March 29, 2005
With their daughter not quite dead yet, the family of Terri Schiavo has sold a mailing list of their financial supporter to a conservative group that raises funds for anti-abortion and conservative causes. It’s all perfectly legal, just in appalling taste. Even supporters of the family are dismayed. The deal was brokered by Phil Sheldon, the son of the Rev. Lou Sheldon, one of the prime movers of the Christian political right wing. The company marketing the list, Response Unlimited said Robert Schindler, Ms. Schiavo’s father, agreed to rent the list as part of a seal to solicit money for the family, which undoubtedly has huge legal fees. Response Unlimited is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses, people who responded last month to a plea from Mr. Schindler. The New York Times story is full of great quotes. Pamela Hennessy, the woman who runs the Schindler’s web page as a volunteer, said “It is possibly the most distasteful thing I’ve ever seen. Everybody is making a buck off of her.” Richard Viguerie, the king of conservative direct-mail operators, said “I think it sounds a little unusual right now because of the situation where she is in the process of dying. If you came across this information six months or a year from now, I don’t think you would give it much thought.” The best quote comes from Robert Gellman, a consultant. “I think it’s amusing,” he said. “I think it is absolutely classic America. Everything is for sale in America...”
And just to show everything is normal, Jesse Jackson showed up today. Considering the number of television cameras around, one wonders what took him so long.