NRL News

What to know about Media Bias from a former insider

by | Apr 9, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Last week what appeared to be just another run-of-the-mill Washington Post hit job on President Trump turned into something quite different. The lead in Erik Wemple’s column tweaked the President for his tweets about “fake news.”

Wemple cited a recent one and then observes, “Trump appears to be suggesting that ‘fake news’ could be dishonest news, corrupt news or just plain distorted news.”

All in Mr. Trump’s head, right? “Turns out that the American public shares the president’s uncertainty,” Wemple writes.

A Monmouth University poll asked respondents: “When you use the term fake news, does it only apply to stories where the facts are wrong or does it also apply to how news outlets make editorial decisions about what they choose to report?” Twenty-five percent responded that it applies only to stories where the facts are wrong, and 65 percent said it also applies to editorial decision-making. [My underlining.]

This admission that the public shares the President’s skepticism (to put it in the mildest possible terms) about media impartiality made me think of Marcia Segelstein terrific post written a while back for the National Catholic Register.

It ran under the headline, “Media Pro-Abortion Bias is as Evident as it is Appalling.”

The reader benefits not just from her additional insights into what that media bias is resulting in (it “further erodes the public’s faith in what was once considered a trustworthy institution”), but we are also led to read a preposterous puff piece that appeared in the New York Times Magazine, extolling what was then the new book written by itinerant abortionist Willie Parker.

Segelstein is a veteran reporter (she worked as a producer for CBS News for over 20 years) who writes for the Register and is a Senior Editor for SALVO magazine. So she knows her way around a well-crafted essay.

Segelstein uses that NYTimes Magazine interview of Parker conducted by Ana Marie Cox to illustrate a fundamental fact of media bias. Bias is not just what is written–and how it is composed. Bias is also what never sees the light of day, indeed would never even be considered.

Segelstein illustrates that truism in her first two paragraphs:

The New York Times Magazine recently featured an interview with a doctor about his “conversion” from being pro-life to pro-choice, and whose practice now focuses on doing abortions. Pegged to the release of his book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, Willie J. Parker answered questions about his “spiritual arguments” in favor of abortion. More on that in a moment.

But first can we just state what may be obvious but is nonetheless important to note: The New York Times would never have considered interviewing a doctor who went from performing abortions to believing it was wrong to do so.

Why? Because abortion is good. Practitioners are better. Practitioners who formerly opposed abortion are the best.

Segelstein immediately cites probably the two most famous abortionists who became pro-life converts, including Dr. Bernard Nathanson, to illustrate the point that Cox/New York Times could have written that story…but never would.

I would very much like you to read Segelstein’s essay , so let me close with this. She deftly details the grotesque, almost ghoulish, post that recently in Teen Vogue. It was so tasteless, so over-the-top, so crude, you would think that no one–not even Teen Vogue–would run something titled, “What to Get a Friend Post-Abortion.”

But you would be wrong. “Mainstreaming” abortion is long past using words such as “choice” and “rights.” It is treating the obliteration of a defenseless human being as a joke, a punch line, a narrative held together by a coarseness of language and a hardness of heart.

Only in such a morally truncated world could a pretentious butcher like Willie Parker–a man who parachutes into a locale and aborts as many as 45 babies in one day– get away with calling this carnage his “Life’s Work.”

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Categories: Media Bias