Fellow Liberals React To Bernie Ward Child Porn Indictment
Fellow Libtalkers Defend, Denounce One Of Their Own
Since longtime KGO / San Francisco libtalker Bernie Ward's indictment late last week on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, it has been fascinating to watch how his fellow "progressive" hosts have reacted. Would they stand by one of their own, or throw him under a bus?
So far, the responses have been mixed, with two notable and wildly divergent examples worth exploring here: an Op-Ed essay by 'Green 960' (formerly 960 AM The Quake) host Peter Laufer published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the on-air reaction of syndicated "progressive" talker Mike Malloy. Oddly, the results are just as unpleasant when denounced as when he is defended.
Laufer, also the author of a long- forgotten book on talk radio, took the shark- jumping route, going off the deep end with a bizarre association between Ward's indictment and "post- 9-11 paranoia".
First, an even more unlikely connection is made between possessing child porn and digging tunnels under the border from Mexico. And of course, the Kool- Aid drinking Laufer is fully on board with the idea that Ward was merely researching a book, rather than personally interested in the subject matter (excerpted here):
With the aggressive assault of pornographic advertising on the Internet, along with the sting sites put up by the FBI and other police authorities, it is easy to see how anyone could trip into crime out of curiosity, especially when a simple click of the mouse now defines possession in the brave new world of the Web.
Journalists in a free society must be able to enjoy the freedom to practice their profession independent of government oversight. Intent must be a factor in a criminal investigation that conflicts with a reporter's research.
Concurrent with the charges against Bernie Ward was the revelation by the U.S. Border Patrol that its agents discovered yet another illegal tunnel under the Mexican-U.S. line, allegedly used by drug smugglers to bring massive amounts of marijuana into California. The portal on the U.S. side is just a block from the Tecate Border Patrol office. Agents found a sophisticated engineering project: a reinforced ceiling, electricity from the Mexican side provided lighting, pumps kept water seepage to a minimum.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, 56 such tunnels have been discovered by authorities, and destroyed. As a result, a new federal law makes it a crime to design or build a tunnel under a U.S. border. Of course it makes sense that it is against the law to tunnel under an international line. But to outlaw designing a tunnel - or designing anything? Again, this probably well-intentioned attempt to deal with a growing societal problem crashes head-on into the First Amendment.
A law against designing a tunnel is a thought crime. Conjuring the tunnel project is not an overt criminal act. Intent should be the central issue. It must make a difference if I design a tunnel for a thriller film on drug smuggling, to create a scene in a book I'm writing, to amuse my engineer friends - or to bring 14,000 pounds of dope into America (the amount found at the Tecate tunnel).
Especially in this era of understandably heightened concerns regarding national security, we must be ever-vigilant against a creeping police state - no matter how well-intentioned the cops and the legislators in our midst.
I pray Bernie Ward's intent was journalistic not prurient. He's been most gracious to me when he's invited me to appear as a guest on his KGO radio program. Station management took him off the air until further notice once the charges against him were made public with the tepid announcement, "We were just recently made aware of these serious charges and are surprised and concerned by their nature."
But more important than Bernie's personal crisis, it is critical that we Americans come to terms with our post-9/11 paranoia. We must join with fellow citizens worried about cascading government intrusion into the private lives of American citizens - those concerned citizens can be found on both sides of the political aisle and in law enforcement. We must perpetually defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - and our promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In an odd and unexpected contrast, fellow libtalker Mike Malloy (infamous for his recent "violence fantasy" against White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino) didn't try to defend Ward at all, instead sending him right under the nearest moving bus. Transcribed from Thursday's program:
MALLOY: The only problem with that story is that it's an old story. You know, I mean, we've heard that many, many times, haven't we - 'well, your Honor, the only reason I had 100 bales of marijuana in my U-Haul truck is because I'm doing an investigation on how marijuana gets into trucks and distributed around the ...', you know, come on.
(Malloy reads listener email suggesting Ward was framed in a "blatant attempt to discredit progressive voices: 'watch your back, Mike!')
MALLOY: Yeah, there always is that possibility and I understand that, I do, Barbara, (listener who sent email) I hate what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. The fact that Bernie Ward is an ordained Catholic priest kind of adds a little bit of buzz to the mix, doesn't it? I'm sorry, you know. I've always respected Bernie Ward as a liberal or progressive talk show host.
I also feel that people who indulge in sexual activity with children, and it really doesn't matter a whole lot to me if it's done with images or with actual children. And I realize, I know, I know, I'm putting myself in kind of a fascist mode there, I understand. Maybe it's because I've had children and have grandchildren. I realize I'm walking a thin line here but people who abuse children, whether it is violence or sexual abuse, psychological abuse, I really don't have any mercy for child abusers, I just don't.
And again, I understand that there's a quantitative difference in looking at pictures of pornography and actually involving oneself in acts with children, but the difference to me is immaterial, and that puts me on the line real close to fascism. I understand that and I'm sorry that it puts me close to fascism, but I will never, ever, ever apologize for my attitude about condemning people who sexually abuse children ... I hope that the story about Bernie Ward is not true. My gut tells me that I'm wishing for the impossible."
Both responses to Ward's indictment reveal quite a bit about the state of the left's mindset, don't they? While Laufer believes criminal charges for distributing child porn is the result of post- 9-11 paranoia, Malloy feels the need to apologize to his listeners for holding the "fascist" belief that children should be protected from sexual abuse. Are his listeners against laws that shield kids from exploitation?
Could there be any clearer indication that the "progressive" left have officially lost their minds?
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has much more on the subject here.
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Ward on Cable Car: AP