Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Responding to the Media created stereotype

One's expectation of the typical media generated response to pro-life reaction to the untimely death of notorious abortionist George Tiller reflects an awareness of the decades long manipulation by the various players of the tragic national crisis called abortion. The dance follows these steps. Event involving injury or death or property damage to abortionist, abortion worker or abortion property takers place. Pro-lifers condemn the event. Pro-choicers blame pro-lifers for using inflammatory rhetoric to incite individual whacko or in polite terms morally confused person. Media joins the pro-choice chorus and runs multiple articles about the event permanently harming the pro-life movement. Certain pro-life groups will castigate the media for its continuing (read 36-year bias). The parties return to their corners for the bell, wait for the next round and the fight continues.

The cynics will point to those who exploit the "base" of either camp and then attempt to claim a certain objectivity even as they smear the pro-life side with their perceived impartial analysis.

I have seen this dance so many times over the last 34 years that I could call out the steps.

But I must credit Thomas Frank's column "Red State Story" in his Titling Yard column in Wall Street Journal for being as smooth a hatchet job as I have seen in years.

Seeing it in the WSJ is no surprise. The reporters on any abortion story have a built in bias against the pro-life side. A line by line analysis here is not warranted but suffice it to say that the lack of balance in reminding readers of the number of women who have died or been injured in Tiller's "clinic" is just one example of selective reporting. Another is the actual amount of money Tiller gave to political figures in Kansas to protect him from the long arm of the law. But I digress.

Thomas Frank begins his piece by attacking Phill Kline, the one time attorney general who sought to bring Tiller to court to account for the allegations of wrongdoing. Tiller's success in stopping Kline ironically kept him in business thus allowing him to be a continuing target for the morally confused and relativistic mentalities such as Scott Roeder. Frank does not know what Kline has been through in his efforts to follow the rule of law. He does not know about the personal lawsuits filed against him by the abortion industry and the economic impact of such litigation on a person and his family. Frank does not seem to care that the allegations of Tiller's influence all the way up to the Governor's office are supported by the hundreds of thousands of dollars in political campaign contributions. No, Phill Kline is a convenient punching bag for the media.

Frank then claims that those who use the tough rhetoric really do not believe it; otherwise they would support the violent actions of individuals such as Roeder. Thomas forgets one important ingredient found in the logic of consistency and in a philosophy that respects the rule of law. One does not take the law into one's own hands. One who believes in the sanctity of human life understands that there are "rules" by which a people live. These rules are what separate one from the terrorist or the vigilante or the IRA bomber in London.

Rational pro-lifers who adhere to moral principles invoke these time-honored rules of engagement. So it is not inconsistent to accurately describe the horror of killing children, still demand the law be followed and refuse to usurp the rule of law in bringing these matters to justice. Indeed the number of people actively involved in pro-life activities over the last 35 years is living proof to the non-violent nature of the movement. Compared with the violence during the labor and civil rights movements, there should be no complaints about the rare and random acts of violence that have occurred at the hands of morally confused or deranged people. Further it is interesting that most pro-life leaders will not bring up in their statements the violence directed toward pro-life activists, women seeking abortions, or others. The silent treatment in the media regarding women injured, sexually abused or killed by abortionists is a fact. But Mr. Frank conveniently ignores this little wrinkle.

Finally Frank wants his readers to believe that pro-lifers imagine "themselves as modern-day John Browns." Actually nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps some consider themselves modern day Harriet Tubmans, others Frederick Douglas. But most see themselves as the little farmhouse that was part of the Underground Railroad. Pro-lifers just want to help where they can and when they can. They will volunteer at local pregnancy centers. They will pray in front of the mills. They will write their congressman and protest government actions, which promote abortion. But they do not take to violence and it is not because deep down they do not really believe in their rhetoric. It is because for the most part they believe in the rule of law and the need to adhere to a higher law which is the foundation of our laws. This is the law that the Supreme Court, the current Congress and the current president pretend does not exist. The natural law requires everyone respect the right to life of every person and the corollary, that only those with legitimate moral standing have the right to impose sanctions for violating the law.

Thomas Frank would benefit by talking to those of us who have been involved for years in making a positive difference while never compromising on the reality that abortion is a violent action that harms mother, father, baby and culture. For us on the front lines, the work to save lives, to end the killing, to correct the law will continue until we have prevailed to restore the right to life and the protection of law to all persons, born and unborn.


At 11:20 PM, Anonymous John K. Walker said...


It is admirable that you called the Wall Street Journal to task for this slanderous, lazy, and typically pro-abortion "report." In particular, it reveals one of the (many) reasons that the national right-to-life political movement (such as it is) has made so little substantial progress since 1976, when the Hyde Amemdment first passed (including forcing a reluctant President Gerald Ford to sign it): the ludicrous reliance on supposedly "conservative" (meaning, for the last 20 - 30 years, "Republican") elements.

To state the obvious, nothing represented by the sort of criminal Wall Street greed that has hurt so many people in the last year is likely to lead anyone to any sort of "pro-life" position. (Just read Dr. Nathanson's accounts of the commercial competition among the "doctors" at his high-volume 1970's abortion clinic to get an idea of their similar mercenary motives.) Nonetheless, since the Reagan era, the DC "leadership" has always given a pass to these politicians just because of their connections and/or empty rhetoric. For example, John Cornyn of Texas is now pulling the same crap that Elizabeth Dole did as Republican Senate casmpaign chair in supporting "pro-choice" Republicans over genuinely pro-life challengers, even though the national Republican platform still calls for the passage and ratification of the Human Life Amendment!

Sorry, but there are simple arithmetic reasons that this approach has not, and never will, permit alteration of the unacceptable status quo. For that matter, in the 2003 book BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD, Rep. Christopher Smith (one of the few genuinely pro-life stalwarts in Congress) admitted that the Republican Party had not "done enough" for the cause, and pleaded against any sort of rebellion or third party effort. But predictably, nothing changed in the interim (and of course, the window eventually ran out with the 2006 and 2008 election results).

The NRLC certainly DOES deserve great credit for preserving the Hyde Amendment in 1993, the first year of the Clinton administration, and for passing the federal partial-birth ban (which Clinton originally vetoed, but Bush eventually signed into law, and that then withstood the abortionists' court challenge once Sandra Day O'Connor retired). But their continuing tolerance (for seemingly "social" reasons) of this nonsense speaks volumes about why the "movement" never gets anywhere.

Of course, there are sound reasons to oppose the legal extirmination of pre-birth children within a conservative, a liberal, a libertarian, a populist, or a purely humanitarian ideology. So, maybe one of these decades there will be an effective, broad-based right-to-life movement....

At 12:57 AM, Anonymous John K. Walker said...


A continuing, instructive adjunct to the media’s predictable coverage of this crime involves the battle between Bill O’Reilly (who, everyone please understand, is on record as not even favoring the reversal of the constitutionally ludicrous Roe/Doe/Casey abortion-on-demand regime) deliberately turning up the heat against the mainstream media over his being one of those just so accused of complicity in Tiller’s murder by having frequently used (but not having coined himself) the late abortionist’s nickname “Tiller the baby killer.” As much as any genuine pro-lifer (which O’Reilly himself is not) should sincerely appreciate the Fox News icon’s giving no quarter to the usual suspects in the MSM over the gruesome nature of third-trimester abortion, and even properly couching his arguments in “human rights” terms, Mr. O’Reilly is grossly mistaken that somehow it is only the lateness of term of the pregnancy (and therefore the size, development, and most of all the appearance of the exterminated baby) that somehow made Tiller (and the often-claimed mere handful of other late-term abortionists, though I am very skeptical about this alleged “rarity”) guilty of de facto homicide but for the protection of the courts and politicians, while then (whether deliberately or not) leaving first- and second-trimester abortionists as benefactors of women with unwanted offspring and of humanity in general. Besides his factually erroneous claim that Tiller’s activities had “nothing to do with Roe v. Wade” (it was actually sanctioned by Doe v. Bolton and by the Kansas government’s corruption and the citizenry’s moral indifference, as you cite), this shallow reasoning really would lead to the conclusion that killing a one-year old baby is more permissible than killing a 10-year old, or to some other such nonsensical conclusion based on eugenics.

Needless to say, no one is morally or legally responsible for the criminal behavior of anyone else, and of course you know firsthand of whence you speak as to the personal sacrifice and financial hardship that public leaders (such as yourself and Phill Kline) have been illegally forced to endure for this human rights cause (for which, if I may presume to speak for the rest of us, you deserve limitless admiration). So maybe it is marginally and transitorily beneficial to have someone with the reach and deep resources of Bill O’Reilly to join this public debate. But until and unless the entire right-to-life “movement” ever settles on the one simple, scientifically indisputable, and morally irrefutable argument (which differentiating the more obviously “bloody” actions of late-term abortionists from the equally lethal ones of the rest of the abortion industry certainly does NOT do), just the sort of media circus you mentioned will always work in the other side’s favor as a distraction, permitting the perpetual “personal liberties” and “quality of life” arguments, back-and-forth.

In other words, “as long as there is confusion, they win.”


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