Now here is an interesting little story that doesn't seem to be getting any media coverage. In South Dakota after being held up in courts since 2005, a new law finally took effect on July 21 requiring any abortion doctor to read a statement covering the possible ill effects that abortions have on women -- both mental and physical -- at least two hours before the procedure occurs. The one Planned Parenthood office in South Dakota had taken the state to court to stop this law being implemented, but lost their case on the 18th. On the day the law was to take effect, though, the Planned Parenthood office did not open its doors for "business," refusing to abide by the new laws. Doesn't this refusal to operate tend to confirm that Planned Parenthood is in the game for ideological reasons as opposed to being only interested in women's health?
This is a big defeat for Planned Parenthood, and a great victory for anti-abortion supporters yet the media is silent on the issue. That seems rather curious.
The Washington Examiner’s Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin reported Monday in their regular "Yeas & Nays" feature that Katie Couric had announced with pride, "I am a feminist." The ultra-liberal National Organization for Women honored Couric at their annual Intrepid Awards Gala last week in Washington, DC, and the CBS Evening News anchor received a warm welcome from her feminist compatriots.
During her speech before the NOW Gang, Couric "opened up," as Dufour and Gavin put it. She quipped to her hosts that "[i]f everyone in the country was like you, CBS News would be number one." Yes, perhaps if everyone were liberal feminist Democrats, then maybe Couric’s program wouldn’t be dead last in the ratings.
Now, this isn’t exactly a surprising "full disclosure" by Couric. When she was still on the Today Show in 1997, guest Whoopi Goldberg outed Couric’s "pro-choice" position on abortion when the comedienne revealed the two had attended a "pro-choice" march together. In October 2006, after the father of a victim of the Columbine shootings declared his pro-life position in a "freeSpeech" segment on CBS Evening News, Couric wrote on her blog that his view might be seen as "repugnant."
The New York Times sent veteran Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse into retirement in grand style on Sunday, turning over to her the front page of the Week in Review for "2,691 Decisions," a title marking the number of court cases she had covered during her tenure.
Unmentioned were her off-the-clock denunciations of conservatives, such as her infamous speech at Harvard in June 2006 when she tore into the Bush administration. What was included: Her clear belief that the world is a better place with Anthony Kennedy on the Court and Robert Bork not.
First, some of what Greenhouse told Harvard students in 2006:
...our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let's not forget the sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."
Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is walking a "minefield" on the abortion issue with recent hints that he's taking baby steps to the right on the issue. By doing so, he's risking the alienation of the absolutist activists in the abortion rights movement, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico reported today.
But given Obama's much-reported efforts at courting evangelicals and other historic constituents of the GOP coalition, it certainly makes sense that the Illinois senator would seek to soften his image with pro-lifers to win over a few of them, or at the very least dampen the outrage among the pro-life community that might swell their ranks at the polls voting for Sen. John McCain.
Yet instead of considering how a potential problem at the polls for Obama and other Democrats in swing states might be abortion rights extremist activists, Budoff Brown painted Obama as facing danger by straying too far from the strict NOW/NARAL/Planned Parenthood line (emphasis mine):
If there's one person in the NBC news stable who combines solid analytical skills with a commitment to fairness, it could be political director Chuck Todd. Evidence thereof comes from no less a certified conservative source than Tom DeLay. Appearing on this evening's Hardball just after Todd had offered his breakdown of the electoral map, DeLay allowed that he "can't dispute" any of Todd's analysis, prompting Chris Matthews to exclaim "that's a development for us here: objective truth for you!"
So what was that Todd analysis that DeLay didn't dispute? There was much to it, but for present purposes let's focus on this: Todd can't see how Obama wins without Pennsylvania, and that having former governor Tom Ridge on the McCain ticket would help deliver the Keystone State. The catch is that Ridge is pro-choice, which in turn poses the question of whether pro-life Republicans would revolt if McCain chose him for the veep slot.
In a report on Monday’s "The Situation Room" purporting to clarify how Barack Obama "really voted on abortion" (as the graphic on-screen at right stated), CNN correspondent Carol Costello misconstrued the Democrat’s stance on legislation during his time in the Illinois state senate that would have protected infants that survived abortions. Besides the two votes specifically mentioned by Costello in the report, Obama also voted against it at the committee level, and when he was committee chair, denied a simple up or down vote on the legislation. The CNN correspondent also misrepresented the apparent pro-life stance of pro-abortion senators like "liberal Ted Kennedy" when the U.S. Senate voted on similar legislation. The bill passed by unanimous consent, so none of the senators actually voted yes or no on it.
Substitute host John Roberts introduced the segment, and asked Costello, "what are the allegations and what's the truth about Obama's abortion record?" Though the CNN correspondent did present both sides of the debate on the issue, she left out key details about Obama’s voting record.
In his first Sunday as interim host of "Meet the Press," retired NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw suggested he would lean strongly to the left this year. He lamented the presence of "scurrilous things about Barack Obama out on the blogosphere." He asked a series of questions about "climate change," suggesting it’s a "wise decision" to have a ban on new coal-driven power plants. His only Tim Russert-style block of text was New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's denunciation of President Bush’s "massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy." The only surprise was asking Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter if the Democratic platform would favor abortion again, noting Ritter was "anti-abortion." But as Ritter touted himself as a "great example" of his party’s diversity on abortion, Brokaw ignored Ritter’s liberal-pleasing record on abortion.
Brokaw’s first guests were Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado and Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming. Brokaw worried that the people of Wyoming might be swayed by scurrilous rumors about Obama: "There's been some scurrilous things about Barack Obama out on the blogosphere. When you announced your endorsement, did you hear any of that in Wyoming, or did you hear from bloggers who are not happy with him, either as a result of his political positions, they've attacked his name and even raised questions about his faith?"
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, during a report on the importance of Colorado in the upcoming presidential election on Monday’s "American Morning," labeled Colorado Governor Bill Ritter a "self-styled cowboy centrist," despite his liberal record on issues such as abortion and special rights for "trans-gendered" people.
Acosta’s label is puzzling, since Governor Ritter hasn’t specifically refer to himself as a "cowboy centrist," neither during the interview or elsewhere. The exact term doesn’t even come up in a Google search. During the report, the CNN correspondent did run video of Ritter wearing cowboy boots, and the Governor claimed how his state had started to "trend to leaders who are pragmatic, who are centrist," a reference to himself. But the governor’s own proposals and some of bills he has signed since beginning his term in January 2007 point to a politician who is anything but centrist.
Exit poll after exit poll in election after election shows the Democratic Party is staunchly supported by an overwhelming majority of African-American voters, many of whom are much more socially conservative on issues like abortion than their party leadership. The Democratic Party is also staunchly supported in primary battles and in fundraising drives by hard-core pro-choice liberals -- we're talking the same people who fought tooth-and-nail the federal ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.
So when a group of black ministers conducted a protest march in Washington, D.C., last week to raise awareness of its criticism of Planned Parenthood, media outlets had the recipe, instantly, for stories about possible conflicts that could divide the Democratic Party coalition on substantive, hot-button issues.
To perhaps no one's surprise here at NewsBusters, while the media covered the much hyped "Unity" rally in New Hampshire, the cable networks failed to even show up to shoot B-roll of Thursday's pro-life march on the DNC and RNC headquarters. Washington Times staffer Julia Duin covered the march and found no TV cameras present to record it:
Michael Smerconish is thinking of voting for Obama. The Philly talk radio host let it be known while subbing for Dan Abrams on tonight's "Verdict" on MSNBC. He actually did so, chatting with Ron Reagan, while criticizing Obama's flip-flops. But the bottom line is the bottom line.
SMERCONISH: I want to think big picture, and I want to do so by showing you a piece of that which was published in today's Washington Post by Charles Krauthammer, if we can put that up on the screen:
The truth about Obama is uncomplicated. He is just a politician . . . When it's time to throw campaign finance reform, telecom accountability, NAFTA renogiation or Jeremiah Wright overboard, Obama is not sentimental. He does not hesitate. He tosses lustily . . . By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.
That's Charles Krauthammer. Ron, I voted for the first time in 1980 for your dad. I have never voted for a Democrat for president. I voted for plenty of Democrats, but never for president. I've not ruled it out in this cycle, because I like this guy. But the events of the last 10 days or so make him seem status quo, make him seem like just a run-of-the-mill politician.
Who cares if Barack Obama won't protect a child who is born alive after an abortion? Gas is over $4/gallon!
So argued Donna Brazile when Bill Bennett pressed her on the matter today. The issue arose during a post-Obama press conference kibitzing session on CNN's Situation Room. Bennett was making the point that the complaisant media in attendance had failed to press the candidate on tough issues.
Over the course of two programs on Tuesday evening, CNN political analyst Roland Martin unhesitatingly ran to the defense of Barack Obama against the recent criticism of Dr. James Dobson, who characterized the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate of "distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology" in a 2006 speech. On the "Election Center" program, Martin tried to deny Dobson’s influence in the American evangelical community: " I think we're doing the nation a disservice by calling James Dobson an evangelical leader." Then on "Anderson Cooper 360," he accused Dobson and other evangelicals of wanting to "tear down Obama, the person who is talking about faith..."
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric teased an upcoming segment remembering controversial comedian George Carlin: "...he was a comedy legend who made us laugh and think." During the segment, correspondent Jim Axelrod followed the same theme: "George Carlin made lots of us laugh...But his genius was making us think." Immediately following that observation a clip was played of Carlin declaring: "This country was founded by a group of slave owners who told us that all men are created equal. That is what's known as being stunningly, stunningly full of [expletive]."
Later in the segment, Axelrod again praised Carlin: " But what Carlin loved best was using irreverence to force us to re-exam what we'd long stopped thinking about." That statement was followed by Carlin ranting: "Here's another question I have: How come when it's us it's an abortion and when it's a chicken it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden?" One wonders, when Couric and Axelrod say Carlin "made us think," who exactly is "us"?
Can those rascally Republicans once again dupe otherwise well-educated, smart pro-choice women into sacrificing their womb on the altar of Republican presidential power?!
That's the sentiment you might expect from deep within the bowels of NARAL Pro-Choice America or Planned Parenthood, but it was essentially the question that Time's Amy Sullivan posed in her June 23 article, "Will Pro-Choice Women Back McCain?"
Sullivan's thesis boiled down to this: pro-life Republican candidates do as well as they do with some pro-choice voters because they throw out some bones trot out their pro-choice spouses and pro-choice feature speakers at Republican conventions to throw pro-choice Republicans and independents a bone, while Democrats are ham-handed in their efforts to downplay their pro-choice policies (emphasis mine):
San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci dutifully dusted off the same liberal talking points we hear every four years about Republican nominees: the women in their own party hate them.
In her front page article, Marinucci found no conservative Republican women to defend McCain or critique him from the right, but she found three Republican, including Obama backer Susan Eisenhower, and two Democratic women to slam McCain.
But as might be expected in the liberal media, the largest reason these liberal Republican women won’t vote for McCain was chalked up to "women’s rights," code words for abortion. The article devoted a special section to McCain's stance on abortion. Of course this ignores the fact that millions of socially conservative Republican women backed equally pro-life candidates such as Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in the primaries.
For the second time in eight months, "Good Morning America" has featured an extremely liberal sexuality author, who blogs on a condom website and touts Democrats, as a neutral expert. On Friday's program, Logan Levkoff, the author of "Third Base Ain't What it Used to be," and a woman who has previously stated she wouldn't rule out giving birth control to elementary school students, appeared to discuss the epidemic of teen pregnancies in Gloucester, Massachusetts. However, GMA never identified the leftist positions of this woman who once wrote a sex column titled "Ask Mistress Lola."
Levkoff explained to co-host Robin Roberts that "our policies are not helping our children." Running down abstinence education, she argued, "And the fact is, we as parents need to get involved and we as schools need to advocate for healthy sexuality education. And that means talking about everything, not just abstinence, because, clearly, even if that's what they're getting that's not what these kids are doing." Levkoff is no moderate voice. She blogs on the Trojan Elexa website and her topics have included celebrating "Blog for Choice Day," bashing President Bush and being "psyched" when the Democrats won back Congress in 2006. Shouldn't it be the responsibility of ABC to identify the extremely liberal perspective that Levkoff operates from?
Time magazine is taking the lead on the Gloucester, Massachusetts "pregnancy pact" story, but its story is actually quite brief. Even so, Time is attempting to blame movies that didn’t tout abortion. On its home page for this week's magazine, Time’s blurb reads: "Postcard Gloucester: A Massachusetts fishing town tries to understand why so many of its teenagers made a pact to get pregnant. How one school is grappling with the Juno effect".
As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies -- more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers.
"Good Morning America" reporter Kate Snow resorted to typical liberal terminology while asking Cindy McCain on Thursday about abortion and "women's rights groups." After observing that her husband, Senator John McCain, has been courting females, Snow simplistically asserted, "...But women's rights groups say once [women voters] discover he's anti-abortion, they may change their minds." So, pro-abortion organizations equal "women's rights groups?"
The interview, which took place in Vietnam where Mrs. McCain has been working with a charity organization, did feature friendly subjects, such as the children of the politician's wife and other topics. But Snow also offered questions that appeared designed to trap McCain. Speaking of Barack Obama, Snow queried, "Would you feel safe with Barack Obama as your president?" After mentioning the lack of interviews Cindy McCain has participated in, the ABC correspondent blurted, "And if [people] say, oh, she's just sort of up there and posing, what would you say to people who think that?" In contrast, "Good Morning America" has delivered numerous softball pieces on the spouses of Democratic presidential candidates.
I've ripped ABCNews.com recently for some of their stories and story selection -- 'pregnant man' photos, need I say more? -- but I have to give the site kudos today for putting in its top headlines rotation a story about Georgia mother Cindi Cook, convicted of forging a signature on a parental consent form for her son's pregnant girlfriend.
What's more, rather than resorting to the more clinical term "fetus" which subtly denies the sanctity of the unborn life taken by abortion, ABCNews.com editors used the term baby in the headline, "Mom Broke Law to Abort Teen Son's Baby."
Reporter David Schoetz noted that the Northside Women's Clinic may soon be the target of a lawsuit, and quoted from the teenage girl's lawyer who alleged the clinic may well be actively counseling teenage clients on how to circumvent the parental notification law (emphasis mine):
USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.
When retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Capitol Hill recently to speak publicly about her husband's Alzheimer's, she was greeted as a national hero. Senators lauded her historic place as the first woman on the Supreme Court and the justice whose opinions often set the nation's law.
O'Connor, who was frequently the tie-breaking vote in close cases, is further praised for her "middle-ground" practical approach in her decision making. But things have changed since O'Connor's retirement from the high court.
Barack Obama, liberal? Surely you jest. Rachel Maddow found the suggestion so silly, she literally burst out laughing. The Air America host was part of this evening's panel on Race for the White House. David Gregory couldn't complete his reading of Rich Lowry's take on Obama before Maddow let loose.
DAVID GREGORY: Let's go to Smart Take #2. This is Rich Lowry from National Review Online, he's also talking [in a NY Post column] about Obama [emphasis added]:
Obama represents a rejection of triangulating Clintonism. He had no Sister Souljah moment during the primaries. Indeed, he initially embraced his Sister Souljah, in the form of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, introduced to the public in videotaped anti-American rants. Nor did Obama make any creative policy departures, like Clinton's advocacy of welfare reform in 1992. Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern. And yet his candidacy might not be electoral suicide. He has formidable gifts as a politician; he's eloquent, winsome, a quick study. He confronts a Republican Party that, beset by intellectual exhaustion, congressional scandal and an unpopular incumbent president, teeters on the verge of a Watergate-style meltdown. So Democrats contemplate the delicious prospect of having their purity and victory, too.
As Gregory speaks the words "Obama is the fullest flowering of liberal orthodoxy since George McGovern," Maddow can be heard laughing off camera. When Maddow's turn came to comment, she tried to make the case that Obama doesn't make it as a real liberal.
Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten, in his latest column titled "The rebirth of abortion," voiced his dismay that social conservatives are reviving the issue of abortion in the 2008 presidential campaign. "If there's one issue that epitomizes the culture wars that have so deeply divided American politics over the last eight years, it's abortion. That's why those who benefited most from those wars are desperate to revive abortion's single-issue virulence in this presidential cycle." He continued that "some on the right think they see an opportunity to hammer once more on the abortion wedge."
Rutten also launched an attack one key member of the so-called "hard cultural right:" Robert Novak. At one point, Rutten suggested that if Novak used a phrase like "abortion industry" to describe abortionists and their supporters, it would be legitimate to use a term like "under the sway of neo-fascist clericism" to describe Novak and his pro-life fellow travelers.
As the veepstakes heats up along with the summer temperatures, columnist Robert Novak is reporting that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is not the "moderate" that the media elite might suggest as she's considered by the Obama campaign as a potential running mate. She has run afoul of her local Catholic bishop for being a staunchly pro-abortion governor:
Last year, she vetoed a bill requiring explicit medical reasons for a late abortion, and she vetoed other abortion legislation in 2006, 2005 and 2003.
Those positions are necessary for Democratic politicians to pass their party's pro-choice litmus test, but Sebelius's connection with abortion is more intimate. She is allied with the aggressive Kansas branch of Planned Parenthood in a bitter struggle with antiabortion activist District Attorney Phill Kline. There is substantial evidence she has been involved in what pro-life advocates term "laundering" abortion industry money for distribution to Kansas Democrats. Kansas is the fiercest state battleground in the abortion wars, making Kathleen Sebelius the national pro-choice poster girl.
So will reporters see only "moderation" in her abortion alliances? Novak dug into the specifics:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin isn't just a pro-life politician. She recently proved she's pro-life by personal example. In an age when many parents receive the news that they're carrying a baby with Down syndrome and then "terminate" the pregnancy," Gov. Palin gave birth to a son with Down syndrome and announced her delight at God's blessing. The national news rarely covers much from Alaska, but this story also has a heartwarming pro-life angle, which offers a political reason for the media to go whistling past it. [UPDATE: A reader noted Alaska's AP had it, and the picture I've added.]
Alaskan columnist Effie Caldarola wrote it up and I read it in my church paper, the Arlington Catholic Herald. I couldn't find it online:
Over a month ago, her office announced that the 44-year-old and her husband, Todd, were expecting their fifth child in May. It was a secret the beguiling brunette, a runner, managed to keep from even her staff.
Feminist political correctness washed over Elaine Woo's Los Angeles Times obituary honoring Harvey Karman, "a flamboyant psychologist whose invention made a key contribution to women's reproductive health, particularly by making abortions simpler, cheaper and less painful."
The Times headline was "Harvey Karman, 84; invented device for safer, easier abortions." No one at the Times thought if the abortion was "safer" for the unborn child, just for the alleged mother, and no one must have wondered if the term " women's reproductive health" sounded euphemistic, especially since reproducing was something that was being avoided. It's at best "counter-reproductive."
In January, tens of thousands of pro-lifers marched to Capitol Hill in Washington in the annual March for Life, but the New York Times published no story. But on Thursday, about 40 straggling anti-war marchers in upstate New York drew an upbeat story by reporter Michelle York. The news "hook" was the idea that small towns in upstate New York don’t see 40 "peace" marchers every day:
For the past week, opponents of the war have taken several routes through the conservative and largely rural reaches of upstate New York — small communities that have sent many of their young men and women into the military right after high school and have paid a disproportionate price.
On Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day, protesters ranging from peace activists to Iraq Veterans Against the War will hold a daylong rally outside Fort Drum. What they lack in numbers — there were only about 40 on the road on Wednesday — they have made up for in passion, having walked about 80 miles so far.
John McCain’s anti-woman philosophy will guide him to appoint Supreme Court justices that will roll back civil rights, according to Joy Behar. Discussing the 2008 election on the May 8 edition of "The View," political pundit, Catholic theologian, and constitutional scholar Joy Behar offered her theory on why white women will vote for Obama, assuming he is the nominee, and even called Roe v. Wade "civil rights legislation."
"When these women, these white women that love Hillary so much, you know, there’s a lot of white, he gets the women vote. When they realize that McCain is going to load the Supreme Court up with more conservative justices who are going to probably roll back or try to roll back Roe v. Wade, civil rights legislation, you are going to see those white women go to the polls and vote for Obama."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted the absurdity of Behar’s point calling it "such a broad statement" and "an extreme prediction." Joy Behar proceeded to call McCain ideologically "off the wall" and repeated her recounting of labeling McCain "anti-woman" because he’ll allegedly appoint justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade.
It was just another ho-hum piece by another liberal columnist. Hillary Clinton should get out now because staying in hurts Barack Obama against McCain. Yada yada yada.
But in his column of today, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, almost in passing, makes what is, on reflection, a telling disclosure of what is truly the fundamental value, the uniting principle of the Democratic party: abortion. After first fretting that many Hillary supporters will sit on their hands or vote for McCain, Kristof offers this countervailing fact:
It’s true that most of Senator Clinton’s supporters presumably will flinch if they contemplate a McCain Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Those opposed to the Roe v Wade abortion decision are “the far right” in the vernacular of the Associated Press. In a dispatch datelined from Winston-Salem, North Carolina where John McCain delivered an address Tuesday castigating Barack Obama for voting against the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, as he pledged to name non-activist judges, reporter Libby Quaid wrote:
McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn't mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC gave attention to revelations which first surfaced last February that employees of some Planned Parenthood clinics expressed a willingness to accept donations from callers who expressed the blatantly racist motivation of wanting to see more black children aborted, with a couple of the Planned Parenthood employees even seeming to express agreement with the racist statements. O'Reilly interviewed conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham about the attention she has given to the issue on her show, and played a clip of one of the phone calls. (Transcript follows)
In February, a conservative student publication at UCLA, The Advocate, revealed that it had called a number of Planned Parenthood clinics pretending to be interested in donating money to the organization while feigning a racist intention of wanting to reduce the number of black children. O'Reilly played one clip:
AUDIO OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE DONOR: Hello, Autumn. I'm interested in making a donation today.
AUDIO OF FEMALE PLANNED PARENTHOOD EMPLOYEE: Fantastic!
DONOR: I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group. Would that be possible?