Maggie Gallagher's beginnings are something of a mystery. About the only personal information you find on any of her sites "biography" pages is that she graduated from Yale in 1982, that she has a husband and two kids (both boys according to Townhall.com), lives in Westchester, New York and is originally from Portland, Oregon. She's been a syndicated author with Universal Press Syndicate since 1995, she's written three books— all of them in some way dealing with marriage and the destruction of traditional marriage— which she views as a negative thing. However, her opinion column has been appearing in New York Newsday since January, 1993. And according to the National Journalism Center, Gallagher attended one of their programs in the summer of 1980. And she's Catholic.
Gallagher's forte, as it were, is the issue of marriage and why is must remain heterosexual. She defended Dr. Laura's remarks about homosexuals needing to be "helped" in a column back in March of 2000. She's done columns in an attempt to discredit studies done on gay parenting. (Strangely, her point seemed to be that most of the studies were invalid because of the size of the group studied— or at least that was the opinion of the one expert she cited.)
She's come at marriage from a whole lot of different angles trying to convince everyone that her way is the best way. And now she's even formed the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy (iMAPP.org), a new "think tank" that purports to discuss both sides of the issue. And the site does have statements from those who oppose Gallagher's point of view in the form of comments left by readers and Gallagher's rebuttals to those comments. In fact, the site almost has the feel of a bulletin board, although I'm not sure how much editing (if any) can or has been done to those who disagree with Gallagher. (This is not meant to cast doubt on her willingness to hear and/or present both sides.) Still, there is no doubt as to the intent of the site: to promote "traditional" marriage as the only option that is healthy for the continued existence of our nation— which just happens to be THE hot button issue for the radical religious right.
Gallagher is the most forthright of the mouthpieces when it comes to the link between religion and the Republican party. While I disagree with almost everything she writes, I do, on occasion, find myself agreeing with her, as I did on her column titled High Noon in little Havana about the Elian Gonzalez case.
She is also the least offensive in the sense that she doesn't stoop to the name-calling and mindless insults of the other mouthpieces. But that to me makes her one of the more dangerous because she can sound so reasonable. Whereas many people tend to view someone like Michael Savage at an extremist and take everything he says with a grain (or better yet, an entire shaker) of salt, Gallagher plays Mary Poppins and sugar-coats the message in the hopes of getting you to swallow it.
In one of her own stories, she speaks about the "63 million parents (58 percent of whom are either independent or "weak" Democrats or Republicans)[who] have the potential to swing elections." These are the people that mouthpieces like Maggie Gallagher will influence. 63 million parents is about 40 times the paying membership of the Christian Coaltion (according to their statistics— others put the number more like half a million.) That's a lot of votes. Gallagher is, in my humble opinion, a master (or mistress, I supposed) of spin. She wraps things in pretty packages so that when you agree with her and swallow what she's handing you, you don't realize you just took a dose of something that will take your own life.
But Gallagher is not a stranger to her own controversy. It was revealed in January, 2005, that Gallagher had been paid more than $20,000 to write articles defending and supporting the Bush administrations initiative to strengthen families by promoting marriage. That was back in 2002. And she never revealed it in any of her columns supporting this initiative. Turns out she was one of at least three syndicated columnists who were, at some point in time, on the Bush administration payroll, hawking Bush administration policies. But her lack of disclosure is tantamount to deception and one has to wonder how many other columnists out there who unwaveringly support the Bush administration are (or were) on the misadministration's payrolls.
Why, when the actions of these mouthpieces go so against the grain of the American ideals, when their hypocrisy is exposed over and over again, do so many people still listen to and— worse yet— believe them? For an answer to that, please continue to read my thoughts on the issue.
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