|Truth forever on the scaffold;
Wrong forever on the throne.
– James Russell Lowell
The distinguished American historian, Daniel Boorstin, stated back in 1961 in his book, The Image, that fantasy had become more real than reality, the image more dignified than its original. If it is possible, his insight is more true today, and the situation it describes is more pervasive now than it was 37 years ago.
The Media is the business of extracting the image from reality and then making that image so vivid that it seems more real than the reality from which it was taken. The burger one sees on TV is far more mouth-watering than the droopy thing wrapped in wax paper that you pick up at the drive-through. On the other hand, Jack Palance is infinitely more menacing-looking on the screen than he is in person. It is a perfectly simple matter for any arm of the Media to use the image in a way that misrepresents reality. As Knowlton Nash once told an audience, the most frightening thing about the Media is that it can make us believe anything it wants us to believe.
The Media presents those people who in reality support the widespread slaughter of unborn human beings, using favourable “pro-choice” images. It depicts those who in reality labour often at great personal sacrifice to defend and protect the rights of the unborn in the decidedly unfavorable image of “violent hypocrites.”
Here, in the latter part of the 20th century, is the philosophy of the witches in Macbeth. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”
A man by the name of Rev. Donald Spitz has become a Media darling, a kind of instant celebrity of sorts. Rev. Spitz, who claims to have founded Pro-Life Virginia, has applauded the October killing of abortionist Barnett Slepian, referring to the assassin as a “hero.”
The Media has given him a hugely disproportionate amount of attention. He is exactly the person they want to present to the world as their perfect image of the pro-life movement. Thus, the Media has given its best representation of the pro-life movement to one who least represents the movement.
Christianity declares that “by their fruits you shall know them.” This is realism. The Media says, in effect, that “it is by our fabrications that you shall know them.” This is illusion. Neither Slepian’s assailant nor Rev. Spitz any more represents the pro-life movement than Frances Kissling of “Catholics for a Free Choice” represents 2000 years of Roman Catholic teaching.
Label is often libel. One would think that an allegedly enlightened public would not tolerate such an elementary form of prejudice and discrimination. Yet the image dazzles and forms opinion much more effectively than reality, in the minds of what more realistically might be called a somnolent public.
Victims of their own philosophy
The truth of the matter is that a man who thinks it is morally permissible to take a gun and shoot an abortionist to death is really “pro-choice.” This bit of real news may be offensive to adherents of the “pro-choice” movement, but it is a simple case of their being victimized by their own philosophy.
A person identified as “pro-life” who acts against life is a scandal. He makes it more difficult for people to appreciate the good work pro-life people do. But a person who affirms that choice alone is morally self-justifying is also a scandal, because he may be an occasion for others to transfer a pro-choice philosophy from one moral arena to another, from the unborn to the abortionists (or to any other group.) Promoting a “pro-choice” mentality greases the slopes for no end of new applications to additional groups.
Choice makes victims of us all. Certainly a supporter of the “pro-choice” movement can be a victim of his own ideology.
The most responsible use of the Media is to use the image to express its correlative reality. It should be the reality that makes the news, not its distorted image. But when the journalism of unreality begins to appear, abortionism begins to lose its hold. For the systematic and ruthless killing of unborn babies cannot bear very much reality. In order for abortionism to be maintained, the abortion issue must be kept ideological, and pro-life people must be continuously discredited.
Meanwhile, in the immortal words of the poet, James Russell Lowell, we continue to suffer the inverted spectacle of “Truth forever on the scaffold/ Wrong forever on the throne.”