the only site on the web devoted exclusively to intellectual conservatism.
We find the most intriguing information and bring it together on
one page for you.
Links we recommend
Link to us
Free email update
What's New & Interesting
Have They No
by Timothy Rollins, The American Partisan
30 March 2003
With a $1.2 million home in
Salt Lake City's Federal Heights section, it's not as if the Smarts needed
money from People Magazine. If you ask me, I call it greed.
You knew it
was going to happen -- you just knew. After saying the family
needed their 'private time' -- which they justifiably did -- you
knew that somewhere, somehow, the Smart family (right) was going
to go public with their story. But did they go on FOX Television's
Newsmagazine or ABC's 20/20? What about 48 Hours on CBS or Dateline
on NBC? After all, any of these shows would have gladly given
the family the full hour, or even a two-hour special to tell their
story of what Elizabeth went through while in nine months of captivity
under the influence of Brian David Mitchell and his fellow nutcase
Wanda Barzee, Stockholm Syndrome and all.
But no, television was not the avenue for them. Why? Because they
found out something I've long known. As one who is called upon
to offer expert analysis on television and radio myself, the Smarts
discovered what I learned, in that television does not pay for
stories like these -- especially if these stories can benefit
others by helping them take a few extra precautions that can in
turn help save lives -- including their own. Print media, on the
other hand, does pay, especially the glossy magazines with their
huge advertising budgets and even larger subscriber bases. Then
you factor in the over-the-counter sales to customers in the checkout
lanes of supermarkets, and you have yourself a sizeable pie, of
which I'm sure the Smarts (and/or their lawyers) negotiated themselves
a nice slice of. Perhaps that is why they sold the print rights
to PEOPLE in the first place.
If you ask me, I call it greed. It's not like they need the money.
With a $1.2 million home in the Federal Heights section of Salt
Lake City (I've been there - it's a REALLY NICE neighborhood),
the family undoubtedly already either has health insurance most
Americans only dream of, or existing funds to pay for whatever
counseling Elizabeth will need in the days, weeks and months ahead.
And the closer I look at the article, the less it seems to focus
on Elizabeth's ordeal in captivity as its real center and I get
an even more sickening the feeling that the ordeal Elizabeth has
suffered hasn't really ended, but only changed gears.
From the ruthlessness of being taken hostage by an obviously deranged
kidnapper with delusions of grandeur (Mitchell thought he was
a prophet), to now being callously exploited/pimped by her parents
for commercial gain (People Magazine article, book deals, movie
of the week, etc.), one can never know what will come next.
Remember Samantha Smith? In 1983, the young lady from Maine sent
then-Soviet leader Yuri Andropov a letter asking him why he wanted
to conquer the world -- or at least the United States. Touched
by the genuineness of her letter, Andropov replied that wasn't
his intent and invited her and her family to visit him in Moscow.
The result was not only overnight fame, but a trip to Hollywood
where she did a guest spot on ABC's "Charles in Charge," which
in turn led to a starring role on "Lime Street," some episodes
of which were completed but never aired due to her death in an
August 1985 plane crash in Maine while on a break during filming.
Could Mommie and Daddy Dearest be setting their little girl up
in the vain hopes of making her the next disposable child star?
A cross between Samantha Smith and Macaulay Culkin of sorts? Let's
hope not. I most certainly pray this is not the case here, as
no child should be made to endure two major traumas. For while
it does not sound like Elizabeth ran away from home but was indeed
forcibly kidnapped, it does sound like there are a lot of holes
in the conflicting stories that are coming out of the Smart compound
-- enough to drive a Mack truck through and certainly more holes
than you would find in a Steven Spielberg script.
The more I look at Ed and Lois Smart, what I see in increasing
doses smacks more of opportunism than anything else. Had that
been my child (I have three children 21 to 7), the last thing
I would be doing is talking to People Magazine -- and I could
desperately use the money. The Smarts sure as hell don't need
the bucks and neither does Elizabeth if that's the excuse they're
Greed. Opportunism. Exploitation. Pimping. Call it what you want.
All I know is that it makes me want to puke.
UPDATE: On April 21st, I received a letter from Chris Thomas,
the Smart family spokesperson indicating that at no time was there
any compensation received for the story in PEOPLE magazine, and
that the interviews given on television were limited in scope
and nature, and that the parents had not been personally interviewed
themselves for that story. In addition, other family members who
had been interviewed were also not compensated. A full copy of
that letter can be viewed in Reader's
Corner, for which I thank both Mr. Thomas and the Smart family
for the clarification they offered.
Email Timothy Rollins
Send this Article to a Friend