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August 27, 2002

ACLU & The Media, A Cozy Relationship

Norman M. Covert

Score another one for the media, they have a love affair with the American Civil Liberties Union and its ilk. The anti-American media bias, which truly exists, is apparent, especially on Maryland Public Television's "public affairs" show last Thursday. I stumbled on it and watched MPT fawn over the ACLU in a shameful lack of journalistic integrity.

If it weren't for some mitigating circumstances, we would applaud MPT's reported new downsizing because of major losses in support funding. MPT is cutting staff and reducing the outrageous salaries paid to executives, who got their jobs by being politically correct and schmoozing with the movers and shakers of the liberal left.

It has been obvious for years that MPT and the entire Public Broadcasting Service have been controlled by extreme liberals. Maybe the chickens are coming home to roost as Americans lose their tolerance. We don't want to gloat, but it's time we had some balance in the PBS listings. If it weren't for such old British comedies as "Waiting for God," "Keeping Up Appearances" and "The Vicar of Dibley" you would find us rarely watching PBS.

The forgettable MPT host (Jeff Salkin) was tossing softball questions to ACLU major attorney Dwight Sullivan and allegedly moderating a debate with The Rev. Paul Schenck, chairman of the National Clergy Council, on the Ten Commandments Stone in the Bentz Street Graveyard and Memorial Park.

Mr. Salkin, who may think he's the next Phil Donahue, kept making appreciative and supportive comments about the ACLU and the "rightness" of its cause, while simultaneously trying to quiet the accurate and non-aggressive comments made by The Rev. Mr. Schenck. The moderator was far from fair in his handling of the "debate."

Far more of value to Americans, who want to keep their liberties, were the phone calls being taken during the segment. Not one caller had anything good to say about the ACLU and the moderator in each instance clicked off the caller as soon as it was apparent no kind words were due the Communist-based organization.

Mr. Salkin seemed overjoyed that the ACLU would file its suit "tomorrow," rating him a needed smack across the chops. It was an appalling show of political correctness by the MPT public affairs crew. We probably expected as much. PBS is at least predictable.

The "story" on the ACLU's filing, though, brings smiles to the entire media corporate community. It means readers, listeners and viewers and spawns new opportunities for them. Media flacks love a controversy, even at the expense of liberty.

If you question that, look at recent stories in the New York Times, Newsweek and other former "Gray ladies" of journalism. They even had the temerity to print so-called invasion plans for Iraq. This isn't "The Pentagon Papers" we 're discussing, it's about a nation at war on terrorism and journalists and their official "spies " telling the enemy national secrets.

Once their stories were based on fact, today they are based on political voyeurism and hearsay. An example is the handling of the Dr. Stephen Hatfill debacle and the use of leaks by Congress, the FBI and the Justice Department. Dr. Hatfill's life may be permanently ruined by the traitors in those organizations. The New York Times, too, has printed totally unfounded gossip, branding it as fact.

Apparently the nation is not at war, just some of us. Thank goodness CNN came upon those al Quaeda tapes on how to wage terrorism. They have been a wake-up call for all "real Americans," as Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., so aptly described patriots. Even some flacks, who are soft on the war, have backtracked a bit since seeing how to make bombs.

The Frederick News-Post and its print media big sister, the Baltimore Sun, certainly gave the upper hand to the ACLU in their coverage of the suit, but at least asked for and received a response from Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, who this time made us feel a lot better with her remarks.

We might have preferred to have Alderman Dave Lenhart speaking. He seems to have a better grasp on the realities of our "Four Freedoms."

(Editor's Note: For those who may have forgotten, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a liberal Democrat, pronounced the importance of the so-called "Four Freedoms" as America went to war in 1941. These include Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Artist Norman Rockwell provided his small-town America vision of the freedoms in posters that speak volumes.)

The Washington Post ignored the ACLU filing apparently, which is surprising in that its local reporter David Snyder has reported faithfully on the issue. He may have been out of town, but it doesn't surprise that the Post would be quiet considering what was reported in its cross-town rival, The Washington Times.

The Washington Times duly reported the ACLU had filed its suit Friday in the 4th Circuit Court in Baltimore, naming as co-defendants the City of Frederick and Frederick County. Our Times, however, did a better job by tossing in related information that the ACLU had just lost two significant cases in Kentucky.

The ACLU, the Times reported, has not done well in Ohio this year, losing a major case in May aimed at striking down the state's motto, "With God All Things Are Possible."

Ohio makes me proud because my Barker Family roots show its coat of arms festooned with the slogan, "In Deo Solo Salus," the Latin version of Ohio's motto. The pride extends to my distant Barker relatives, most notably Bettie Delaplaine, my pharmacist Lee Barker and a host of Barkers in Frederick and surrounding counties.

The ACLU losses last week, which put them at a disadvantage here in Maryland, involved placement of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse adjacent to words from the Constitution, The Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

The District Court Judge ruled there was "insufficient grounds" to order removal of the Ten Commandments, specifically because the words, by their display with like engravings, had no religious basis. Rather, the court said sternly, the Ten Commandments had a secular purpose in showing the relationship between the founding documents and the ten basic rules as laid down in another historic document, the "Bible."

There can be little question that our nation's founding fathers leaned heavily on their Christian faith and the Bible for guidance in forming this new nation. If you check out the wills of these founders, you'll find that each began their last will and testament with a version of the declaration that God had given them life through Jesus Christ with hope of eternal life. Not an atheist in the litter. Courts don't accept those words on a will these days.

Ohio has been an expensive state for the ACLU, which depends on donations for existence, but primarily on its victories in which the losing defendants pay all attorney fees, etc. If the ACLU believes it can win in Maryland, it is wrong. They should get ready to pay their overpriced lawyers.

The linchpin of the case in Frederick's favor is that the stone is located in a cemetery, secondarily that the Ten Commandments are accompanied at the site by other historical markers, not the least of which are memorials to our fallen heroes in the wars that solidified the rights of liberty in these United States. No other decision made involved a cemetery and the courts seem to agree on the display itself as the determining factor.

The courts would have to rule against Arlington National Cemetery and burial grounds from sea to shining sea to agree to the ACLU's radical notion. Eventually the Supreme Court will have to step in and halt this nonsense or it must order the removal of any references to God from government buildings, including its own. The latter will never happen.

Here's hoping Mizmayor and the Board of Aldermen (I have more faith in the county commissioners) will be of one voice and shout down the ACLU, as they did in Ohio. Already organizations are lining up to join as friends of the defendants in this suit.

I am looking forward to hearing that Maryland Public Television has fired Mr. Salkin, its half-wit show host, and seeing the ACLU be impaled on its own petard.

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