By Diane Silver
Yup, blackmail works. Talk-show host Mike Gallagher is giving the Phelps and their family-run Westboro Baptist Church three hours on his radio show today. In exchange, they have vowed to refrain from picketing the funerals of those killed at Virginia Tech.
This is the second time Gallagher has done this to keep the Phelps from picketing. His explanation is here. Here's where to find his radio show.
I hear where he's coming from, but at the same time he is just giving them reasons to keep escalating. Every time they make a threat like this, they get air time. Why in heaven's name should they stop doing it? Why should they also top picketing funerals? This is a gold mine for the Phelps.
Actually, it's also a gold mine for Gallagher, who by the way, is also a Fox News contributor and gets a huge PR boost every time he does this.
The last time Gallagher turned over his show to Shirley Phelps was in 2006. That time the deal was that they would not picket the funerals of the Amish girls shot in their school. I agree with Richard Roeper, who wrote in 'o6 that this amounts to giving into spiritual terrorists.
What I find much more interesting and hopeful than Gallagher's stunt is the grassroots efforts of the nearly 45,000 individuals who signed an online petition against the Phelps.
Reading these people's comments gives me hope. Watching a radio host turn his show into a PR stunt and a platform for a spiritual terrorist does not.
PHOTO: Shirley Phelps with her favorite 9/11 sign.