Back when the Soviet Union still existed, jokes were often circulated that ridiculed their government-controlled media. One of them went something like this:
Athletes from the United States and the U.S.S.R. were pitted against each other in a track meet that was eventually won by the Yanks. The next day, headlines across Russia screamed, "Soviets Take Second in International Competition; Americans Finish Next to Last!"
In those days, jokes like this worked because America still claimed the moral superiority of having a "free press." And whether that claim reflected reality or not, we believed it was true and that is all that mattered.
Of course, the bloom is now off the rose. Only a complete idiot could witness what's going on in modern American journalism and not see that it has become a joke in and of itself. The fact is that the same godless / Marxist ideology that once controlled the Soviet media now controls the American media. It could also be that the American system is the worst of the two. After all, the Soviet press may have pushed the socialist manifesto because they were ordered to do so by humorless people wearing hobnailed boots. But the American press has no such defense; they knowingly manipulate the reporting of world events in order to advance this political agenda because they are its true believers.
However, while there is ample evidence to support this cynical analysis, my experience has been that it does not really explain most of the rabid pro-abortion bias we have seen from the media over the last 40 years. Instead, what I have noticed is that, as it regards this specific issue, contemporary journalists are not driven by ideology as much as they are by their own stupidity and laziness. This may sound overly simplistic but, after many years of interacting with these people, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that, with almost no exceptions, they are simply not very bright. It is also clear that they have now devolved into a collection of people who dismiss traditional concepts of morality as arcane, quaint and irrelevant. Moreover, that doesn't change much whether they work for the Frognot Texas Weekly Gazette or the New York Times or ABC News.
It was in the mid 1980s that I first began to understand how profoundly these things impact the media's abortion coverage. At the time, I was traveling almost every weekend conducting 8-hour training seminars designed to teach people how to articulate the pro-life position. I eventually did about 150 of these seminars across the U.S. and Canada and had more than 15,000 people attend.
One day, it dawned on me that if I were doing a parallel seminar for the pro-choice side my task would be much easier. In my Life Activist Seminar, I had to address complex issues related to the law, philosophy, biology, medicine, theology, logic, marketing,etcetera. These are the areas that, I knew, attendees had to understand in order to be effective defenders of the unborn. But if I were training the other side, my seminar would need to last no more than five minutes and I would not have to touch on any complicated issues. All I would have to do is make sure that every attendee left the room knowing how to mindlessly recite the following mantra:
"I am not in favor of abortion, I would never be involved in an abortion and I would do anything I could to discourage anyone I know from having one. But ultimately, I don't think the government has a right to make this decision."
That's it! If you can just memorize that, you don't need to know anything else. In effect, that simple rhetoric keeps you from ever having to defend a practice that you intuitively know is indefensible. At the same time, however, those who defend the rights of the unborn will never escape the requirement that they have at least a basic understanding of the things I mentioned above: law, philosophy, biology, medicine, theology, logic, marketing, etcetera. In short, it is an unavoidable aspect of this battle that the pro-choice position will always be exponentially easier to defend than the pro-life position.
Of course, once you combine that with the fundamental nature of the modern press, it becomes obvious why the pro-choice position has become the default position of the contemporary media. It requires no effort, no thought and no morality, all of which make it custom made for these people.
Today, the media advances this agenda through the use of two mechanisms. To illustrate the first, I ask you to imagine that you work for a corporation that has just fired a long-time employee. The next morning the company sends the following memo to the remaining staff:
"Yesterday, we were forced to terminate the employment of Chief Financial Officer, John Smith. It has always been company policy that employees who are found to be embezzling money from our accounts are immediately dismissed."
So why was John Smith fired? The obvious assumption would be that he was stealing money. But notice that, technically, the memo didn't say that; it simply made two true statements that encouraged such an assumption. It's a real-world variation of the, "Soviets Take Second, Americans Finish Next to Last!" joke.
This is a slimy little trick the media has learned to use when dealing with the abortion issue. There are thousands of examples of this but I'll cite just one of the more outrageous. Years ago, Operation Rescue went to Buffalo, New York, to peacefully blockade an abortion clinic. On CNN News that night, the voice-over for the lead story was something along the lines of, "Violence Erupts as Operation Rescue Invades Buffalo." Meanwhile, on the screen they show a group of enraged protestors literally punching police officers and having to be wrestled to the ground.
The message was unambiguous and perfectly delivered: pro-lifers are violent. The only problem was that the protestors who were shown fighting with the police were not part of Operation Rescue but were, instead, a group of pro-choice thugs. These people had physically accosted the pro-lifers and when the authorities intervened they were attacked as well. And make no mistake about it, CNN knew exactly what was going on because they were right there on the spot. But they are also aware that in a nation where video cameras are everywhere, they can't take the risk of telling an outright lie. So like the corporation I cited in the earlier fictional story, CNN carefully assembled two true statements in a way that would encourage the audience to believe a lie.
This sort of strategy is now almost universally employed by the media when reporting on abortion and illustrates the abysmal dishonesty that has become endemic within contemporary journalism.
A second phenomenon exemplifies the laziness of these people.
When covering a story in which those on opposite sides of an issue make contradictory statements, legitimate journalism dictates that the journalist investigate and expose who is lying and who is telling the truth. Today, however, that is not what happens. Modern journalist have adopted the "equal time" doctrine. They are too inept and too lazy to investigate, so they just regurgitate whatever the two sides say and declare that they have been fair to both. The problem is, if statement "A" and statement "Z" cannot both be true, publishing both without exposing who's lying does nothing more than give as much weight to the lie as it does to the truth.
Those of us in the pro-life movement see this almost every day but I will just cite one common example. In a story about late-term abortions, it is almost inevitable that the pro-life spokesperson will say that, in 1973, the Supreme Court made abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy. This, of course, is something the other side has been hiding from the American people since day one and they realize that it would be a public relations nightmare for them to find out about it now. So they say something along the lines of:
"Roe was a compromise decision that allows unrestricted abortion in the first trimester, allows it for the health and safety of the mother in the second trimester and does not permit it at all in the third trimester except to save the mother's life."
Now obviously, somebody's lying. But the media does not investigate because they are either too lazy to do so or because they are afraid to find out who's lying. On many occasions, I have confronted reporters over this very issue and told them precisely how they could discover for themselves what the truth is. But with not one exception to date, the response has been that their responsibility is to let each side have their say. In their world, this perverted sense of "fairness" trumps the truth every time.
In the final analysis, we live at a moment in history that is often called the age of information. Yet it is a constant source of aggravation for the pro-life movement that, even after all these years, so many Americans know so little about abortion. But let's also remember that we live in a society that is obsessed with the meaningless and the trivial. I am reminded of this every time I think about a particular article that was published several years ago. It gave the results of a series of man-on-the-street interviews in which randomly selected people were asked questions pertaining to current events and the United States government.
One question asked them if they could name the only woman who was on the United States Supreme Court at that time. The number one answer was ... Judge Judy.