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Letter to 60 Minutes Regarding their April 14, 1999 Story on Michael Bray
By Jen Roth
Reprinted with permission

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 00:47:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: Jen Roth [j-roth@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu]
To: 60II@cbsnews.com
Subject: Michael Bray

To the "60 Minutes" team:

I noticed that you left out some key details in your story on Michael Bray this evening. First, though you claim that he has a "significant" following, you neglect to give any idea of what constitutes "significant". One hundred followers? Ten thousand? One million? The true answer is almost certainly a few hundred at most, but it's impossible to tell from your story. I don't deny that Bray and his ilk are dangerous criminals, but it might help your viewers to get some perspective on the problem if they knew that the terrorists represent only the tiniest handful of abortion opponents in this country.

Second, Dan Rather missed a golden opportunity to confront Bray with the facts about who opposes him. Although Bray claims that his only detractors are "those who deny that these are really children being killed," the reality is that pro-life leaders across the country, with constituents totalling in the millions, have strongly condemned the use of violence to stop abortions. Shouldn't Bray have had to face that condemnation? Instead, he was able to give the false impression that he and his followers have the support of the entire pro-life community. This may well have the effect of emboldening the terrorists. Rather was simply irresponsible to omit any mention of pro-life opposition to Bray's tactics.

On the plus side, I confess that I enjoyed hearing Randall Terry, professional gadfly, call someone else "whacked". I would, however, have preferred seeing that time given to a more representative pro-life leader, such as Dr. Wanda Franz or Helen Alvare.

Finally, I found the following excerpt from your web site telling: "CBS News has learned that Bray is under surveillance by federal agents. He is at the hub of the network of anti-choice extremists who are advocating murdering providers." The latter sentence, of course, is a verbatim quote from abortion industry lobbyist Vicki Saporta -- she said this in the televised report. However, on the web site it is represented as CBS' view. Is CBS in the habit of appropriating the words (and agenda) of abortion advocates as their own?


Jennifer Roth
Urbana, IL

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