What’s on Pro-Life Perspective today? “Dealing with Media Inaccuracies,” Part 4
By Carol Tobias, NRLC President & Pro-Life Perspective Host
Editor’s note. This can be heard at www.prolifeperspective.com
Our success and how it is presented to the community at large is often determined by the news media. Working with the news media is something we have to do in order to get our message out. But inaccuracies–whether by inserted by mistake or because of an overt bias against the right to life message–make it difficult to convey the truth through television, newspapers and radio.
Media organizations have the mission of communicating information to large numbers of people. This sounds simple enough but often the information we disseminate to the media goes into the system one way but comes out very differently. There are many reasons why this happens, but the two main reasons are that just as every person is unique and has his or her own perspective and opinions, there are just as many ways to perceive a story. Equally important is that each reporter who writes a story for print or broadcast brings his or her life experiences to the story.
This week we’ve talked about a number of reasons why a reporter might be bias against us and the right to life. What we haven’t touched on is the possibility that we are dealing with a reporter who may have had an abortion, paid for an abortion or was the father to an aborted child. These reporters are hurting just like anyone else who has had an abortion. He or she may be pushing an agenda because they feel have to. A reporter who pushes the pro-abortion agenda likely does so out of self-defense. It’s important to remember that with more than 54 million abortions, it’s very likely that the reporter on the other end of the line has somehow been touched by abortion and very well may be post-abortive.
Educating reporters and working with them, allows them to see us as human beings with families, children and obligations of our own. For reporters who may be post-abortive, this gives them security in knowing that our job is not to judge them or what they have done.
There have been many times where the pro-life side has been misrepresented because of newsroom bias but we take a professional attitude toward it and try to correct it. If you are interested in helping us, I have a few tips for you.
If you see a news story that is inaccurate, please send us a copy. We have many resources but keeping track of thousands of newspapers and hundreds of television stations is daunting. We can’t keep track of everyone on a daily basis.
Second, if you write, please be sure to write a letter to the editor if you see something inaccurate or biased. Letters to the editor should follow the rules of your individual paper but general guidelines are to keep the letter to fewer than 250 words. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail if you have one and include your title if it has relevance to the letter you are writing—for example, if you have an official position with the local right to life chapter.
When writing a letter to an editor, keep the letter focused on one issue. If there were several things wrong with a newspaper article, mention only that out of four, five or six inaccuracies you found, you’ve chosen to focus on the most egregious.
By keeping the letter focused, you’re more likely to see it in print. Be sure to send you letter in the manner the newspaper prefers usually by mail or e-mail.
Every little bit helps, and while a letter to the editor may not seem like a big deal, newspapers pay attention. It is generally regarded that for every one complaint, letter or comment, there ten other people who feel the same way.
We’ll finish up our discussion on Friday. If you’ve missed any episode this week, you can download them from our website at prolifeperspective.com.
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