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PBS Wages War On Pro-Lifers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The Public Broadcasting Service recently announced it will not allow new religious programming on their taxpayer-subsidized airwaves. The handful of stations that have shown a Catholic Mass or Mormon devotions will be allowed to continue, but the other 300-plus stations have been instructed to avoid any kind of evangelism.

Welcome to Barack Obama's new world order.

News reports explained that the PBS station services committee insisted on applying a 1985 rule that all PBS shows must be "noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian."

To everyone who's watched a pledge drive or contemplated a toy store stuffed with "Sesame Street" toys, the idea that PBS is following any "noncommercial" policy is absurd.

To everyone who's watched two minutes of "Bill Moyers Journal," with its panels unanimously screaming for Bush's impeachment, or more recently, for a single-payer socialist health-care system, the idea of PBS being devoted to a "nonpartisan" stance is several miles removed from ridiculous.

But the atheists and secularists who want all traces of sectarian "proselytizing" for Jesus banned from PBS do have something to say about PBS public-affairs programming. "Nova" creates a special to shred the authenticity of the Bible, and PBS doesn't think to assemble a committee to evaluate it. PBS stations air tax-subsidized documentaries celebrating lesbian-feminist choirs, "transgender" riots and a liberal teenager fighting against abstinence education, and nobody inside "public" broadcasting wonders whether they're guilty of doing the very "proselytizing" they condemn.

As part of its wave of secular fundamentalism, PBS celebrates even late-term abortionists with a fanaticism that would curl the hair of any pro-lifer. On June 12, the PBS show "Now" (formerly with Bill Moyers) devoted most of its half-hour to smearing the pro-life movement as a vicious band of terrorists. They hailed two men who abort babies into the ninth month, Dr. Warren Hern of Colorado and Dr. Leroy Carhart of Nebraska. Reporter Maria Hinojosa briefly noted at one point that pro-life groups issued press releases denouncing Dr. Tiller's murder. But those words were lies, claimed the abortionists.

Carhart attacked. "They may claim innocence, and they may technically, under the law, be innocent, but their heart was certainly with Scott Roeder on the day that he shot Dr. Tiller."

Hern echoed: "The anti-abortion organizations, you know, making these statements of distress and disapproval. No, no, no, no, no. This is what they wanted to happen. And it happened."

Oppose abortion, even very late in pregnancy, and PBS is clear. You are a terrorist.

Let's go back to Hern. "This is a terrorist movement. And they instill fear in people," he said. "This is not an abortion debate. There's no debate. This is a civil war. The anti-abortion people are using bombs and bullets. And they've been doing this for 30 years."

"Now" host David Brancaccio began the program with a topic sentence: was Tiller's murder terrorism, and did it succeed? Hinojosa asked Hern: "Do you say they've won? They've been successful?" Hern whacked that softball question silly: "Of course, they won. But this is the consequence of this kind of violence and terrorism. Terrorism works ... The message from the anti-abortion movement is, 'Do what we tell you to do, or we will kill you.' And they do."

On MSNBC, Hern uncorked this slur: "The main difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles." For this, he is hailed on our taxpayer-funded airwaves as a feminist hero, a very brave provider of services for desperate women.

Where was the airtime for the pro-lifers? Hinojosa granted a few seconds to Randall Terry -- in the familiar soundbite declaring the pro-life movement didn't cause Tiller's death, but Tiller was a mass murderer. PBS also aired a series of Bill O'Reilly segments where he referred to "Tiller the Baby Killer." Hinojosa again set up Hern, this time to denounce O'Reilly as an accessory to murder: "It's offensive, it's vulgar, it's grotesque, it's fascist speech that's designed to get Dr. Tiller killed, and it worked."

Despite the noxious theme that describing abortion as the death of a baby enables terrorism, no one -- not Terry, not O'Reilly, not a single professional in the pro-life movement -- was granted the courtesy of an interview by PBS.

This story has a very disturbing ending. Ken Bode, hired by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as an ombudsman or viewers' advocate, lauded the show as "strong and convincing on this point: radical, anti-abortion opponents, including Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, are guilty of promoting domestic terrorism." Bode even said "Now" has established itself for reporting "within the boundaries of fairness and balance mandated by PBS standards."

That only underlines that there are no standards for balance at PBS on the issues religious Americans care about. There's only a standard of malice.

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