This is a sharp regular obit, generous, even. I am glad she lived long enough to die in a country where the majority had come to reject her obsessive hatreds and dire prophecies. But from the start I was horrified about her success with the media.
It began with coverage of lefties (though I did not know this at the time). Rabid Weathermen made for more zesty quotes than grounded anti-war protestors and I have to feel that the reasoning was “hey, the Pop Stalinists didn’t take over the world, so why not give the hoo-hah reactionary crazies the same exposure?” Because the Pop Stalinists didn’t have enormously powerful figures to use them as channels for ideology. They really were the outcast jokes the smug feminists assumed Schlafly would always be.
So Schlafly became famous because she was louder and loonier. And that gets down to the basic reason journalists have a responsibility to quote only those who know what the shit they’re talking about: quoting nutjobs is not just poor professionalism — it’s immoral.