KU profs talk about Phelps, Bush

¢ KU journalism professor Rick Musser tells the Baltimore Sun the Westboro Baptist Church lost its shock value in Topeka, and that’s why “they took their show on the road.”Musser wrote a chapter about the church in the 1999 book “Culture Wars & Local Politics.”_All of which the church just lapped up. With almost all of founder Fred Phelps’ 13 children having law degrees -Phelps himself is a disbarred attorney – they could take on all comers at little expense._”They don’t accrue legal costs,” Musser said. “They know how to string things out.”Eventually, they lost much of the power to shock in Topeka, Musser said. Their fliers, their faxes, their name-calling became routine around town, he said, so “they took their show on the road.””They’ve always looked for ways to heighten their profile,” he said.¢ Diana Carlin, a communications professor at KU, tells the Los Angeles Times says President Bush’s decision to preview a speech to reporters in an informal setting is a way to endear himself to the media.In a story today, she says Bush “doesn’t have a lot of time to salvage his administration, and the media is the conduit for how the rest of us view him.”