Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chip Berlet on the Tiller Murder, the Media, and the Patriot Movement

Talk Nation Radio for June 4, 2009
Chip Berlet on the Tiller Murder, the Media, and the “Patriot” Movement

Also, Ken Batrick, Circulation Director, Kansas City Star describes Scott Roeder’s brief stint as a contractor for the Star.

AP Photo Ron Haviv, from PRAs web page

1. We discuss the vigil for Dr. George Tiller that was held in Boston, MA and hear what speakers there said about his practice in Kansas. 2. Who the suspect Scott P. Roeder was and what is known about him. 3. Plus the impact of right wing talk show hosts who incorporate white supremacist rhetoric into broadcasts.
4. And the way white supremacists are cultivated by Republicans who use issues like taxes, gay rights, immigration, and abortion.

TRT: 29:26
Produced by Dori Smith
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport or at and

Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates in the Boston discusses the murder of Kansas physician George Tiller who was shot while he attended his church. Chip Berlet is co–author of the book, ‘Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort’ and editor of the book, ‘Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash’. Both received a Gustavus Myers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on the subject of human rights and bigotry in North America. He is also on the board of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation and on the advisory board of the Center for Millennial Studies. You can read an archive of his articles from the Progressive Magazine and other publications (and the guest commentary, ‘Killing for Life Returns’ By Carol Mason, June 3, 2009) at

Headlines: Dr. George Tiller was shot while attending the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. He was one of only a hand full of US doctors willing to perform late term abortions, which are typically cases with extreme circumstances. The suspect, 51-year-old Scott P. Roeder of Merriam, Kansas, was reported to have suffered from mental illness according to family members. Kansas City Star reporters Laura Bauer and Judy L. Thomas report that Roeder relied on Cheryl Sullinger, an a senior policy adviser to the anti abortion group Operation Rescue to track information about Dr. Tiller.

Scott Roeder apparently had Sullinger’s phone number on him when he was arrested a few hours after the shooting. Sullenger had served two years for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in California in 1988. In light of the Tiller murder, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered increased security for some abortion clinics and doctors.

We also hear a comment from Ken Batrick, Circulation Director, The Kansas City Star, on Scott Roeder’s brief stint as a contractor delivering the Star. He says Roeder worked a few weeks and then abruptly quit.

Third Arrest in Connecticut for “threatening” politicians pulls in hate radio personality: There is also more on a developing story in Connecticut. Hartford police say they will charge 47 year old Harold “Hal” Turner from North Bergen, New Jersey, for inciting injury to persons or property, after he allegedly began inciting viewers on his blog to take up arms against Representative Mike Lawlor and Senator Andrew McDonald. Turner has been described as as white supremacist blogger. (According to the Hartford Courant he called the Tiller murder ‘a righteous act’ on his blog.) –At issue was a bill that is now dead, but could have changed the way Catholic Churches handled finances. According to police,

Turner also allegedly threatened officials of the court. His photograph on FOX 61 news in Connecticut shows him in front of a microphone wearing headphones s if he does broadcasting. In previous weeks a a former Marine, Dominick Vita, was also arrested after he apparently threatened a lawmaker about a bill to decriminalize marijuana. And 26 year old Timothy Kane, has apologized for threatening lawmakers, and completed an anger management course.

At least one blog has identified Turner as an FBI informant. Here is likely origins of that citation, Southern Poverty Law Center page, Hatewatch.

We hear clips of Fox Network’s Bill O’Reilly. His mantra about the doctor was Tiller the baby killer. After Doctor Tiller’s death O’Reilly charged critics with being left wing fanatics. See Media Matters, Daily Kos,..and we discuss the comments of Michael Savage on how Germans came to support Nazis because they were “disgusted” by the degeneracy of some citizens. Interestingly, he describes the very group ultimately targeted by Nazis, Jews, Gays, and artists.

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