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Topic: Pro-Life, My Associated Press
Date: October 26, 1998

By Mike Brown

Copyright © 1998 Mike Brown
Reprinted here with permission from the author

I am pro-life. Many of the people I know in the real world are pro-life. Almost all of the people I know online are pro-life. I visit a great many pro-life websites, read a lot of pro-life news, see a lot of pro-life press releases. In short: I am fairly well versed in the world of a pro-life person.

Yet, since Saturday and the announcement of the killing of Dr Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo, NY abortion provider, I have yet to read anything from any national pro-life person or organization applauding the doctor's demise. I'm not disappointed - the sister story to this one will prove that - but having read so many news stories, I'm surprised.

With only minor changes in sentence structure, almost every story on the internet related to this event, and hosted on a news source, derives from the original work done by Carolyn Thompson of the Associated Press, or "AP". AP seems to have done the leg work for many other news services, and because the story is repeated over and over, with little in the way of alterations, the message is rapidly being spread that pro-lifers are murderers.

On MSNBC's site, there is a link to a clickable image map of all of the violence perpetrated against abortion clinics. On ABCNews, and FOX News there are similar stories, without the added drama of the image map. And CNN Interactive, which cites as it's reporter a member of Reuters, has virtually identical reports to the other services, as does the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Mercury News Wire.

Except for the head of the group, Operation Rescue (which hardly speaks for pro-life as a whole), there are no quotes from any sensible pro-life advocates. All you see, end-to-end, are quotes from Rev. Donald Spitz - an insane idiot who advocates this sort of action against abortion providers - and links to websites which share his thankfully uncommon view of murder, like the Christian Gallery. CNN did double-duty in the "unbalanced" department by interviewing the Rev Spitz this morning - as a spokesman of the pro-life movement.

Donald Spitz .... okay, now for a change of tone, and direction.

As I've been writing this piece, I have wandered around the internet, reading pro-life sites, and witnessing first hand the  psychopaths with whom I sadly share oxygen. I am not naive, but until this morning, I didn't take the time to visit these websites, and to read these idiotic manifestoes. I wonder, and so should many, whether the militia are really such a frightening force in America, when I read the advocation of murder to the nth degree on some "pro-life" sites.

When I started to write, about an hour ago, I intended to discuss the imbalance in the media with regard to reporting on the death of Barnett Slepian. Now, I want to discuss the unbalanced minds of some members of my own team, who are a far bigger threat to our cause than the repetition of a single news story.

Pro-life groups which advocate murder - what kind of sick philosophy is that? Here is the opening line of the "Defensive Action Statement", signed it seems by way too many people:

"We the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary, including the use of force, to defend innocent human life (born and unborn). We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child."

"Godly"? I might be new to this whole God thing, but I have serious reservations about murder being okey-dokey with the All Mighty. Consider it this way: what if PETA started to target the CEO's of meat production companies? The goals of the groups aren't relevant - but how they want to achieve their goals is damned relevant.

This is lunacy. It's embarrassing to be equated with these idiots. I'm torn - do I complain about the publicity they're getting, or do I hope this publicity allows we sensible folk a get some publicity too? Do we use Spitz's coat tails to ride to the top of the media circus surrounding an abortion providers death, and thus shed some light on the differences between "them" and "us"? Or do we stay away from the whole Donald "Killin' is Okay" Spitz camp and hope people will stop equating "us" with "them"?

I suppose that in the end, I have talked about exactly what I wanted to talk about in the beginning: Why, of all the people in the world to whom they could speak, did the media choose someone who least reflects the beliefs of the pro-life movement?

I don't know. I am so entirely bemused by this situation, I am going to get an herbal tea.