On Saturday's Fox News Watch, as the panel discussed the substantial attention the media devoted to Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's claim that forcible rape victims rarely become pregnant as opposed to Vice President Joe Biden's "chains" gaffe, two recent studies by the Media Research Center -- parent organization to NewsBusters -- were cited. Host Jon Scott cited MRC analyst Scott Whitlock's study from Tuesday:
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos opened his Sunday show: “Good morning and welcome to This Week. Storms brewing. The GOP convention threatened by Tropical Storm Isaac and that political hurricane from Todd Akin...”
Over on CBS, guest Haley Barbour scolded Bob Schieffer who had wondered how Republicans get the focus “back” onto the economy? Barbour called Schieffer out for his obsession on Akin: “If your first four questions are about it [Akin], it’s kind of hard getting the subject back on the economy when you want to talk about Todd Akin.” Oblivious to his role in deciding what is newsworthy, Schieffer lamely pleaded: “I want to talk about the news.”
Don't believe in global warming? Are you pro-life? Then you're an idiot, says Timothy Egan, a former liberal New York Times reporter turned left-wing Times columnist. In his Friday online column "The Crackpot Caucus" he said of the Republican Party: "...if intelligence were contagious, [the GOP] would be giving out vaccines for it."
Egan strings together quotes of some congressional Republicans making missteps on matters of science and religion, before lumping creationist Republicans with pro-lifers and climate skeptics into one big bag of GOP anti-science stupidity.
With astonishing regularity, media voices that won’t spend more than a minute examining Barack Obama’s support for keeping sex-selection abortion legal, or his opposition to a law guaranteeing equal treatment for children born alive after failed abortions, chime in feverishly when a Republican lawmaker speaks inaccurately about abortion and rape. Representative Todd Akin’s remarks prompted a CNN headline that abortion is now at the "center" of the 2012 campaign. If CNN means a full debate on the issue, so be it, despite this unfortunate entry point. More likely, there will be little real debate.
Rape is a grievous crime, always and everywhere, and the burdens imposed on women so assaulted dissuade many even from reporting the crime. Pregnancy does result from rape. Some women (more than we recognize) are able, through acts of unfathomable grace, to bear children conceived in so terrible a way. These women are heroic. Their children — read anything on the subject by remarkable people such as Ethel Waters and Rebecca Kiessling — are heroic as well, speaking to a world where political advantage, not profound compassion, is cherished first.
Given the extreme media interest in the subject of abortion of late and the press's imaginary link between views of a Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin and Republican GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, it's worth considering the actual position of President Barack Obama on the issue.
Doing so shows who the real extremist on the subject of abortion is. The candidate whose positions are further removed from the majority of Americans is Barack Obama, something the media will almost certainly never tell voters.
On NBCNews.com's "First Read" Kelly O'Donnell attempted to further tie in the Romney-Ryan campaign to Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments with this gasp-inducing headline: Ryan backed more than one 'forcible rape' abortion bill.
In the article, O'Donnell made a substantial deal out of the term "forcible," seemingly implying that if there wasn't much violence during the rape, then it would be more "acceptable," and/or if the rape wasn't "forcible," then the woman is out of luck if she wanted an abortion:
"Democrats aim to be inclusive," blurts the headline in Amy Gardner's 5-paragraph item on how the Democratic convention "will feature a long list of female speakers and a slew of activities designed to make it the most inclusive convention in history, organizers announced Wednesday."
Gardner went on to note that Sandra Fluke and "women from many other walks of life" will take to the podium, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan, Caroline Kennedy, and actress Eva Longoria. Gardner left out that Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood was also announced as a speaker, and that Keenan served on this year's platform drafting committee, which shot down an effort by Democrats for Life of America to add "big tent" language to the platform. Somehow a handful of pro-choice speakers addressing contraception and abortion is diversity to the Washington Post.
Is the New York Times trying to change the subject from the bad economy to social issues, for Obama's sake? On Thursday Michael Shear (pictured) and Jonathan Weisman did their best to tie controversial comments by Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin to Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan: "Romney Strategists Say They’ll Stay the Course Amid Focus on Abortion."
Mitt Romney’s campaign advisers have concluded that they do not need any major adjustments in strategy to respond to the new focus on abortion and reproductive rights caused by Representative Todd Akin, betting that their candidate’s economic message will still resonate with female voters after the controversy over Mr. Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape.”
Eager to keep the Todd Akin controversy alive on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared the Missouri Republican's comments were "inflicting unforeseen and great damage on the national party." Correspondent Andrea Mitchell began her report by proclaiming: "...only days before their convention, Republicans remain trapped in a national debate about abortion and rape." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell quickly attempted to link vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to Akin: "Ryan co-sponsored one bill with Akin that critics say could outlaw all abortions, even for rape victims." She then tried to connect Mitt Romney: "Romney once supported abortion rights, but reversed course before his first run for the White House. In 2007, he embraced anti-abortion activist Dr. John Wilkie, the man who came up with the discredited rape theory that Akin was citing."
John Dickerson hinted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that the only radicals in the abortion debate were on the pro-life side. During a discussion about the furor over Rep. Todd Akin's recent "legitimate rape" remark, Dickerson stated that "Congressman Akin...put a highlight on the extreme end of the abortion debate."
The political director's liberal slant came in the midst of his network's 37 minutes of coverage of the Akin controversy since Monday. By contrast, CBS devoted just under 10 minutes of coverage to Vice President Joe Biden's "put y'all back in chains" smear of Republicans over a similar three-day period earlier in August, a nearly four-to-one disparity.
In the wake of the Todd Akin controversy, CNN has not only tied the negative fallout to the Romney campaign and the Republican Party, but has also turned a critical eye to the party's "very far right-wing" pro-life platform.
"I guess you're probably rubbing your hands with glee, aren't you?" Piers Morgan pandered to DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on Tuesday, concerning Akin's refusal to leave the Missouri senate race. Morgan had called the situation "Romney's worst nightmare" on the previous night. [Video below the break.]
"GOP rejects rape exception in platform," blared a Politico headline yesterday. "Even as Mitt Romney sought to quash the furor surrounding Todd Akin’s 'legitimate' rape comments, the Republican platform committee here approved an abortion plank that includes no exemptions for rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother," James Hohmann noted in the lead paragraph of his August 21 story.
"On Tuesday, not one of the 100-plus members on the GOP platform committee introduced amendments. They kept the identical language from 2004 and 2008," Hohmann groused, comporting to the media's quadrennial fixation on how the GOP is supposedly too extremely pro-life. By contrast, as I noted yesterday, the 15-person Democratic platform committee -- one member of which is NARAL Pro-Choice America's president -- earlier this month stubbornly refused to mildly soften their party's stringent pro-choice abortion plank. Politico, of course, failed to cover that controversy.
For CNN's Ashleigh Banfield, complete opposition to abortion equals a "very far right" position, as she insisted on Tuesday about the new Republican Party platform. For context, CNN used the same "far right" label to describe Sikh shooter Wade Michael Page's racist skinhead band.
"[T]he platform, for the most part, was crafted by the very far-right wing of the party and then if you combine that with the timing of all this ugliness that's going on with Mr. Akin...does that besmirch this platform that so many people agree with?" she asked, framing the completely pro-life stance as extreme and possibly damaging to the GOP. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Every four years, without fail, the liberal media wring their hands over the influence of pro-lifers on the GOP platform, suggesting that the party is too "extreme" in its position on abortion and hence out of step with middle-of-the-road voters. Of course, the same concern is not expressed regarding the Democrats' position on the same issue being too out-of-step with most Americans.
This year, the row over Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's comments on rape and abortion are being seized upon as a springboard to attack the party. Witness MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts on today's MSNBC Live.
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "Firestorm. A Congressman's words about rape rocket across the country...women's issues are front and center again." Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams announced how "suddenly" Republican Todd Akin's comments "exploded well beyond the borders of Missouri."
Correspondent Andrea Mitchell began her report by nationalizing the gaffe made by Akin during a local news interview: "Republicans fear their hopes for the White House and control of the Senate could turn on what happened at a St. Louis TV station..." Mitchell later touted: "In a race where the President had a 15-point advantage with women voters in the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Republicans were reeling."
CNN's Piers Morgan played right into the hand of the Obama campaign's co-chair on Monday night, casting the fallout from Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) rape remarks as "Romney's worst nightmare."
"Yeah, I think you've hit the nail on the head," Morgan told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) after she delivered her liberal spin tying Akin to Paul Ryan and the GOP. "Now it [the debate] has become Romney's worst nightmare. It's gone right back to the social conservative issues he was so desperate to move off on." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Political reporter Stephanie Condon painted Republican vice presidential pick Paul Ryan as an "anti-abortion" extremist in a Wednesday report for CBSNews.com. Condon forwarded the talking points of the pro-abortion left as she zeroed in on Ryan's support of personhood legislation: "Supporters of reproductive rights have loudly pointed out that this type of legislation would not only outlaw abortion but potentially some forms of contraception or even in vitro fertilization."
The online correspondent hyped that "personhood initiatives are so extreme that even card-carrying conservatives like former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have expressed concerns that they go too far." Condon repeatedly used variations of the "conservative" label in her article, but didn't once identify the left-wing politics of pro-abortion groups.
Rep. Paul Ryan's 100 percent rating by the pro-life National Right to Life Committee and his support of the "Protect Life Act" are evidence of the Wisconsin Republican's extremism on abortion and as such, should hurt the appeal of the Romney/Ryan ticket with women voters, MSNBC's Alex Wagner argued on the August 14 edition of her noon Eastern Now with Alex Wagner program.
Of course the 100 percent pro-choice record that Barack Obama has with NARAL Pro-Choice America might strike centrist voters as equally "extreme," but Wagner failed to note Obama has never deviated from the NARAL line. What's more, as a state senator, Barack Obama voted AGAINST an Illinois state version of the "Born-Alive Act" which was designed to punish abortionists who kill babies who were born before the abortion procedure was finished in utero. Nothing says pro-abortion extremist like voting against a bill to penalize infanticide, especially considering that a federal version of the bill passed the U.S. Congress in 2002 without any votes in the negative. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Oozing condescension, Baker confessed herself a “little taken aback because this is the first fanatical statement I've heard from Rose since I hopped into her Hyundai an hour before,” and “I was prepared for extremism.”
Actress Elizabeth Banks made a campaign video for Obama-Biden 2012 – just barely. Almost the entire 75 seconds is a defense of Planned Parenthood and their “essential services,” which is the euphemism feminists use to describe America’s leading provider of abortions.
In fact, Banks could not bring herself to even mention the word or the concept of abortions, except indirectly as “that little five percent” of controversial things PPFA does that judgmental Mitt Romney dislikes. This is quite shocking in its discretion, considering Banks unloads TMI and talks about her massive menstrual flow:
New York Times food writer and reporter Mark Bittman remains unrepentant even after his apology for calling a deceased public relations executive for Chick-fil-A a "pig" for that company's opposition to gay marriage. Bittman forwarded this Twitter message from a follower: "If Chick-Fill-A's VP SUPPORTED same-sex marriage & died, sound of right-wing claims it was God's judgment would've been deafening."
And it hasn't hurt his standing at the paper; in fact he's in the print edition on Friday with "Guns, Butter And Then Some," yet another sophomoric liberal op-ed, advocating gun control, calling Fox News host Bill O'Reilly a hatemonger, and putting the word "terrorists" in quotation marks to mark those 33 Americans killed in terror attacks since 9-11.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted ongoing trouble for the nation's largest breast cancer charity: "...the controversy involving the Susan G. Komen Foundation has soiled one of the great names and best-known brand names in all of charity....it was the symbol of the fight against breast cancer until controversy came along and Komen cut funds for Planned Parenthood, a decision it later reversed."
Williams noted how "senior leadership has given way" as "founder, Nancy Brinker, whose late sister was Susan G. Komen, is stepping down from her role as CEO." He wondered: "But will it be enough to restore faith and quiet the critics?" Correspondent Lisa Myers declared the move "was welcomed as much-needed change at Komen affiliates."
At no point in the segment was Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, described as controversial.
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, as correspondent Andrea Mitchell filed a report recounting that President Obama is running ahead of Mitt Romney with female voters, Mitchell referred to liberal birth control activist Sandra Fluke's political activities as a push for "contraception rights" rather than more accurately relaying her desire to force health insurance to pay for birth control pills for women as if they could not choose to purchase such products on their own.
You will probably be able to count on one hand the number of times the liberal media will wring their hands this campaign season about the national Democratic Party being beholden to the abortion lobby. To her credit, Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post will be one of those reporters.
In her page August 8 "She the People" feature on page A2, "Democrats' Big Tent is a cold place for antiabortion advocates," the Post columnist lamented that while a Gallup poll shows a significant plurality of Democrats -- 44 percent -- "said abortion should only be legal 'in a few circumstances,'" that chances are incredibly slim that the party will alter its platform plank on abortion to soften its absolutist stand.
Liberal historian Douglas Brinkley sang the praises of the Kennedy family on Monday's CBS This Morning, spotlighting the apparently "very important public service work" of Robert F. Kennedy's children: "It's just remarkable to me how Bobby Kennedy's kids keep making public policy influences." Brinkley also claimed that "the Kennedy name is still very popular, and....we're endlessly fascinated by the family."
The author also played up the Democratic family's Catholic background, without mentioning how several prominent members have dissented from the Church's teachings on abortion and sexuality.
On its Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts, CBS didn't file one report or news brief on the controversial federal abortifacient/contraception mandate going into effect. Even worse, the only mention of religious liberty scandal over the regulation was CBS This Morning playing a clip of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of it.
ABC's Diane Sawyer heralded the mandate taking effect as "an important day for women's health" on Wednesday's World News, and forwarded the White House's talking points on the regulation: "Religious employers, like Catholic charities and hospitals, do not have to directly include free birth control under their health plans." On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams lamented that "simply by taking effect, it started up the health care fight all over again."
The Associated Press made no attempt to hide their liberal slant on Tuesday as they hyped an obscure leftist organization's report attacking American conservatives' efforts to support traditional marriage in Africa. Writer Michelle Faul repeatedly used biased labels such as "anti-gay," "religious right," and "Christian right" against social conservatives. By contrast, she made only one vague reference to the far left political ideology of the group that issued the report.
Faul also falsely implied that American social conservatives endorse legislative efforts in Uganda to implement the death penalty on those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality."
Appearing as a panel member on the Saturday, July 21, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, liberal CBS contributor Nancy Giles complained about Republican efforts to discourage abortion, and insisted that there is a "war on women," as she seemed incredulous that Republicans do not view themselves as conducting such a war. Giles melodramatically exclaimed that, "It's you!" referring to Republicans, waging a "war on women." Giles began her rant: