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WorldNetDaily, Abortion, and George Tiller

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WorldNetDaily has long been sympathetic to the extremist end of the anti-abortion movement. Two examples particularly stand out:

-- In 2002, WND published a fawning profile of Neal Horsley, most notoriously known for operating a website with the names and personal information of abortion providers and their employees, and whose website served as a conduit for radical anti-abortion activist Clayton Waagner to issue death threats against 42 abortion clinic employees. WND portrayed Horsley asjust a guy who runs "a pair of popular pro-life websites" who's being discriminated against because of a few unpleasant pictures are causing Internet service providers to continally dump him. (Horsley is also, by the way, currently a candidate for Georgia governor.)

-- WND also published in 2002 a seven-part series by Jack Cashill claiming that James Kopp was framed for the 1998 death of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian. Cashill accused the Clinton administration of being "determined ... to protect the abortion industry" and of having "open hostility to the pro-life movement" (and Hillary Clinton in particular of having "made the department into a formidable feminist stronghold"), painted Kopp as having "an almost Gandhian devotion to non-violence and passive resistance," accused officials of singling out Kopp as part of "a fishing expedition," claimed that because Slepian was a "mediocre student" and performing abortions takes "no great talent" he "fit the classic stereotype of the abortion doctor," asserted that evidence against Kopp was planted, and even suggested that "the pro-choice side had a much greater motive to kill Slepian than did the pro-life side" because Slepian was allegedly considering leaving his abortion practice. Six months later, Kopp pleaded guilty to killing Slepian; Cashill has yet to correct his articles or apologize for them.

WND has also regularly attacked Tiller; the phrase "Tiller the killer" occurs no less than 94 times on WND's website, including several headlines. I've previously reported that WND's attacks on Tiller tend to be one-sided with little to no effort to fairly tell both sides of the story. WND -- and particularly Cashill -- has promoted the anti-Tiller crusade of Phill Kline, former Kansas attorney general and current county attorney.

Indeed, WND's initial article on Tiller's death was typically unbalanced: It rehashed a case in which he was "accused on 19 counts of illegally aborting viable babies" -- of which he was acquitted.

WND writers have unloaded harsh rhetoric against Tiller as well. For instance, Cashill has lamented that "In Kansas, we don't even have a Gestapo to explain our passivity" toward allowing Tiller to stay in business, adding that "I have to ask myself whether we judged too harshly those 'Good Germans,' who turned a blind eye to Nazi inhumanities." And in a March 2007 column, Jill Stanek asserted that Tiller's "secret is to spread abortion blood money so thickly among politicians that there is allegedly nary a one with prosecutorial influence he has not bought off!"

With Tiller's death at the hands of an anti-abortion extremist, WND is engaging in diversionary tactics -- for instance, a June 1 WND article hypes a claim that Tiller's accused killer, Scott Roeder, "allegedly suffered from mental illness."

A June 1 column by WND managing editor David Kupelian, meanwhile, insists that "anti-abortion violence is extremely rare and is utterly repudiated by every pro-life organization and leader." No mention, of course, of Randall Terry's deviation from that alleged norm -- indeed, WND has yet to tell its readers about Terry's inflammatory remarks about Tiller's death.

Kupelian goes on to liken abortion rights activsts' highlighting of anti-abortion violence to -- wait for it -- Hitler's exploitation of the Reichstag fire. But there's nary a word from Kupelian about WND's own anti-Tiller rhetoric, let alone any move on his part to take responsibility for it.

If violent rhetoric by anti-abortion activists that is amplified by sympathetic media can be said to have been a contributing factor in Tiller's death -- as some have accused Fox News' Bill O'Reilly of promoting -- then WorldNetDaily has undoubtedly contributed. Unsurprisingly, WND would rather divert your attention elsewhere.