“Do you believe in the sanctity of human life? Do you believe in traditional marriage? If so, according to Chris Graham, you are as bad as Heinrich Himmler!” a local blogger informed a regular New Dominion and Augusta Free Press advertiser in an e-mail that the advertiser in turn forwarded to me this evening.
And … here we go again.
The blogger in question is Bill Dolack, whose website, not unironically named The Valley Truth, has a particular fixation with the fight of the civil-rights battles of gays/lesbians/transgenders. Dolack is also the editor of The Valley American, a conservative monthly newspaper published by former New Dominion/Augusta Free Press sales manager Mike Hodge, and an employee at Response Unlimited, a Waynesboro-based mail-order firm that specializing in political marketing efforts aimed at conservative and Christian voting blocs, with a past client list, according to its company website, that includes such conservative stalwarts as Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan.
The company came under fire in 2005 after it was disclosed that it had been authorized by the parents of the late Terry Schiavo to sell the list of people who had donated to the cause aimed at keeping the comatose Florida woman on life support.
It’s not a surprise that we have become a target of the vast reaches of the far right. In fact, it’s not the first time that a local employee of Response Unlimited has undertaken an effort to contact our advertisers to try to persuade them to pull their marketing dollars from our publications. Back in the fall of ’08, Response Unlimited employee Bruce Ketchum sent a similar round of e-mails to advertisers after posting a threatening comment on a forum thread on the AugustaFreePress.com website that led to his banishment from participating in AFP forums.
The Dolack e-mail cites a column in the June issue of The New Dominion Magazine on the move of Comcast to reserve two basic-cable channel slots for the conservative Inspiration Network and claims that the intent of the column was to “censor Christian programming in the Augusta County area.”
The e-mail later takes issue with a recent column on AugustaFreePress.com critical of a report in the News Leader on right-wing radio host Janet Parshall.
“Now, I don’t know about you, but this anti-Christian hate from Chris Graham is wrong, but it will continue as long as he’s provided with the advertising dollars to keep publishing,” Dolack wrote in the e-mail.
This, unfortunately, is the kind of thing that we have to deal with from time to time being progressive-minded in what used to be the bright-red Valley. In our case, we say it’s wrong for somebody to condemn gays and lesbians to hell, to cast into the brimstone those who support women’s reproductive freedoms, even something as basic as the local cable provider effectively proselytizing a narrow view of Christianity, and they’re trying to silence us.
Don’t let them.
– Story by Chris Graham