Politico's Alexander Burns Trips and Falls in 'Correction' of Gingrich About Abortion Bias

Politico's Alexander Burns came out of Wednesday night's debate eager to "correct" Newt Gingrich for whapping CNN moderator John King for asking about contraception yet again (through the device of "hey, I have a question here from the audience.") Gingrich replied: “You did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide.”

Burns claimed that was wrong, and found an example (or...actually, he didn't):

MRC reported in 2008 that the media glossed over Obama's abortion record as they scorched Sarah Palin for her pro-life beliefs.

The reference was to Obama’s vote in the Illinois state Senate against a measure banning late-term abortions. The audience cheered and neither King nor Gingrich’s opponents challenged the assertion. But of course, Obama was asked about the vote during the 2008 campaign. It was a major source of criticism. Only one example is this interview Obama gave to “Fox News Sunday” in April of that year, during which he explained his views like so:

On an issue like partial-birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I've said is we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn't have that.

Not that that will take away from Gingrich scoring points by attacking the hated media

But the "hated media" sometimes ought to read the transcript twice before puffing themselves up. Is this what they taught the Harvard Class of 2008? One might think Burns spent more time partying than watching the media in '08, because Obama's three votes in the Illinois state legislature against a "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act" barely came up. 

The Politico headline was "Newt: Media never asked Obama about 'infanticide' -- except it did." If Burns wanted to prove Gingrich wrong, he'd find an actual question about that. Click on the Burns link, and it's quite clear Chris Wallace was asking a more generic question to Obama, about whether he was truly a bridge-builder:

WALLACE: But, Senator, if I may, I think one of the concerns that some people have is that you talk a good game about, "Let's be post-partisan, let's all come together," just a couple of quick things, and I don't really want you to defend each one. I just want to speak to the larger issue.

OBAMA: Right.

WALLACE: The gang of 14, which was a group, a bipartisan coalition, to try to resolve the issue of judicial nominations. Fourteen senators came together. You weren't part of it. On some issues where Democrats have moved to the center — partial birth abortion, defense of marriage act — you stay on the left and you are against both.

And so people say, "Do you really want a partnership with Republicans, or do you really want unconditional surrender from them?"

Overnight, Burns reported "conservative readers" pointed out to him what should have been obvious to him. His link didn't prove his case.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis