Some Victims Are More Equal Than Others
CNS stories about a web site that wishes for the death of certain conservative leaders: 4. CNS stories about a man who has threatened to kill 42 abortion workers: 0.
By Terry Krepel
Ah, the power of selective outrage.
CNS spent a good part of the final week of November in high dudgeon over a web site, called usqueers.com, that wished a "horrible death" for people it describes as heterosexual supremacists.
In fact, CNS managed to grind four stories out of this: the first Nov. 26 on the site itself, the second the same day on "a prominent First Amendment lawyer" named John B.Thompson demanding an investigation; a third two days later on the erratic and criminal record of the site's creator, B. Allen Ross; and finally, on Nov. 29, a story on how Ross had succumbed to "intense public and legal scrutiny" and made "design changes" deleting the death wishes.
Compare this to CNS' coverage of Clayton Waagner, a militant anti-abortionist who has threatened to kill 42 abortion clinic workers:
Very little. There was a brief mention on its "News This Hour" that week (which CNS doesn't archive) that Attorney General John Ashcroft had identified Waagner as the person who had sent mailings containing white powder to abortion-related facilities across the country, creating anthrax scares. It was followed by a story tangentially about Waagner's arrest Dec. 5 on the anthrax-scare and other multiple charges; the headline trumpets the arrest, but most of the story is devoted to the new director of the U.S. Marshal Service, at whose swearing-in Ashcroft announced Waagner's arrest; Waagner's name isn't even mentioned until the second-to-last paragraph. And nothing at all about the death threats. (The CNN story about Waagner's arrest doesn't mention the death threats, either.)
Very curious. It gets even more curious when one looks at that second Nov. 26 story, which mentions the legal travails of a web site called the Nuremberg Files that catalogs names of abortion industry workers and crosses them out when one dies or is killed. The story notes that a $119 million legal judgment against a group linked to the site's operator, Neal Horsley, had been overturned by an appeals court.
"But there has been no final disposition in the Nuremberg Files case," writes CNS reporter Lawrence Morahan. "The entire federal circuit court of appeals has agreed to hear the case, so there has been no legal vindication of Horsley."
"Vindication" is an odd word to use in connection with what Horsley does, which is in the same neighborhood of what CNS has condemned in Ross' usqueers.com. Not only can't CNS quite get around to condemning Horsley, it published a rather positive article about Horsley back in February 1999, right after that $119 million judgment was awarded to Planned Parenthood of America. The only other mention of Horsley and his site on CNS is a June 27 story about a British "abortion advisor" who was added to the site.
The Nuremberg Files is part of a larger site operated by Horsley called Christian Gallery -- which currently happens to be the prime outlet for Clayton Waagner's threats and rantings (though Horsley claims he was "forced" to do it), and repository for the way the targeted victims (which Waagner won't identify) can get off the list: by providing clues to their identity that Waagner purportedly has and vowing to quit the industry.
CNS just doesn't seem as moved by the threatened demise of those whose jobs its management finds distateful as it does the conservative icons it idolizes.
And it does seem to be a companywide problem at Brent Bozell's empire. Over at CNS' sister organization, the Media Research Center, writer Brent Baker on Nov. 29 offers a rather tepid condemnation of militant anti-abortion tactics in the course of being offended that they've been compared to the acts of Sept. 11:
There’s no doubt a small number of radicals use intimidation tactics, and sometimes even murder, to achieve their ends, tactics which can be classified as terrorism. But to equate that with al Qaeda’s tactics as displayed on September 11 is ridiculous. There are at least two major differences. First, the anti-abortion terrorists are targeting specific individuals, not murdering everyone in a neighborhood around a clinic or thousands in a community because they elected a pro-abortion city councilor. Second, while the anti-abortionists are subverting the democratic process which has delivered a result with which they disagree, they are aiming to end a specific policy, not trying to destroy U.S. society and all the rights and freedoms it protects.
So militant, violent anti-abortionism is not quite as horrible because they kill with more pinpoint accuracy than flying an airliner into the World Trade Center, and they aren't looking to "destroy U.S. society," at least not the part Baker doesn't want destroyed. Some victims, it would appear, are more equal than others. Whatever.
And what would a controversy involving homosexuals be without Jerry Falwell weighing in? He does exactly that in his Dec. 1 WorldNetDaily column. He denounces Ross' site, as one would expect, and he mentions in a parenthetical aside that "Those of us in pro-life leadership had earlier rebuked those behind the Nuremberg Files."
Falwell also writes: "In this age of terrorism and violence, we certainly do not need a man with a history of violence spouting language that could prove to be dangerous even deadly simply because he disagrees with certain people's political and religious beliefs." Here's hoping he'll expend the same amount of energy he spent pounding on the easily poundable B. Allen Ross on the more deserving -- and, by all appearances, more dangerous -- Clayton Waagner.