CNN Highlights Prediction of a 'Huge Backlash' Against Pro-Lifers After Tiller

Carol Costello, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCNN correspondent Carol Costello underscored the left-wing campaign of blame targeting pro-lifers in the wake of the murder of abortionist George Tiller during a segment on Tuesday’s “American Morning.” She stated on the one hand that “criminologists we talked  [to] would say it’s unlikely words alone could drive someone to kill, and until we know more about the accused killer, it’s best not to speculate,” but immediately added that “many anti-abortion groups are clearly on the defensive.” Costello also highlighted a sound bite by University of California, Berkeley professor and former Washington Post reporter Cynthia Gorney, who predicted that “they’re going to get a huge backlash against Right-to-Life. You’re going to get a lot of people now saying, see, those people are all crazy. They all advocate violence.”

Anchor John Roberts introduced Costello’s report: “We’ve seen it all too often- the emotionally-charged debate over abortion leading to violence. Police say the man suspected of gunning down Dr. George Tiller acted alone. But did anti-abortion rhetoric also play a role?” Come again? The murder of abortionists happens quite rarely. The CNN correspondent then went further in this line: “You know, there’s no doubt- Dr. George Tiller had become the public face of late-term abortions, procedures done in the second trimester, the kind of procedure that evoked extreme emotion in an already emotional debate. Some say a long vicious war of words hastened Tiller’s death. Others say it was the act of one unbalanced man.”

Photo From Candlelight Vigil For Dr. George Tiller | NewsBusters.orgCostello’s report began by featuring a candlelight vigil held in the abortionist’s honor, including an obligatory photo of a woman tearing up at the ceremony. She immediately underscored the accusations being pushed by feminist organization and left-wing websites against pro-lifers: “ Liberal blog sites like the Daily Kos agreed, pointing a finger of blame at Fox talk show host Bill O’Reilly, who’s debated for years whether Tiller should be allowed to practice....Others who support abortion rights point the finger of blame at abortion opponents like Randall Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, and often lead protests at Tiller’s abortion clinic.”

The correspondent included two clips from Terry, who labeled Tiller a “mass murderer.” After stipulating that “Terry says he doesn’t condone killing abortion providers, but says Tiller’s death shouldn’t preclude telling the truth,” she continued with her line about criminologists and about pro-lifers being “on the defensive,” and read excerpts from two statements by pro-life organizations condemning the abortionist’s murder.

When Professor Gorney and her sound bite were introduced near the end of the report, her former affiliation with the Washington Post was not included by Costello, nor by the on-screen captions.

The full transcript of Costello’s report, which began 50 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of Tuesday’s “American Morning:”

JOHN ROBERTS: Welcome back to the ‘Most News in the Morning.’ We’ve seen it all too often- the emotionally-charged debate over abortion leading to violence. Police say the man suspected of gunning down Dr. George Tiller acted alone. But did anti-abortion rhetoric also play a role?

Our Carol Costello is live in Washington this morning with that part of the story. Good morning, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO: Good morning, John. You know, there’s no doubt- Dr. George Tiller had become the public face of late-term abortions, procedures done in the second trimester, the kind of procedure that evoked extreme emotion in an already emotional debate. Some say a long vicious war of words hastened Tiller’s death. Others say it was the act of one unbalanced man.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Hundreds gathered to mourn Dr. George Tiller, a man they called caring and loving. There is anger here, too, at the man who allegedly physically killed Tiller and at those who they say demonized him.

ELEANOR SMEAL, FEMINIST MAJORITY FOUNDATION: To those who stir up the pot, and then, now they say they feel sorry- well, I’m sorry, they- they bear some responsibility for having demonized him unfairly, ridiculously.

BILL O’REILLY: George Tiller known as Tiller the Baby Killer- Tiller is executing fetuses.

COSTELLO: Liberal blog sites like the Daily Kos agreed, pointing a finger of blame at Fox talk show host Bill O’Reilly, who’s debated for years whether Tiller should be allowed to practice.

RANDALL TERRY, OPERATION RESCUE: George Tiller was a mass murderer.

COSTELLO: Others who support abortion rights point the finger of blame at abortion opponents like Randall Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, and often lead protests at Tiller’s abortion clinic.

TERRY: And George Tiller was a murderer and he was doing something that was literally demonic. So how can you not demonize something that is so intrinsically evil?

COSTELLO: Terry says he doesn’t condone killing abortion providers, but says Tiller’s death shouldn’t preclude telling the truth. Criminologists we talked  [to] would say it’s unlikely words alone could drive someone to kill, and until we know more about the accused killer, it’s best not to speculate. But many anti-abortion groups are clearly on the defensive. Frontline Pregnancy Centers issuing this statement: ‘Violence against abortionists is not pro-life.’ And the National Right to Life ‘unequivocally condemns any such acts of violence regardless of motivation.’

CYNTHIA GORNEY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY: Right-to-Life movement-

COSTELLO: Cynthia Gorney, who wrote a book on the abortion wars, says these groups are likely truly sorry Tiller has been killed. It’s the last thing the anti-abortion movement wanted to happen.

GORNEY: They’re going to get a huge backlash against Right-to-Life. You’re going to get a lot of people now saying, see, those people are all crazy. They all advocate violence.

COSTELLO: And on his show last night, Bill O’Reilly said this- and I quote, ‘60,000 potential human beings were aborted by the man, who made millions of dollars doing it. To me, that’s unconscionable.’ And O’Reilly went on to say he has a right to express his opinion. It’s a free country.

ROBERTS: All right. Carol Costello this morning. Carol, thanks so much.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center