And perhaps Mr. Williams' true sin was that he voiced his opinion on Fox News. After all -- as conservative shows and websites have recounted with relish -- NPR reporter Nina Totenberg regularly goes far beyond subtle cultural bias, praising left-wing politicians and policies and sharing opinions about the very Supreme Court cases she covers. She even opined once that, if there is "retributive justice," Sen. Jesse Helms or one of his grandchildren "will get AIDS from a transfusion."Ruth Ann is hoping that you won't check her work and that you'll just assume that Totenberg said what Ruth Ann says she said.
On it's face, it looks bad for Nina. What sort of person would even allow AIDS level suffering on another human being? And anyway when did this happen?
Let's go to the video:
And now we're getting somewhere. It was July of 1995. In trashing Totenberg for her, at the very least, inartful words, does Ruth Ann or anyone even wonder why they were talking about Jesse Helms like that in early July of 1995?
Perhaps it was this article in the New York Times.
Senator Jesse Helms, the North Carolina Republican who has vigorously fought homosexual rights, wants to reduce the amount of Federal money spent on AIDS sufferers, because, he says, it is their "deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct" that is responsible for their disease.The Congress was looking to reauthorize the Ryan White Care Act of 1990 and the gay-hating Helms was getting in the way:
Moreover, he argues, AIDS is only the ninth-leading cause of death in America but accounts for more Federal financing than diseases that kill more people (an assertion not supported by Public Health Service figures).
"We've got to have some common sense, " Mr. Helms maintained in an interview, "about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts."
Despite broad bipartisan support for the measure in both houses of Congress, it appears stalled. In the Senate, the bill has cleared the committee level but has yet to reach the floor. This is in large measure due to Senator Helms, given the latitude any single member of the Senate has to tie up proceedings.Now look again at what he said. He was looking to reduce federal funding because AIDS sufferers are suffering because it is their "deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct". Meaning anal-sex, of course.
Nevermind that Ryan White contracted the disease through tainted blood products.
According to the HRSA, the act:
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is the largest Federal program focused exclusively on HIV/AIDS care. The program is for individuals living with HIV/AIDS who have no health insurance (public or private), have insufficient health care coverage, or lack financial resources to get the care they need for their HIV disease. As such, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program fills gaps in care not covered by other funding sources.That's what Senator Helms was holding up in July of 1995. AIDS sufferers who couldn't afford health care would have some options they might not otherwise have. Jesse Helms wanted some of them to suffer because he was disgusted by anal sex. Had he succeeded, Ruth Ann, how much more human suffering would there have been directly attributed to his disgust?
It's not something I would've said, but perhaps that's why Nina Totenberg said that "if there's retributive justice he'll get AIDS through a transfusion." Helms' own hatred would have furthered human suffering.
Jesse Helms was a mean bastard.