By Dave Andrusko
It would be amusing if it were so self-serving and delusional. “Media Matters,” a pro-abortion far left site which got off the ground with the generous help of pro-abortion billionaire George Soros, posted a story yesterday under the headline, “Media should avoid these traps in covering this year’s March for Life.”
We’ll only talk about a couple of “traps” Sarah Wasko wrote about but think about the implied premise. That there is this horde of gullible reporters eager to uncritically accept everything that is said Friday when more than hundred thousand pro-lifers will assemble on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
You can’t count all the ways this is wrong. Most coverage of the March is superficial—and that is being generous. Most coverage has long since fallen into the same ruts—mostly young people attend but they’re mostly Catholic and how much credence do they deserve?
And besides, the crowd will consist of “thousands,” not hundreds of thousands of people, and there will be a story about the handful of pro-abortion protestors who will meet the crowd when the March reaches the Supreme Court.
Wasko argues that reporters “can learn from these mistakes [i.e., insufficient “fact-checking”] before the annual protest kicks off.”
To deconstruct just two of Wasko’s imaginary media deficiencies, starting with #2. “PREVENT ANTI-ABORTION GROUPS FROM PROMOTING JUNK SCIENCE AND UNQUALIFIED ‘EXPERTS’ TO SUPPORT ANTI-ABORTION POLICIES.”
The “logic,” for lack of a better word, is that if experts are associated with pro-life think-tanks, ergo they must be unqualified and their work bogus. That doesn’t follow at all. The credentials of the members of just one group mentioned by Wasko are impeccable.
If we’re going to be fair, something Media Matters would never be accused of, by this reasoning (again, I am being generous), if someone has taken residence in one of the hotbeds of pro-abortion orthodoxy which crank out study after study all coming to the same anti-life conclusions, such as the University of Southern California-San Francisco or the Guttmacher Institute, they are merely “experts,” as oppose to experts, right?
Of course not. To Media Matters, these organizations are the real-deal, no matter how one-sided is every study they produce.
As for “junk science,” anything, no matter how well researched, or how thoroughly documented, that cuts against the grain of abortion being free of complications, is dismissed out of turn.
Then there is #3: “AVOID SIGNAL-BOOSTING MISINFORMATION ABOUT THE ALLEGED POPULARITY OF ANTI-ABORTION POLICIES AND POSITIONS.” Wasko quotes another pro-abortion source who, in dismissing a very reputable survey, said, “a simple shift in phrasing or question style could substantially alter the findings.”
So, the real issue is (or ought to be) whether a given survey asks loaded questions or not. If you use the kind of questions abortion-disposed pollsters use, it’s easy to come up with the “correct” conclusions.
But (hello?) just compare Gallup’s nuanced questions on abortion with Pew’s. The latter asks simplistic, generalized questions, the former digs past the first response.
As a result Pew finds majority support for the pro-abortion position. Gallup reveals that a majority of the public opposes the reasons for which almost all abortions are performed. And has for years, by the way.
Who is using “signal-boosting misinformation”?
Come Friday, I would love for the media collectively and individually to dig, dig, dig. What they would find is (as the March for Life’s slogan states) “Unique from Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science.”