Former New York Times reporter Alex S. Jones has written a book, Losing the News, saying that journalism is in a crisis and that government help may be necessary to save it. He doesn't insist, however, that political bias has had any significant role in this decline. Instead, he sees the bias in the mainstream media as not political but "cultural." He defines this as "a set of beliefs" that can "skew" reporting.
Taking the word "political" out of the equation doesn't make any sense. A cultural bias has a political impact. And I certainly don't share his idea of getting the government involved at any level in financing journalism or journalists.
But the Jones book is helpful in citing examples of how this "cultural bias" is reflected in coverage of actual issues. He admits, in one of the best parts of his book, that the issue of abortion has been covered in a biased way by many news organizations.
Jones, Director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, says, "Reporters as a group tend to be pro-choice, and pro-life advocates have long complained that these biases have skewed the way the story is reported." Jones, admittedly pro-choice himself, nevertheless agrees with the pro-lifers, and cites coverage of partial birth abortion. This is a particularly hideous procedure in which the head is punctured so that the child can be removed from the womb dead.
He describes how Peter Jennings of ABC News, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other major news organizations claimed that the procedure was relatively rare, amounting to a couple hundred or so a year. The CBS "60 Minutes" program even ran a story justifying partial birth abortion because of what carrying the child to term might do to the mother. The coverage was "tilted," Jones admits.
Fourteen months after a bill banning partial birth abortion was introduced in Congress, Jones notes, Ruth Padawer of the Bergen County Record investigated and determined that the procedure was not rare. She documented at least 1,500 in New Jersey alone in one year.
Jones says David Brown of The Washington Post followed up, finding the same facts on a national scale. "Shockingly¯and disappointingly¯the other great news organizations generally ignored what Padawer and Brown had found," he says.
Jones, then a reporter on a PBS show, did a story about coverage of partial birth abortion, concluding that the media had failed to cover the issue properly. He says that he and his producers debated whether to even run their findings, fearful that pro-lifers would use them against the pro-choice side. But they went ahead with the truth.
Pro-abortion media bias is something that Accuracy in Media has documented and complained about for years. It was so bad that in 2000 we documented how the New York Times and USA Today had rejected a paid ad from Focus on the Family criticizing partial birth abortion. The bias extends to refusing to cover scientific evidence showing that having abortions increases the possibility of a woman having breast cancer.
Media hatred of Sarah Palin can also be explained, at least in part, because of her pro-life stand. As we put it in an AIM Report, "Beyond her role as a pro-life mother who loves her husband, Palin is a reminder to the feminists that what they are screaming for in the battle for the right to 'choice' is not only a human life but in many cases a disabled child, one of the most innocent and defenseless among us."
Abortion is common in today's America for those considered to be disabled or defective.
The good news this time around, on the eve of Friday's January 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C., is that people around the country and the world with access to the global Catholic television network EWTN will be able to watch the protest themselves.
A release from EWTN points out: "With Congress now meeting to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions of the health care bill¯which includes the Senate version's massive funding of abortion¯the 2010 March for Life has become one of the most important in history."
Pro-life organizations may link to the EWTN website Jan. 21-24 for live streaming audio and video of the March for Life and related historic events (www.ewtn.com/audiovideo). Other resources can be found at www.ewtn.com/prolife. The actual March for Life on Friday will air at 11 a.m., Jan. 22 (live), and encores at 10 p.m. that night.
EWTN is also airing some important pro-life documentaries you will never find on the major television networks. The first, "Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family," is described as an examination of the dangers facing society and world economies as a result of declining populations around the globe. It airs at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 20, with an encore at 5 a.m. ET, Saturday, Jan. 23. Another documentary, "Demographic Bomb: Demography is Destiny," describes how population control programs have violated human rights and created an imbalance in the world's economy. It airs at 10 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 27, with an encore at 5 a.m., Sat., Jan. 30.
Call it what you will¯political or cultural bias. The fact is that we don't have to take it anymore. You don't have to "lose the news." But you can "lose the bias." And this is something to celebrate.
It is only a "crisis" for the liberals in the media losing their power and influence.