How Wrong Was Michelle Goldberg About Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Bombing? UPDATE: ‘I Lit Up the Clinic,’ Suspect Told Police; Offers Guilty Plea at Hearing
Posted on | April 4, 2012 | 45 Comments
“Typically, we see an upsurge in anti-abortion violence . . . when the anti-abortion movement kind of thinks it was on the verge of victory, and then finds itself somehow thwarted. . . . When there’s frustration among the anti-abortion forces, violence often results.”
— Michelle Goldberg on MSNBC, April 2, 2012
What do we know about Francis Gerald Grady, the man police have charged with Sunday’s firebombing incident at a Planned Parenthood office in Grand Chute, Wisconsin? Not a whole lot yet.
The main thing we know about Grady, 50, is that he has a lengthy criminal record dating back at least to 1999, when he was charged with failing to pay $2,128 in taxes. In May 2000, Grady pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, Three years later, Grady was accused of violating a restraining order taken out by his extranged wife, Sally. Five years ago, in June 2007, Grady pleaded guilty to felony bail-jumping and failure to pay child support.
In July 2008, Grady was arrested for reckless driving with a revoked license — he had apparently been twice convicted of DUI — and pleaded no contest in April 2010. He was represented in that case by a public defender. In August 2010, Grady was charged with “resisting or obstructing an officer,” and pleaded guilty a year later, when he was sentenced to a year on probation.
Grady’s most recent offense, prior to the Planned Parenthood incident, was when he was arrested on Dec. 26 with resisting or obstructing an officer. The district attorney formally filed that charge on Friday — Grady was scheduled for a May 3 court appearance on the charge — and two days after the charge was filed, Grady is alleged to have attacked the Planned Parenthood office in Grand Chute.
Grady’s “bomb” was reportedly “built of a plastic bottle and chemicals that included an incendiary agent,” and was described in news accounts as a “small device” that did “minor damage” to the empty office. About an hour after that Sunday evening incident, Grady got into a traffic accident. He was subsequently identified as a suspect in the Planned Parenthood attack based on surveillance video.
This is most of what we know so far about Francis Gerald Grady, whose address is N4110 Highway E #1, Kaukauna, Wisconsin. If I had at my disposal the resources of a major news organization — such as MSNBC or the Daily Beast/Newsweek, which employs Michelle Goldberg — I believe I could dispatch a journalist to Outagamie County, Wisconsin, with an assignment to produce an in-depth feature on Grady, whose lengthy career as a petty criminal has finally brought him national notoriety.
In fact, unless I start seeing some such in-depth reporting PDQ, I might even be tempted to make that trip myself, and I guarantee you within 72 hours of my arrival in Outagamie County, I could produce a few thousand words with photos and videos that would be well worth the effort. But I’ve got other matters to attend to now. My wife and I still haven’t filed our taxes, and figuring up the travel expenses is going to be a time-consuming headache. Plus, there’s still a presidential campaign underway in nearby Pennsylvania, not to mention the fact that I’m going to have to deal with the hassles related to my recent campaign-trail encounter with the vigilant police officers of Livonia, Louisiana.
Michelle Goldberg and MSNBC, however, have no such excuse. On Monday night, MSNBC turned this Wisconsin incident into a politicized drama, with Goldberg contextualizing it as the “anti-abortion movement” feeling “thwarted,” with “frustration among the anti-abortion forces” leading to an “upsurge in anti-abortion violence.”
Really, Michelle? Now that police have a suspect in custody, are you going to follow up on that angle, and explain how Francis Gerald Grady exemplifies the phenomenon you described? Have the producers at MSNBC booked you for tonight, so you can talk about Grady as part of the “anti-abortion movement” and the Republican “War on Women”? Or have you already booked your flight to Wisconsin, so you can give Newsweek and MSNBC exclusive coverage from the scene of the crime?
Somehow, I don’t think we’re going to get any of that kind of actual journalism from Michelle Goldberg or Lawrence O’Donnell or anybody else in the liberal media who was so eager to jump to a preordained conclusion about this incident, playing a primetime propaganda game of pin-the-tail-on-the-Republican.
Hell, no, they won’t follow up. Goldberg, O’Donnell, MSNBC, Newsweek — now that there are actual facts to report, these worthless lying scoundrels are going to drop this story and flush it down the Memory Hole as if it never happened. They ought to be indicted for fraud merely for calling themselves “journalists.”
UPDATE: While I was working on this post, Nick Martin of Talking Points Media reported:
Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson said investigators in the case learned that Grady may have been involved in past protests at the office. The information was so far unconfirmed, Peterson said, but it is being looked at closely by the team of local and federal investigators handling the case.
“There was some indication that surfaced at some point that he has been involved in some of the demonstrations,” Peterson told TPM. But the chief described the information as coming from “someone who didn’t have direct knowledge,” so there was still more work to be done.
OK, so there is at least some secondhand hearsay pointing toward a connection between Grady and pro-life protests. I’ve made some phone calls, and intend to follow up on this angle. And it is with tremendous chagrin that I admit the necessity of hat-tipping . . . Charles Johnson.
Integrity: I got it. Like Paul F–king Anka, baby.
UPDATE II: Mark Leland of WLUK-TV reports that in his first court appearance today, Francis Grady offered to plead guilty and “also asked the judge if he knew how many babies were being killed at the clinic”:
According to the criminal complaint, Grady used a hammer to break a window of the clinic and then poured gasoline inside, lighting the room on fire.
After being arrested, the complaint states Grady admitted to officers, “I lit up the clinic.”
Grady appeared in court wearing a neck brace, and offering to plead guilty “today.”
The judge set a preliminary hearing for April 19.
UPDATE III: OK, there was no “bomb,” and this Grady character seems slightly deranged, judging from this account of his court hearing from Paul Srubas of the Green Bay Gazette:
Francis Grady, 50, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Sickel he planned to plead guilty, but Sickel ignored the statement and scheduled Grady for an April 19 preliminary hearing.
At one point, Grady interrupted him to ask, “Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?”
Grady told his lawyer, public defender Tom Phillip he was fired for interrupting Sickel, prompting a woman from the back of the courtroom to call out, “Shut up, Frankie.”
“My sister told me to shut up,” Grady said to Phillip. . . .
Outside the courtroom, Grady told a Green Bay Press-Gazette photographer, “I just want to give one wink to my girlfriend.” When a reporter asked him why he had planted a bomb at the clinic, Grady corrected him, saying, “There was no bomb, it was gasoline.” He said he did it because “they’re killing babies there.”
I just got off the phone with the Grand Chute police chief. I’ll have more news about this case later.
- April 4: Police Charge Career Criminal in Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Bombing
- April 3: BREAKING: Police Arrest Suspect in Planned Parenthood Bombing
- April 3: Question the Timing: Planned Parenthood Bombing Before Wisconsin Primary?