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                   ...No Forgiving Charlton Heston

Clooney’s offense took place a few years back. According to Life Site News, “For his
conservative stands, however, Heston was attacked and reviled by his Hollywood
colleagues. In 2003 actor and leftist political activist George Clooney joked about
Heston’s illness [Alzheimer’s disease], and, after Heston criticized him for the remark, he
retorted, ‘I don’t care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Association. He
deserves whatever anyone says about him.’”

    Making fun of somebody with Alzheimer’s disease and feeling
    no remorse is about as low as it gets, but it isn’t all that
    surprising in this case. To Clooney, Heston’s embrace of
    conservative orthodoxy on the Second Amendment made him
    subhuman, not even deserving of the most basic courtesies.

    A person like Clooney can only dream of rivaling Charlton
    Heston’s life accomplishments. Let’s leave aside the leading
    roles in some of the greatest movies ever made, the acting
    laurels and the celebrity, and look at the man:

  • Married to his college sweetheart, Lydia, for 64 years.
  • Beloved father of two successful children, one a Hollywood director.
  • Unabashed Christian and church attender.
  • First among his peers; President of the Screen Actors Guild a record six terms.
  • Served his country in World War II as a B-25 crewman.  
  • Campaigner for civil rights; protested as early as 1961, long before it became
    popular, and marched on Washington alongside Dr. Martin Luther King.
  • Protector of the unborn; provided the introduction for Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s
    great pro-life film, Silent Scream.  
  • Champion of public decency; shamed Time Warner into dropping rapper Ice-T’s
    contract because of his song celebrating the murder of police officers.
  • Defender of individual liberty; President of the National Rifle Association.

Ask Heston which of his accomplishments he treasured most, and he’d probably point to
this tribute from his family: “Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life….
We knew him as an adoring husband, a kind and devoted father, and a gentle
grandfather with an infectious sense of humor. He served these far greater roles with
tremendous faith, courage and dignity.”

Sadly, many in the liberal news media wear ideological blinders that render them
incapable of appreciating the entirety of Charlton Heston. Some journalists can only see
Heston waving a musket in the air at the 2000 NRA convention and growling, “Out of my
cold, dead hands.” They regard Heston’s pro-gun stance as beyond the pale, as if it
were morally reprehensible to stand up for our Constitutional right to keep and bear
arms. Heston’s death this past Saturday has allowed them to express hostility similar in
kind, if not in tone or degree, to Clooney.  

  • ABC’s Barbara Walters:  “He is very controversial or was because of his support
    of NRA.”
  • ABC’s Dan Harris: “As President of the National Rifle Association, he became one
    of the most polarizing figures in American politics.”
  • CBS’s Russ Mitchell: “Once the quintessential big screen hero, in his later years
    he drew as much attention for his controversial politics.”
  • AP’s David Germain: a “fierce gun-rights advocate.”
  • Not “principled” or “passionate,” but “fierce.” Charlton Heston was “polarizing” and
    “controversial” because he refused to toe the line of political correctness.

I met Heston once, in an elevator on the
way to a gathering of Hollywood
conservatives. No, the meeting wasn’t
held in the elevator. Instead of asking
how he parted the Red Sea, I brought
up a Second Amendment essay he’d
recently written. Engaging his mind,
rather than his celebrity, delighted him.  
He was affable, unpretentious and witty,
and he clearly had the courage of his

After forcing Time Warner to cut its ties with Ice-T over the Cop Killer album, Heston
quipped, “Still, I’m proud of what I did, though now I’ll surely never be offered another
film by Warner, or get a good review from
Time. On the other hand, I doubt I’ll get a
traffic ticket very soon.” Now there’s a man Kipling would be proud of.  

This weekend you won’t catch me dead at that Clooney movie. I think I’ll head for the
rifle range instead, then crank up the home theater and enjoy my brand new DVD of
Ben Hur.  
Brian Fitzpatrick is
Senior Editor of the
Culture and Media
Institute, a division of the
Media Research Center.

He joined the staff of the
Culture and Media
Institute in October 2006
as Senior Editor. In his
first week on the job,
Fitzpatrick wrote
“Tempting Target: Media
Try to Persuade
Conservatives to Stay
Home,” for Human Events
Online. Rush Limbaugh
cited the column on
October 23, 2006, giving
CMI immediate notoriety.

Fitzpatrick is the former
editorial director for Salem
Corporation, the nation’s
largest religious radio
broadcasting company,
where he supervised the
company’s editorial board.

As executive director of
Accuracy in Academia,
Fitzpatrick wrote news
stories, editorials and
commentaries about free
speech and academic
freedom on American
college campuses. He
quadrupled the
circulation of Accuracy in
Academia’s newspaper,
Campus Report, and
expanded the number of
participating universities
from 100 to over 500,
giving AIA a truly national

Fitzpatrick has a B.A. in
Government from
Dartmouth College, and a
Biblical Studies
Certificate from Capital
Bible Seminary.
My grandfather, a college football
star, played for the NFL champion
Providence Steam Roller back in
1928, so this weekend I was looking
forward to seeing George Clooney’s
new 1920s football movie,
Leatherheads. That’s before I found
out how Clooney, like many lefties in
Hollywood and the news media, had
treated the late Charlton Heston.
Charlton Heston (1923-2008), played larger
than life characters, drew hostility for
politically incorrect stands
Click on the image for
more information
about Brian Fitzpatrick
and the Culture and
Media Institute.