[Paleopsych] NYT: List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm
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Tue Mar 29 16:06:36 UTC 2005
List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Direct-Marketing Firm
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: March 29, 2005
WASHINGTON, March 28 - The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a
conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial
supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her
plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from
anti-abortion and conservative groups.
"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal
battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding
tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of
the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000
names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who
responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father.
"These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life,
adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the
Privacy experts said the sale of the list was legal and even
predictable, if ghoulish.
"I think it's amusing," said Robert Gellman, a privacy and information
policy consultant. "I think it's absolutely classic America.
Everything is for sale in America, every type of personal
Executives of Response Unlimited declined to comment. Gary McCullough,
director of the Christian Communication Network and a spokesman for
Ms. Schiavo's parents, confirmed that Mr. Schindler had agreed to let
Response Unlimited rent out the list as part of a deal for the firm to
send an e-mail solicitation raising money on the family's behalf.
The Schindlers have waged a lengthy legal battle against their
son-in-law Michael Schiavo to prevent the removal of the feeding tube
from their daughter, who doctors say is in a persistent vegetative
Mr. McCullough said he was present when Mr. Schindler agreed to the
arrangement in a conversation with Phil Sheldon, the co-founder of a
conservative online marketing organization, RightMarch.com, who
acted as a broker for Response Unlimited.
"So the Schindlers do know the details," Mr. McCullough said on
Monday. How much attention they paid to the matter is hard to assess,
he added. "The Schindlers right now know that their daughter is
starving to death, and if I ask about anything else, they say, 'I
don't want to hear about it.' "
Direct mail and mass e-mailings are ubiquitous fund-raising tools of
interest groups on the left as well as the right, and others in the
direct-mail business defended the sale of lists like the roster of
donors to the Schindlers as a useful way for potential donors to learn
of causes that might appeal to them.
Pamela Hennessy, an unpaid spokeswoman for the Schindlers, said she
was initially appalled when she learned of the list's existence.
"It is possibly the most distasteful thing I have ever seen," Ms.
Hennessy said. "Everybody is making a buck off of her."
Ms. Hennessy, who operates the Schindlers' Web site,
www.terrisfight.org, said the family had not released any of the
names or e-mail addresses gathered there. "Obviously these people are
enterprising, and they are taking advantage of this very desperate
father," she said.
On Sunday, as the Schindlers gave up on their legal battle and their
daughter passed her 10th day without food, others continued to rally
supporters and solicit money in an effort to restore the feeding tube.
"This time, we have a real chance to break through the 'roadblocks'
that the enemies of life have been putting up in front of us," said a
mass e-mailing from RightMarch.com, asking supporters to urge Gov. Jeb
Bush to intervene somehow.
The message added: "We're asking you to give a donation to help with
our activism efforts to save Terri's life. Battles cost money;
resources cost money; media costs money; we could go on, but you get
Mr. Sheldon - whose father, the Rev. Lou Sheldon, founder of the
Traditional Values Coalition, has also sent appeals urging support for
Ms. Schiavo - apparently played a dual role as a partner in
RightMarch.com, which is working with the anti-abortion activist
Randall Terry, and as a broker for Response Unlimited. Mr. Sheldon did
not respond to phone calls yesterday.
"I think it sounds a little unusual right now because of the situation
where she is in the process of dying," said Richard Viguerie, another
major conservative direct-mail operator. "If you came across this
information six months or a year from now, I don't think you would
give it too much thought."
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