Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Getting it Wrong

I was watching a talk show on Fox Saturday night, and a couple of the members of the panel roundly condemned conservative bloggers for "attacking" (I think scrutinizing is a much more accurate word) Graeme Frost and his family and for thrusting them into the media spotlight. The fact is that it was the Democrats who used this 12 year-old boy in an ad criticizing Republicans and the President for not supporting SCHIP. If Democrats are going to publicize his story then it seems inappropriate for them to complain if their opponents question the boy's family's circumstances and whether they really should be receiving taxpayer paid insurance.

Conservatives have indeed made a number of claims about the family's financial status (the value of their house, their income, the businesses the father owns, etc.). I have read that the data that has been cited is either mistaken (value of the house) or outdated (the business didn't do well) so the question of how wealthy the Frost family is seems to be up in the air, but it's a legitimate issue nonetheless.

What would not be legitimate would be to attack the twelve year old boy, which, to my knowledge, no one has, or to accuse conservatives of attacking him - as some certainly have - if, in fact, they did not.

One has to wonder why people would make such a terrible accusation if it were not true. For example, the progressive blog Think Progress has a post on this brouhaha that is either very dishonest or very dumb. They take information put out by conservatives about the family's financial abilities and present it as an attack on the boy. That sort of thing is inexcusably shoddy or malicious.

As I said, the financial circumstances of this family that some have cited may be out of date or otherwise incorrect, but for pro-SCHIP people, having introduced the Frosts into the debate, to say that their ability to buy their own insurance should not be part of that debate is absurd. To furthermore misconstrue references to that ability as an attack on the boy, as Think Progress does, is pretty low.

Here's another fact that makes this smear all the worse: The boy was not denied medical coverage. He actually received the help he needed under the old SCHIP program, the same program the President wants to expand. The President and others, though, are being maligned by their opponents because they don't want to expand it as much as the Democrats do. Bush wants to increase the program by five billion dollars. His opponents want to increase it by 35 billion.

Michelle's been following the whole thing here.

Parenthetically, one pro-SCHIP blogger has claimed that the left would never do anything like attack a child for political reasons, only the right would resort to such reprehensible tactics. Aside from the fact that no one has "attacked" this child at all, this claim is absurd for another reason. It turns out that two years ago the left actually did launch a vicious attack on young Noah McCollough.

Allahpundit reminds us that in 2005 the Republicans used nine year old Noah to tout their Social Security reform proposals, and the bloggers on the left savaged him. They made sexual references to him, called him a "budding young fascist" and made up a derogatory nickname for him.

Pretty disgusting stuff, but when all that matters is winning this is the sort of thing you get.


New Abortion Documentary

British filmmaker Tony Kaye tackles the subject of abortion in what is called a powerful and graphic new documentary.

"Lake of Fire," currently on limited release in the United States, unwinds over more than two and a half hours of interviews with some of the leading figures from the pro-life and pro-choice camps. But it is the graphic and disturbing depiction of termination procedures, filmed like the rest of the movie in black and white, that marks the film out.

"From the moment I started making the film I thought I have to show an abortion, which at the time had never been done before," Kaye, best known for his 1998 neo-Nazi feature "American History X," told AFP in an interview. "There was no question about whether or not that was the right thing to do because if I'm documenting two sides of the argument, that is one side of the argument and you have to show it," he said.

One scene depicts a doctor sifting through a surgical tray after performing a late-term abortion, where the grisly residue of an arm, a foot and part of a face can be clearly made out. "It's about as shocking as any motion picture can ever get. It's illegal to film someone being killed," said Kaye.

They may be the kind of images used by anti-abortion activists, but Kaye also doesn't shy from showing pictures of a kneeling and bent-over naked woman who died after performing a botched abortion on herself with a wire coat hanger.

Kaye worked for more than 15 years on "Lake of Fire" -- anti-abortion activist John Burt's description of the hell awaiting abortionists -- and said his goal when he set out was simply to show both sides of the argument.

"The concept was to make a film about the debate over the issue of abortion but to make it in a non-propagandist way and to create a kind of war of words." He said he wanted "to create this kind of a weave where we really explore the issue without taking any sides."

Even after spending years working on the project, Kaye, however, admits to not knowing where he stands in the debate. "My position on the subject is that I don't really know what's right. I didn't know much in the beginning... and at the end I was just as confused."

Well, he doesn't seem to be confused about the fact that he has been filming "someone being killed." If that is the case then surely Mr. Kaye can acknowledge that many abortions involve killing someone and at the very least we shouldn't be able to just do that for any reason whatsoever, which, in the U.S., we pretty much can.

By the way, Mr. Kaye states that no one has ever filmed an abortion before but I think the sequel to the 1980s anti-abortion film "Silent Scream," a film called "Escape From Reason," did that. Maybe not.