NPR Tries To Be “The Today Show” And Maddow Pushes Back

More coverage of the murder of Dr. Tiller. Also: why we should be worried about Alexia Kelly, and NPR jumps in on the hook-up scare story train.


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Links in this episode:

What’s The Matter With Kansas

Maddow interviews Frank Schaeffer

Maddow on domestic terrorism

More on domestic terrorism

NPR epic fail

O’Reilly keeps backpedaling

On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be continuing the coverage of the resurgence of anti-choice terrorism that led to the assassination of Dr. George Tiller.  Also, NPR gets on the hook-up scare train, and Sarah Posner will talk about why the appointment of abortion opponent Alexia Kelley to the HHS is a problem.

Stephen Colbert couldn’t take the defunding of abstinence-only lying down.

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He suggests that if abstinence-only doesn’t work, we should tell kids your genitals will blow up if you have sex, and you’ll be stung to death and have your eyes violently pecked out.


The fallout from the horrible political assassination of Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas continues, and there’s good and bad news.  And straddling the two is the fact that one of the last political things Dr. Tiller did was speak to the documentary makers of the upcoming film "What’s The Matter With Kansas?" about his role as the lightening rod for the forced birth movement.  It’s distressing to watch in light of the knowledge that one of his tormentors finally worked up the courage to kill him.

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The bad news first.  The man accused of shooting Dr. Tiller appears to be, to no one’s big surprise, a media whore and he’s doing interviews from jail.  Where he’s alluding to a potential conspiracy to commit many crimes like this.

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The good news is the federal government is opening an investigation into Roeder’s violation of the FACE act, which was supposed to slow anti-choice violence, but was barely enforced under Bush.  More to the point, they’re actually taking these threats seriously, as well as Roeder’s obviously strong relationship to the activist community, and looking to see if there was a conspiracy.

Roeder was calling for reasons other than threatening more abortion providers.

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This is actually a fact that concerns me more than anything, because it’s clear to me that Roeder at least believes that society supports shooting abortion doctors, which makes me fear that’s the sort of message he’s been getting in his community.  Let’s hope the federal government takes the conspiracy investigation seriously.

The good news is that there’s actual media pushback againt the narrative that invariably crops up after a political assassination or attempted arson from anti-choice terrorists, which is the lone wolf narrative.  People want badly to believe these are isolated incidents, though they are so numerous that it’s impossible to really believe that.  But Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann have been champs on this, placing the violence in a context of hate speech coming from high sources on the right, including Fox News.  Maddow in particular has been kicking ass, so I want to highlight some of her good work and encourage podcast listeners to support her.

Maddow had Frank Schaffer on, a man who was instrumental in creating the religious right and who now is beginning to regret the pseudo-fascist turn the movement has taken.  It was a fascinating interview.

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Maddow came out swinging against those who would have you believe the Scott Roeder worked alone and had no association with the anti-choice movement.

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Sullenger has done time in the past for trying to bomb an abortion clinic.  

Maddow didn’t just drop the story, either, but did a June 8th segment on anti-choice terrorism.  

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This needs to be taken seriously, especially now that Dr. Tiller’s clinic is being permanently closed, which will make anti-choicers believe terrorism works.

insert interview


Oh no, NPR, not you, too!  

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This is a topic for "The Today Show" or "Good Morning America" or one of the other chat shows that specialize in giving bored adults stuck at home the fantasy of sexual adventure disguised as a finger-wagging lecture.  It’s not unlike the motivations that drive creepy middle-aged men to "protest" abortion clinics so they can get an eyeful of the tender young women that they just know are Doing It.  

But NPR is a respected news organization.  I realize that they probably feel the same pressure to be fair and balanced as other news organizations, and that leads them to entertain right wing ideas that don’t have a lot of relevance or basis in facts, so they can’t be accused of being liberal due to reality, as Stephen Colbert says, having a liberal bias.  I’ve already noticed that they’ve referenced a crisis pregnancy center positively without noting that they lie and bully.  

They are a little bit more responsible about it than the chat shows.  Kathleen Bogle, the author in question, doesn’t seem to be all about kicking up a panic over young adults having sex, and I even found a New York Times article where she admitted that teenagers are actually waiting longer than they used to to have sex.  They even try to hat tip the idea that it might not be that bad if people are allowed to make sexual decisions for themselves.  You know, before they get back to the panic.

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I fail to see a single bit of evidence for the suggestion that young men are intimacy-rejecting monsters just because young people of both genders are resisting tying themselves down at a young age.  For the younger generations, the divorce rate is going down as the number of hours men put into household chores goes up.  Now that young men realize that young women don’t need to have them, I do believe they’re trying a little harder.  A women who is fine with hook ups is a woman who doesn’t mind being single, and that means that men can’t hold that fear over her.

Of course, the belief underpinning all these stories is that young women are actually desperate for relationships, but are being tricked by young men exploiting feminism.  The assumption that men are smarter than women and that men will never willingly be with women is a major part of these scare stories.

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What’s depressing about this for me is that these stories are, for all they claim to be promoting love, they seem to be cynical about the existence of real, genuine love that flourishes between two people who actually like each other.  Instead, we’re told that it’s somehow better to commit to someone because you’re 25 and it’s time.  Holding out for someone who really does it for you is pathologized.  But I say that if you don’t hold out for someone who actually makes you happy, you’re just inviting a lot more misery in your life, as you’re going to spending a lot of time wondering if you’re missing out on real love because you were too afraid someone would call you a slut if you didn’t settle down quickly.

All of which makes the singing portion of this segment even scarier.

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The young woman they interview, Elizabeth Welsh, think there’s something wrong with being embarrassed about talking about the times she’s been in love instead of just sex.  As if that means that love itself is embarrassing.  In reality, it’s because love is so idiosyncratic and personal that it is hard to talk about.  That’s why this other view, that love should be cookie cutter stamped out is so depressing.  Isn’t it much better when it’s individualized, personal, and yes, hard to talk about because of it?

But they’re too busy panicking about women who occasionally pay for dates to think about that, I guess.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, the keep back pedaling edition.  Bill O’Reilly is trying as hard as he can to evade responsibility for his endless vendetta against Dr. George Tiller that helped paint a target on the murdered man’s back.  

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Unfortunately for O’Reilly, Media Matter has taken the time to collect all the instances where O’Reilly labeled Dr. Tiller a "killer" on his own, and it is a long, long list of instances that make it unlikely that O’Reilly is just mistaken, and more likely that he’s just lying.