on about what the Rhetorican dubs “Fahrenheit 2011.”

(Incidentally, since Ed Morrissey will be back later today or tomorrow, a big thank you to Ed and Allah for asking me to join the estimable group of bloggers sitting in for Capt. Ed, including Jazz Shaw, who also provided invaluable behind the scenes work, making our posts run on time. And a big thanks to all of you for your kind comments — see you back on my home turf back at Pajamas Media at Ed Driscoll.com.)