MSNBC Program Exploits Killing of Abortionist George Tiller to Attack Pro-Lifers

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 25, 2010   |   7:21PM   |   Wichita, KS

MSNBC plans to air a program tonight exploiting last year’s shooting death of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller to suggest a pro-life conspiracy was behind his murder.

Although the killing involved a lone gunman with no ties to the pro-life community, the MSNBC program will examine “whether there were larger forces behind abortion doctor’s murder.”

Rachel Maddow, the pro-abortion activist who hosts a weeknight political program on MSNBC’s television network is the documentary’s co-creator and narrator.

“The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” will detail events leading to the crime, which saw Scott Roeder, a militia enthusiast and loner who had no official connections with any pro-life organizations, shoot and kill the Kansas-based abortion practitioner.

Roeder admitted that he shot Tiller because he was not satisfied with the pace of prosecution Tiller for violations of state abortion laws. At the time he shot the late-term abortion practitioner, the state medical board was potentially close to revoking his medical license.

Roeder was eventually found guilty of first-degree murder.

MSNBC promotes its program this way:

“The MSNBC documentary includes interviews with eyewitnesses to the murder, trial footage of Roeder on the stand, never-before-seen video of Tiller talking about an attempt on his life, and an interview with Roeder’s ex-wife, Lindsey. She traces Roeder’s path from his anti-abortion stance to murder: his obsession with Paul Hill, the man convicted and executed for murdering Florida abortion provider John Britton, and his communication with Rachelle Shelly Shannon, the woman in prison for attempting to kill Tiller in 1993.”

In the documentary, Tiller’s co-workers lay the blame for his death at the feet of pro-life advocates, even though Roeder walked in a small circle of pro-violence extremists who are shunned and strongly opposed by pro-life groups and the majority of Americans who opposed abortion.

“The anti-abortionists who don’t carry guns definitely incite the ones who do,” Shelly Sella, one of Tiller’s fellow abortion practitioners who has her own history of legal problems and violations, will say in the show.

The Maddow-made documentary shows a clear attempt to pin blame for the shooting on the pro-life movement — or, at minimum, attempts to portray the movement as celebrating Tiller’s death.

“Scott Roeder was linked to a number of different political and protest groups,” she says Maddow. “One of the things that was hard to report on at the time was the widespread evidence of people celebrating the murder — it was all over the Web on Twitter, on Facebook, on blog comments. Those anecdotal observations didn’t necessarily fit into the daily news coverage of the murder — but it’s one of the things that stuck with me, that made me want to look into the story in more depth.”

“Anti-abortion forces have succeeded in restricting the availability of abortion through lots of means short of outright prohibition — everything from punitive regulations… to physical intimidation and harassment of abortion providers,” she adds.

The documentary specifically singles out Operation Rescue, the pro-life group that makes as its mission holding abortion practitioners like Tiller accountable for violating health and safety laws on abortion.

OR president Troy Newman agreed to be interviewed for the documentary, but he told MSNBC’s web site that he thinks it will be “heavily slanted” in favor of the pro-abortion side.

“Rachel Madow is a radical abortion apologist,” he said. “Her so-called documentary is a transparent attempt to smear every pro-life person with the broad brush of violence. Predictably, Madow is on a mission to frighten pro-abortion female voters into rejecting pro-life candidates in next week’s election.”

He said he expects her involvement “to take the film from a documentary standpoint to an editorial point of view.”

The program will also attempt to connect Roeder to the group — he had a slip of paper with OR’s phone number on it in his car. However, Roeder merely called for information about the status of the state’s legal case against Tiller and never volunteered for or was a staff member of the group.

Newman has said repeatedly that Roeder was not someone the group knew and has condemned his killing Tiller, especially since its efforts and those of other pro-life groups in the state, such as Kansans for Life, were getting close to stopping Tiller’s abortion business legally and peacefully.

The program is likely to spur the federal grand jury that is currently examining the case as abortion advocates want it to determine if there were more people involved in the shooting apart from Roeder.