Media Turns Story about Wiccan Counselor into Witch Hunt

Dan Halloran of Queens caught trying to buy mayoral seat
by Sarah Lyons
Staff Eye of Newt

City Councilman Dan Halloran
City Councilman Dan Halloran

There are two obvious facts in the case of Dan Halloran, the District 19 City Counsel Official from Queens who recently tried to rig the mayoral race. The most obvious is that Dan Halloran is an asshole.

Halloran was arrested on April 2 under charges that he and his friend, State Senator Malcolm Smith, tried to bribe their way into Bloomberg’s soon-to-be-vacated seat. Halloran has supposedly been collecting bribes on behalf of his friend from politicians like the Bronx Democratic Assemblyman Eric Stevenson down through politicians in Manhattan and Queens. The arrest has exposed a web of bribes amongst the city’s local politicians, not just for the mayoral seat, but in local bribes as well, and is no doubt going to cause an even greater shake up in New York’s political landscape than the resignation of Bloomberg. Dan Halloran seems pretty guilty of all the charges being put before him, acting as the go between and “bag man” for State Sen. Smith, as well as collecting $18,000 in bribes for himself. Both the FBI and the NYPD are claiming they have more than enough evidence to convict him, and in the mind of the public, he seems like the kind of person who would do something like this anyway, which brings me back to my first point: Halloran is an asshole. I personally won’t be sad to see him go. From a campaign fraught with racism for his former seat, to allegations of sexual harassment, Dan Halloran has some skeletons in his closet. This brings me to my second point: The media is full of assholes.

There is something I left out of the above story (because it doesn’t matter) that might intrigue you. Dan Halloran, until his arrest, was the highest elected Pagan in the US. The media seem to think this matters a lot because they have spent more time covering how silly Halloran looks practicing his faith than actually covering what he did wrong in the first place. A wonderful quote that comes to mind is one from the New York Post, which called Halloran “a total bonehead in his kooky heathen religion— whose members wear medieval garb, make sacrifices to multiple gods and compete in combat games.” You know who else wears medieval garb? Catholics. But I guess they get a pass. However, don’t think that right-wing bottom feeders are the only ones guilty of this douchbaggery. The Village Voice featured a humiliating comic of Halloran on the front page last year. In it, he drunkenly sacrifices a goat. And Gawker recently made an “epic poem” in the style of Norse Myth to “honor” him. The list of news outlets concentrating on the “weird” aspects of Halloran’s faith, rather than his criminal actions is disheartening.

I get it guys, really I do. Paganism looks really silly. They worship gods that you learned about in 5th grade history, some of them dress like they are going to a renaissance fair, and the more annoying amongst them really do just want to live out their Lord of the Rings fantasies in real life. But, you know what? When the issue at hand isn’t how stupid some politician’s private life looks to you, it’s not your job to go pointing it out. I know these run-of-the-mill scandals must get boring, and that the fat libertarian praying to Odin just seemed too tempting not to pick on, but it’s time to back it up and actually report on the news for a change.

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