Does the NPR Ombudsman Actually Read His columns before he sends them out?

By Dave Andrusko

NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos

Before you say it, I grant you that National Public Radio is largely a lost cause on our issue. And a column today by its ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos , only adds further evidence that when it comes to abortion, NPR is typically not only one-sided, but is also completely unaware that its “neutrality” is blatantly pro-abortion.

Schumacher-Matos tells us that a listener chastised a Morning Edition broadcast that aired earlier this week, asking why did it “refer to an obstetrician as an ‘abortion doctor’?” In offering  many mea culpas Schumacher-Matos framed the issue this way: “We don’t say a physician is an STD doctor. Or a child-birth doctor. Or a breast-exam doctor.”

He shows the poor rookie correspondent the undercarriage of the NPR bus and she, of course, apologizes profusely for not reading the NPR internal style guide. And then, as part of the joint confession, Schumacher-Matos finishes up acknowledging that he, too, fell short. He had erred: he called what the stylebook insists on describing as “medical or health clinics that perform abortions” (guess what?) “abortion clinics.” Twenty lashes with a wet pledge card.

Let’s summarize. Abortionists are not abortionists; they are not even “abortion doctors.” If they own an abortion clinic, they “operate a clinic where abortions are performed.”

[But what if they merely ply their trade there, then they are…what? How about “Physicians who are the vicinity of a medical facility that offers the highest caliber medical care to women who wish to separate themselves from their fetuses”?]

So why are abortion clinics not abortion clinics but (according to the NPR internal style guide) “medical or health clinics that perform abortions”? For two reasons: (1) “The point is to not to use abortion before the word clinic” because (2) “The clinics perform other procedures and not just abortions.”

Such PC tomfoolery is a staple of NPR (just ask Juan Williams who was axed for daring to speak the obvious). But, really, if 95% of the business of a “medical or health clinics that perform abortions” is abortions, is this wishy-washy NPR description not obfuscation on steroids?

All this would be bad enough but my guess is even Schumacher-Matos finds this an embarrassingly flimsy response. So he fortifies this rickety defense with another red herring: that “the label [“abortion doctor”] certainly channels hostility against doctors who do the operation. Anti-abortion rights advocates use such phrases in an attempt to frame the issue from their singular point of view. That is their right. But the media’s responsibility is to be accurate in framing an issue in all its complexity. Stoking tempers doesn’t help either.”

“Accurate”? Is Schumacher-Matos so willfully blind that he can’t see that NPR’s choice of  “anti-abortion rights advocates” is, in fact, “an attempt [on NPR’s part] to frame the issue from their singular point of view”? Geez.

That does it. No matter how many times they play “Roy Orbison and Friends” on pledge week, no more money from me!

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