The Tiller Murder

The Tiller Murder:  The Hypocrisy of the Media Exposed

By Christopher Clukey


 On May 31, shots rang out and three men fell. One’s death touched off a media and political firestorm, while the others were quickly forgotten…along with tens of thousands of murder victims who are also part of this story.


At an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, two recent graduates from Army basic training, Privates William Long and Quinton Ezeagwula, were gunned down by Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, an American convert to Islam. Long died at the age of 23, and Ezeagwula was wounded. They had been at the office speaking to potential recruits. They had trained for the battlefield, but the battlefield came to them at home.


Earlier that day, George Tiller had also met his end. Tiller had performed abortions at his practice in Wichita, Kansas since the early Seventies. His facility was one of the few that performed abortions all the way through the third trimester of pregnancy. At a conference sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation and held at the offices of the National Education Association in Washington, DC, Tiller even admitted that he had performed abortions up to the day before the mother’s due date. It’s estimated that Tiller performed approximately 60,000 abortions over the course of his career. For this reason, pro-life groups and commentators focused on Tiller as an example of the worst  a despicable industry had to offer.


Tiller was serving as an usher at his church in Wichita when he was fatally shot in the head at point blank range. Police had a suspect in custody by the end of the day, but the media were just getting started.


The abortionist’s murder “was a top story for three days” in the words of Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier, but there was little coverage of a terrorist attack against American troops on American soil. An analysis of the coverage by Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times, published on the Friday following the shootings, found that:


A Google News search on the term returned “George Tiller” brought up 10,000 hits, while searching on “William Long” brought up about 1,400.

A LexisNexis search on “abortion doctor” and “recruiter” returned 98 stories on Tiller and six on Long and Ezeagwula.

“Every day from Sunday to Wednesday, the Associated Press moved three to six different-bylined stories mentioning the Tiller slaying. On no day has it moved more than one separate story on the Long killing.”

The Washington Post had published 28 stories on the Tiller’s murder and 5 on the Long- Ezeagwula shooting.


In many of these stories and the commentaries that also flooded America’s news outlets, Tiller was glorified for his (in the words of the New York Times) “principled devotion to women’s health and constitutionally protected rights,” among other things. No mainstream media outlets mentioned that he had become a millionaire by performing high cost abortions, nor did they mention Christin Gilbert, the 19 year old woman with Down Syndrome who died of sepsis after her late-term pregnancy was aborted by Tiller’s clinic. Since they didn’t report on Gilbert’s death, they also didn’t mention the fact that Tiller and fellow abortionist LeRoy Carhart invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying to a grand jury about the care Gilbert received the day she died. Meanwhile, little was said about the heroism of two young men who just by signing up to be soldiers had declared they were willing to give their lives to protect the lives and rights of people they didn’t even know…people like LeRoy Carhart for instance.


Stranger still, the press took it as a matter of fact that Tiller’s death was caused by anti-abortion rhetoric, but did not even ask what role the religious and political views of Muhammad might have played in his decision to kill recruiters. Though bizarre, broad and completely unsupported accusations against the pro-life movement abounded, the media’s shots against individual organizations and commentators was even more bizarre. USA Today published a flagship editorial blaming Operation Rescue and Randall Terry specifically for Tiller’s death, even though the man had never worked with OR and the organization has preached non-violence for decades. Keith Olbermann told his tiny audience that pro-life activist Jill Stanek was “the worst person in the world” because she had published photos of the filthy environs of  Carhart’s clinic. Olbermann claimed Stanek was trying to get Carhart assassinated by revealing the location of his workplace, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that Carhart spends thousands of dollars in advertising each year to tell people where his clinic is so he can have their business.


Olbermann was one of many commentators who accused Bill O’Reilly of causing Tiller’s death by referring to him as “Tiller the Killer” and reporting occasionally on his show about Tiller’s activities and legal troubles. None of these commentators could point to any falsehoods in O’Reilly’s segments, or point to any reason it was beyond the pale to call a man a “killer” when he made a living stopping the hearts of small children, so they were basically saying that O’Reilly was responsible for Tiller’s death because he had told the truth. For that matter, most, if not all, of the truths O’Reilly reported were publically available.


The media also seemed to take it for granted that anti-abortion violence is a huge and frequent problem.  True, killing Tiller or any other abortionist is, murder, a wrong and inherently hypocritical action for a pro-lifer. But consider this: In the 36 years since abortion was decriminalized, four abortionists and four other clinic workers have been killed by abortion opponents who chose to turn to murder. Tens of millions of people are oppsed to abortion, yet they are so inclined to violence that they have, in the better part of four decades, killed fewer people than the number killed in 23 minutes by two high school boys in the infamous Columbine shootings. More to the point, they have killed half as many people in that time than home grown Islamic terrorists have killed in the eight years since the 9/11 attacks. 


None of these logical gymnastics would have been necessary if the media analyzed the motives of Muhammad, who said he shot the recruiters because of American military actions since 9/11 that he claimed were a war on Muslims. Here the media had a man who had adopted as his middle name a word meaning “wariror for Islam,” who had explained exactly why he had decided to commit terrorism on American soil, but they never bothered to ask who had influenced him. What sort of preaching was he hearing? Was his mosque radical, or was he radicalized by Internet preaching or underground videos? If Randall Terry and other pro-lifers had to explain the murder of Tiller, why was no explanation demanded for Muhammad’s action from people like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, who had respectively called Iraqi terrorists “freedom fighters” and “Minutemen?” Why no questions for Congressman Jack Murtha, who acted as a one man jury to convict Marines of mass murder at Haditha, or Senator Dick Durbin, who compared U.S. military interrogators to Nazis and KGB gulag guards? Why no questions about their own coverage?


How would the media cover and describe anyone who considered every Muslim in American a full partner in Muhammad’s crime? They would be called a bigot, and rightly so. Yet they slandered tens of millions of Americans who would never advance their cause through violence.


Privates Long and Ezeagwula were disregarded by the media as they stampeded over their story to make silly political points. But surely their Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama, would have a kind word to say about their sacrifice, or something stern to say against the man who had gunned them down. No. On the day Tiller died, Obama issued a statement saying he was “shocked and outraged by the murder” and rightly called it a “heinous” act. But he issued no such statement about the two men under his command slaughtered by a terrorist, not that day or on the following Tuesday when he introduced his nominee for Secretary of the Army. On Wednesday, Obama began a tour of the Middle East and Europe, giving a speech on Thursday in Cairo which apologized to the Muslim world for American policy during the past eight years. Almost three months have passed, but he has still not commented on the murder of William Long.


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