THE RIGHTEOUS STUFF

IN THE MID-'80S, ASU WAS THE LAUNCHING PAD FOR THEIR CONSERVATIVE VITRIOL. NOW THEY'VE GRADUATED TO THE REAL WORLD.

In his days at the State Press, Scully defended former president Richard M. Nixon. In fact, a couple of years back, Scully took it upon himself to right a wrong he felt had been done to Spiro Agnew, Nixon's first vice president. Scully learned that Agnew was the only former vice president who had not been honored by the placement of a bust of his likeness in the U.S. Capitol.

The Washington Post credited Scully with bringing attention to the situation, after the young writer championed Agnew in the National Review and the decision was made to commission a bust of Agnew. The credit should not necessarily be construed as favorable, according to the Post, which editorialized: "In fact, the documents filed as part of Mr. Agnew's plea bargain dealt with garden-variety corruption of the type for which many a county supervisor and local government official has done prison time."

Scully counters, "Agnew is not a bad guy. It seems like a kind of petty slight to a man who was, after all, a vice president. . . . I figured here was something nice I could do for him."

What a kind, thoughtful person Scully is--a man willing to forgive the transgressions of others.

Don't mention it to Mark Reader, who became the subject of national news reports in 1985 when Scully--via Accuracy in Academia (an offshoot of the equally conservative media watchdog organization Accuracy in Media)--made Reader his first target. The former State Press-er had never made a secret of his intense distaste for Reader's politics, primarily Reader's distaste for the nuclear industry. As a columnist, Scully had written, "Leave aside the fact that what Professor Reader teaches simply isn't true. The point is that even if he were a visionary, even if nuclear war were imminent and the Soviets were beautiful people, it would not be Professor Reader's place to spend every class period mouthing these inspired prophecies."

Reader was vindicated--first by the New York Times and ASU's administration and later by the Chernobyl disaster, which he says proved his point that nuclear power poses incredible dangers. But not until Reader had faced a great deal of unpleasantness, including death threats.

Scully now says he's not so sure that the group's tactics--quashing free thought--were on the mark. He's not even sure AIA is still in existence. (It is.)

Anyhow, he adds, "I'm miscast as a critic of modern education because I never even gave it much thought while I was there. What I learned I learned from reading on my own."

Scully never graduated from college. He "wandered out" in 1985, jumping from job to job: researcher for then-governor Ev Mecham, cop reporter for the Prescott Courier, press secretary for U.S. Senate candidate Keith DeGreen, business reporter for the conservative Washington Times and literary critic for the National Review. And how did the onetime national director of Accuracy in Academia feel about writing speeches for then-vice president Dan Quayle--the man who directed a group of young students to misspell the word "potato"? "Oh, come on now," Scully says reproachfully. "That was actually a very sad moment with Quayle. Things were going very well before that." Now Scully has landed another gig at National Review, this time as a television columnist.

@rule:
@body:In 1985, as editor of the State Press, Len Munsil fought abortion, homosexuality and pornography. Today his mission is identical--only now, instead of limiting his scope to the student body of ASU, Munsil sees himself as fighting for "the good of the community, the state and the country."

He is director of the Phoenix-based National Family Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm that helps law enforcement officials across the nation prosecute child pornography and obscenity cases, and in enacting ordinances targeting sexually oriented businesses.

The name may have changed (four times, in fact), but the National Family Legal Foundation is clearly connected with Charles Keating and his original antiporn organization, Citizens for Decent Literature, founded in 1957 in Ohio.

Heiler also spent a summer during law school as a clerk for the organization. Munsil says the "unfortunate aspect" of having Keating's name associated with the NFLF is "it affected the whole attempt to regulate sexually oriented businesses and the fight against child pornography and obscenity. . . . The people who were involved in that believed strongly in the cause, and Mr. Keating had very little to do with it."

Not so. Charles Keating was Citizens for Decent Literature (later Citizens for Decency Through Law, then the Children's Legal Foundation), an organization identical in its description to the National Family Legal Foundation. Up until Keating's demise in 1989, NFLF fund-raising letters were sent out in his name. His sons-in-law packed the board of directors. The significance? Keating's war against obscenity was fought with tainted money; further, some of the money raised for legitimate purposes never made it to the intended source. According to press reports through the years, Keating used his antiporn organization as a fund-raising tool for his questionable business dealings. He also reportedly poured money from Lincoln Savings and Loan and American Continental Corporation into the coffers of his antiporn organization.

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1 comments
ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

You know that Keating had the largest collection of porn in the world - he used to show it off at his private parties.  I'm guessing he passed that on to Scully.

 
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