Monday, September 10, 2007

ACLU man jailed for child porn gets a pass from the media while Craig twists in the wind

The media silence over the jailing of former ACLU leader Charles Rust-Tierney for downloading child pornography, including scenes of children being raped and tortured, is deafening. The New York Times, NBC and CNN are among the major broadcasters and newspapers who haven’t seen fit to cover the story. Others have limited their coverage to carrying the AP report on their websites.

The Washington Post did carry the story, presumably because Rust-Tierney was president of the ACLU's Virginia chapter from 1993 to 2005. However, while on Friday its report was headlined Va.'s Ex-ACLU Chief Gets 7 Years for Child Porn, by the following day the Post had apparently decided that Rust-Tierney’s former position didn’t merit inclusion in the headline, changing it to Man Gets 7 Years In Child Porn Case.

And in neither story did the Post see fit to report that, several years ago, Rust-Tierney led the ACLU’s opposition in court to the Children's Internet Protection Act (which was ultimately approved by Congress), arguing that internet filters in libraries designed to limit children's access to pornography would interfere with their ability to learn and communicate. This is surely a pertinent fact, given that the ACLU maintains its opposition to restrictions on internet access, and supports groups such as the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Other news outlets that ran the story also chose to ignore this angle.

Compare the MSM’s almost total suppression of the Rust-Tierney case with the unrelenting and hysterical coverage of the Larry Craig story. Craig is accused of seeking to engage in behaviour, which, while repellent to many people, would have been between consenting adults, with no one getting physically hurt. But because Craig is a Republican who’s strong on family values he’s accused of hypocrisy, and faces a media lynching.

Rust-Tierney, on the other hand, used a computer in his 11-year-old son’s bedroom to view photos and videos depicting the rape and sexual torture of children as young as six. At least no one can accuse Rust-Tierney of hypocrisy: he liked to watch children being raped on the internet, and he and others at the ACLU support the right of every American to be able to watch children being raped on the internet.

There are plenty more sick people at the ACLU who will continue to defend monsters like Rust-Tierney, and there are some equally sick people occupying influential positions in the media, who are prepared to bury reports of serious crimes committed by those on the left, while inviting their readers and viewers to condemn the merest indiscretion by those on the right.

When George Bush was re-elected in 2004, much was written about how America was becoming increasingly divided along party lines. But a recurring theme was that the differences that split people weren’t simply of opinion or politics, but fundamental differences in values.

America is divided all right. On one side are people who share the worldview and priorities of organisations such as the New York Times and the ACLU. On the other side are those who don’t. It’s not a division between people with different values: it’s a division between people who have values, and those who have none.

Stop the ACLU, not surprisingly, has plenty to say, and links to other reaction, including fevered speculation on the romantic proclivities of Rust-Tierney’s cellmate. And thanks to Riehl World View for linking.

UPDATE: Good morning Canada! And thanks to Small Dead Animals for linking. I've only been at this blogging game for six weeks, so while you're here please stay and have a look around,and let me know what you think. Recently I've been musing on the left's love affair with extremism, Islamic or otherwise, and the end of Zimbabwe, while you may also want to join the debate on war movies then and now or suggest a cure for liberalism.

Soon as I get home from the day job I'm putting on a Rush CD - probably A Farewell to Kings - cracking open a Molson and drinking to you guys!

12 comments:

Dave in Pa. said...

Good article, Mike.

Rhetorical question: How come a mere lowly blogger can find and write so well on a significant story and all those "professional journalists" can't...or won't???

Is it...can it be...professional bias and laziness?

Keep up the good work. Gotcha bookmarked! :-)

Dave in Pa. said...

BTW, I'm a SDA regular reader. I hope & expect you'll get more visitors from that link.

Brad in Waterloo said...

Hi,

I'm also part of the visiting SDA contingent; in your sidebar you asked that we pipe up if we're here via linkage. Looks like you've got a nice little outfit here. Keep up the good work. There can never be too many intelligent voices on the right. :0)

Prospector said...

Hi Mike; I like your format and way of thinking. Another visitor from SDA.

Brian C said...

Nice job Mike, I'm anther Canadian SDA guy. I just watched a CBC newsworld piece of crap regarding how things in Iraq are worse than ever. Yet if you check in with the guys that are there, things are getting better. Regular media sucks more by the second. Good luck Mike!

Anonymous said...

I'm missing something here. I got 11,600 hits when googling the topic '"charles rust-tierney" former president aclu pornography'. That doesn't really seem hidden. Yes, it may not have been reported on CNN, but in comparing this to Larry Craig, the reality is that Larry Craig is a US Senator, one of the most powerful people in the United States, and regularly got news exposure before the recent scandal. It's simply a matter of celebrity and position. A former regional director of the ACLU is simply not as newsworthy as a sitting US Senator. You want to push Larry Craig off the front pages? Find Brad Pitt in a compromising position in a men's stall with a wombat and a can of axle grease.

Further, to say that the ACLU supports the right of every American to be able to watch children being raped on the internet is a gross mischaracterization of that organization's principles. The ACLU supports free speech, even extreme free speech, and thus supports NAMBLA's right to exist as an organization and to espouse its viewpoint - not NAMBLA's viewpoint itself.

You can certainly have a debate about the limits of free speech, just as we have debate about hate speech legislation in Canada. You can certainly argue that the ACLU goes too far in supporting the right to free speech of various organizations that appall many people. But you cannot claim that the ACLU automatically supports the goals of every organization whose free speech it defends. (Given that the ACLU has supported the free speech of both Communists and Nazi organizations, that would be kind of tough.) You got an actual link to an ACLU paper or press release saying it supports children being raped on the internet? Post it.

Here's an actual quote on the issue from the ACLU website - kind of long, but it's important to understand where they are coming from:

In the United States Supreme Court over the past few years, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the side of a fundamentalist Christian church, a Santerian church, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In celebrated cases, the ACLU has stood up for everyone from Oliver North to the National Socialist Party. In spite of all that, the ACLU has never advocated Christianity, ritual animal sacrifice, trading arms for hostages or genocide. In representing NAMBLA today, our Massachusetts affiliate does not advocate sexual relationships between adults and children.

What the ACLU does advocate is robust freedom of speech for everyone. The lawsuit involved here, were it to succeed, would strike at the heart of freedom of speech. The case is based on a shocking murder. But the lawsuit says the crime is the responsibility not of those who committed the murder, but of someone who posted vile material on the Internet. The principle is as simple as it is central to true freedom of speech: those who do wrong are responsible for what they do; those who speak about it are not.

It is easy to defend freedom of speech when the message is something many people find at least reasonable. But the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive. That was true when the Nazis marched in Skokie. It remains true today.

(go to www.aclu.org and search for NAMBLA).

As for supporting Mr. Rust-Tierney - I have no idea what the ACLU's official stance on that is.
(Do you? Can you provide a link to it?) I assume that Mr. Rust-Tierney, just like Larry Craig, is innocent until proven guilty. (If Mr. Rust-Tierney is guilty, nail him to the wall, of course. Until then, let's get give *both* men the benefit of the doubt.

Mike said...

Anon: I take every point you make about free speech, but that’s a secondary issue here, although I’ll touch on it. The main points I was making were about media bias.

11,000 Google hits? So what? The story has been going around the web for a few days, and many of those hits are the RW bloggers going on about the lack of coverage! You should have searched when I did – it was nothing like that number. I also searched for news stories using a purpose-built academic search engine. And like I say in the post, almost everyone that did carry the story used the AP feed, which made no mention of CRT’s and the ACLU’s campaign against filters, which was relevant.

Yes, Craig is a more prominent figure than CRT, but the ACLU has an awful lot of influence, and I think the severity of what CRT did, combined with the ACLU context, balanced things out. Just my opinion.

If you go back and check, I didn’t say the ACLU supports children being raped on the internet: I said they support the right of people to watch it. That wasn’t a mischaracterization. If there are no limits on what people can watch online (the ACLU position as I understand it) then some people will want to watch kids being raped, and so kids will be raped to meet that demand. Make the connection. Unfortunately the lengthy quote you provide doesn’t address this unpleasant reality. I was also making a wider point about the utter lack of moral boundaries on the far-left, which I fully agree goes for the far-right as well.

Also, as you apparently missed the first sentence of the post and the links, CRT was found guilty and jailed for seven years. Hopefully he is being ‘nailed’ in some fashion as I write.

And you ask: ‘As for supporting Mr. Rust-Tierney - I have no idea what the ACLU's official stance on that is.’ Again, read the story. Dozens of friends and associates queued up to tell the judge what a great guy he was. I’m making an educated guess that there were some ACLU’ers among them. They may or may not have been acting in their official capacity, but I would be stunned if the ACLU came out and condemned him.

Okay, I just googled ‘ACLU condemn Charles Rust_Tierney’ (the words, not the phrase). Nothing.

Thanks for being polite and challenging. Always good to have one’s prejudices and assumptions probed.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike,

In your response you write:

If you go back and check, I didn’t say the ACLU supports children being raped on the internet: I said they support the right of people to watch it. That wasn’t a mischaracterization. If there are no limits on what people can watch online (the ACLU position as I understand it) then some people will want to watch kids being raped, and so kids will be raped to meet that demand.

Then please provide evidence, as I asked before, that the ACLU supports the right of people to watch kiddie-rape on-line. *My* understanding is that they support NAMBLA's right to *discuss* and *promote* the topic (as utterly distasteful as that might be), *not* to actually showing such videos. In the quote I gave the ACLU does not come out in support of murder - following your logic they must support the right to watch snuff films and therefore they support murder, otherwise how to you make snuff films? (I've never seen anything from the ACLU saying they support either snuff films or kiddie porn - again, if you have actual ACLU documents to the contrary, then by all means point me to them: I am certainly capable of being wrong on this issue.) With all do respect - and I do respect your reply to my earlier post - I simply don't believe that your understanding of the ACLU's position on this matter is correct. Show me evidence, however, and I will gladly join the line of ACLU haters.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, just a further note. Were there ACLU people amongst CRT's supporters in court? I don't know. I asked whether the ACLU *officially* supported CRT. (There is a difference between individuals, who happen to belong to an organization, supporting someone and an organization officially supporting someone.) Does the ACLU have an *official* position on CRT now that he has been convicted? Do they claim he was wrongly convicted? Do they claim the laws he was convicted under were wrong? Again, please point me to the text of its position on this matter.

I emphasize this point because I believe you are indulging in guilt by association. Just last week the company I work for had one of its clients convicted of fraud in the US. He stole pensions and savings of a number of people to the tune of $16M over ten years. What does that have to do with my company? Well, frankly we're ashamed that someone associated with us did that - it's kind of embarrassing - but there is no casual relationship between his association with my company and his crimes. You are attempting to create a causal link between CRT and the ACLU, but other than the fact he was a former employee, you have offered only speculation.

Again, however, if I have missed something concrete (it's been known to happen!) then by all means enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

It's been a week since I asked you to back up your claims about the ACLU. Are you still looking, or have you just given up on this thread?

Mike said...

Anon – I haven’t replied partly because I’ve moved on to other things, and partly because I feel that I addressed all your points in my response, and you’re being by turns pedantic and disingenuous, and have apparently not read either my original post, the linked story or my reply to you properly. So I thought maybe we should just agree to differ.

As I said, the freedom of speech stuff was secondary to the media bias line – I backed up the bias line in my reply, and you didn’t come back on it, so I thought I would be within my rights to consider the debate closed.

But as you’ve persisted…

Your first follow-up is a complete waste of time. You wrote ‘Then please provide evidence, as I asked before, that the ACLU supports the right of people to watch kiddie-rape on-line. *My* understanding is that they support NAMBLA's right to *discuss* and *promote* the topic (as utterly distasteful as that might be), *not* to actually showing such videos.’

If the ACLU supports the right for people to watch anything and everything online, then it follows that they support the right of people to watch child rape. It also follows that children will be raped. This is an entirely different thing to saying the ACLU supports child rape, murder or anything else, but you choose to ignore this fact, and persist in accusing me of saying something I didn’t say.

And if you seriously think that Nambla exists merely to ‘discuss’ sexual relations between adults and children in some hypothetical arena, and not to promote actual physical relationships, then I’m sorry, but disingenuous doesn’t begin to describe your position.

Then you say…

‘Were there ACLU people amongst CRT's supporters in court? I don't know. I asked whether the ACLU *officially* supported CRT. (There is a difference between individuals, who happen to belong to an organization, supporting someone and an organization officially supporting someone.) Does the ACLU have an *official* position on CRT now that he has been convicted? Do they claim he was wrongly convicted? Do they claim the laws he was convicted under were wrong? Again, please point me to the text of its position on this matter.’

I can only infer, from the ACLU’s position that they support the right of people to watch what they want online, that they support the right of CRT to watch what he wants. And of course I don’t know if there were ACLU supporters in court – the media coverage was pretty sparse, which of course was the point of the post in the first place. Again, you’re being disingenuous.

As I said in my reply:

‘I’m making an educated guess that there were some ACLU’ers among them. They may or may not have been acting in their official capacity, but I would be stunned if the ACLU came out and condemned him.’

Incidentally I added:

‘Okay, I just googled ‘ACLU condemn Charles Rust_Tierney’ (the words, not the phrase). Nothing.’

And before you bring it up, I’m aware that a Google search isn’t admissable as evidence in court. And in case you hadn’t noticed, this is a blog, not the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and I can’t really afford to take a week off work to research a 600-word blog post.

So, to answer your follow-ups I’ve just had to repeat what I said in my original reply, right down to cutting and pasting. You’ll forgive me if I consider this a waste of time. If you’re going to continue to ignore what I write, and get pedantic about selected words in sentences that are secondary to the main thrust of the post, then we’re going round in circles, and like I said at the outset we’ll just have to agree to differ.

Anyway, when was the last time you saw a debate on a comments thread that ended with one party saying ‘Okay, you’ve convinced me - you were right!’?

That said, if you want to leave a final post claiming ‘victory’ in this exchange, knock yourself out.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I posted today because I believe you've missed some of my points and not really backed yours up.

As for the media bias, regarding the amount of attention the stories received, you wrote that is was a matter of opinion as to whether the two stories received sufficient notice with respect to each other. I'm OK with that and didn't have anything to add.

As for NAMBLA I am aware of NAMBLA's purpose and know that it is not just to discuss sexual relations between adults and children. I certainly never claimed that. My claim is that the ACLU supports NAMBLA's right to free speech in discussing its goals, not in actually carrying them out. This is in exactly the same way that the ACLU supports the right of the Neo-Nazis and the Communists (and Ollie North for that matter) to air their beliefs and goals. You cannot claim that the ACLU supports Naziism - after all the first things the Nazis would do if they had their way is stamp out free speech, and that is the raison d'etre of the ACLU. Your logic that ACLU supports NAMBLA's goals as opposed to their right to *discuss* those goals would imply that the ACLU supports the goals of the Nazis - and all the other groups whose right to free speech they support - and that makes no sense.

You say that you 'infer' from the ACLU's position certain things. All I would like to see is the ACLU position statements that you've read that make that clear. I quoted their position where they said "those who do wrong are responsible for what they do; those who speak about it are not." I infer from that they support NAMBLA's right to speak about its goals. Kiddie porn is against the law. It is wrong. To make or disseminate it is against the law and wrong - all rightfully so. To talk about *wanting* the right to make and disseminate kiddie porn is, to the ACLU, a free speech matter.

I also said, "Show me evidence, however, and I will gladly join the line of ACLU haters." I can be convinced, but all I ask is that you show me the material published by the ACLU that convinced you they support the dissemination of kiddie porn.

As far as the issue of supporting CRT, to me not condemning is not the same as officially supporting, but that's just another matter of opinion, and that's OK with me too.

I'm not doing this to claim victory - I am genuinely interested in why you make such strong claims against the ACLU. I've read the ACLU material and not made the same inferences for some of the reasons briefly mentioned above. Have your read the ACLU material in any detail or just anti-ACLU sites?

If you don't want to continue this discussion, that's fine. It's your blog and your time and I'm not going to accuse you of anything or make any claims on my behalf. I simply think that there is more than an issue of semantics here and I was genuinely interested in the intellectual journey that led to your opinions on this matter.