Following state senator Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster to protest new abortion restrictions, the liberal media immediately jumped to support the Texas Democrat, hailing her up as the future of the Democratic Party, seeing her as a future Texas governor and who knows, maybe even future president. So it was refreshing to read, in the Daily Beast of all publications, a piece by Stuart Stevens, observing that, “overwhelmingly Democratic newsrooms remain incapable of hearing voices different from their own.”
In his July 14 online story, the former senior advisor to Mitt Romney observed that the Wendy Davis situation is an example of a situation, in the words of Bryan Moore of the National Association of Black Journalists, where people are “too often incapable of hearing voices different from our own. We, therefore, are telling our readers an incomplete, inaccurate story.”
Stevens pointed out that “from CNN to ABC, the overwhelming subtext of the coverage was that Davis was fighting a heroic fight.” This despite the fact that 62 percent of Texans support banning abortions after 20 weeks, a sentiment not portrayed by major liberal newsrooms. Stevens went on to mock the idea that:
For all the talk of the bullying men in the state legislature, it’s worth noting that it was prominent male journalists who covered Wendy Davis more like a female rock star than like a serious politician.
Stevens went even further challenging a question that Jeff Zeleney, ABC News’ senior Washington correspondent asked of Wendy Davis, in which the former New York Times reporter asked her “Why did you decide to wear your running shoes? And let's take a look at those. They kind of have been rocketing around the—the Internet.” Stevens argued that:
One would like to think, were Davis, say, a pro-life advocate who had just pulled off an epic filibuster in California, thwarting Gov. Jerry Brown and receiving great support from her supporters in the process, that a similar question would have been asked.
Unfortunately, as we at NewsBusters have pointed out, Ms. Davis was never scrutinized for her actions nor were other Texas state senators brought on to give their point of view, such as a pro-life Republican Donna Campbell, a state senator who is an emergency room physician and certainly has a stronger grasp of medicine than Davis. Stevens continued by offering a solution:
There are myriad problems facing news organization that are difficult, if not impossible, to fix. But this Wendy Davis syndrome is a relatively easy one. Don’t assemble newsrooms full of monochromatic thinkers. Bring in contrary views to challenge groupthink.
One would hope that liberal newsrooms would heed Stevens’ advice, not just when covering the abortion debate, but all other kinds of issues in our national political discussion. It's good journalism and it's good television to flesh out all sides of a debate and ask tough, intelligent questions of both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. But don't hold your breath. The ideological kool-aid is too intoxicating.