Media Bias, What Media Bias?

Hattip to Michelle Malkin.  When it comes to the lamestream media, their bias in favor of the pro-aborts is so manifest as to be laughable.  The latest demonstration of this bias is to call pro-aborts “abortion rights supporters” and pro-lifers “abortion rights opponents”.  NPR has jumped on this bandwagon:

NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate.

This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.

On the air, we should use “abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)” and “abortion rights opponent(s)” or derivations thereof (for example: “advocates of abortion rights”). It is acceptable to use the phrase “anti-abortion”, but do not use the term “pro-abortion rights”.

Oh I get it now!  Pro-aborts are not in favor of killing children in the womb, by sucking them out of the womb,  by slicing and dicing them,by using saline injections to burn and kill them, or by jamming scissors in the back of a baby’s skull as he or she is being pulled through the birth canal of the womb They are merely in favor of the right to do these things.  Perhaps this terminology can be expanded in usage.  People in the South prior to the Civil War who believed that it was perfectly acceptable for whites to own blacks, but who did not own slaves themselves, were not pro-slavery but were slavery rights supporters.  Germans in the Third Reich who would never have thought of harming a Jew themselves but thought Hitler was right to get rid of them was not pro-genocide, but were rather killing Jews rights supporters.  Truly, this terminology makes all the difference in the world!

I guess however God would probably have a problem with all this if Isaiah 5: 20 is accurate:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

25 Responses to Media Bias, What Media Bias?

  1. Anthony says:

    Matters of media bias aside, I’m a little surprised that this blog/site has had no posts on all the recent allegations made against the Vatican… certainly health care is not the only matter American Catholics should be thinking on right now?

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I am not going to allow this thread to be hijacked Anthony. I will merely note that if you don’t think the fake allegations against the Pope haven’t been covered on this blog, you haven’t been paying attention.

    If you want to discuss this issue go to my open thread Dog Lullaby post.

  3. The lamestream media is absolutely out of control. CNN (which isn’t even the worst offender) was running stories about how the crowd at the bill signing was “shouting racial slurs”

    There were some seven cameras there and not a single racial slur or event was caught on tape, but they report this as fact?

    Now that people are wise to the tricks, and conservatives are fighting back with talk radio and the internet and Fox, the left is resorting to censorship and declaring war on free speech.

    This is done through code words like the “fairness doctrine” and “hatespeech” which are nothing more than attempts to silence and ultimately criminalize conservative voices. It won’t be long before being pro-life is “hatespeech” against feminists.

    We need to draw a line in the sand, that if you try to take away our free speech then you’re an enemy of America, and committing an act of terrorism against the US constitution.

  4. Elaine Krewer says:

    I don’t see anything inherently wrong, evil, or biased with using the terms “abortion rights supporter” or “abortion rights opponent.” I used them myself when I worked for secular media.

    It is not in the least un-truthful or inaccurate to say that we (Catholics and others who believe abortion should not be legal) oppose abortion rights, because we don’t think abortion is a “right.” It sure beats “anti-choice”, and is no worse than “anti-abortion.”

    If one is writing from a definite political or religious or philosophical perspective then I would say stick with pro-life and pro-choice. However, if one is writing for a secular and ostensibly neutral audience that is looking from the outside in, so to speak, these terms are entirely appropriate. They do not distort the position of either side.

    I would imagine that abortion rights supporters could easily take offense at not being called “pro-choice” since for the most part, they would rather not talk about exactly what it is they are choosing!

  5. Anthony says:

    I have Don, and I certainly do not intend to highjack a thread. What I refer to is ongoing…. And media bias certainly plays a role.

  6. Elaine Krewer says:

    Also, remember that there are other “choice” movements — most notably school choice (vouchers) — that have nothing to do with abortion. Ditching the term “pro choice” avoids confusion of the pro-abortion-rights movement with these. Again, I’m speaking from the point of view of someone who would be writing or speaking to a secular, neutral audience.

  7. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Elaine, rights in the American lexicon are a good thing. This is not neutral language, it is loaded language to place the pro-aborts in the best possible light and the pro-lifers in the worst possible light. In regard to NPR the give away is when their minions are instructed to not refer to pro-aborts as pro-abortion rights. NPR and the vast majority of the lamestream ink stained wretches want to divert attention from the act of abortion, which they recognize is hideously ugly to all but the most deranged pro-aborts, to the right to abortion. In addition to this being biased it is also profoundly silly. This type of obvious bias merely increases the distrust for the media that more people each day are no longer reading, viewing or listening to.

  8. American Knight says:


    Although you make a cogent and lucid argument – those days are over. This is no longer a debate, it is a war – a war of ideas and words for now and I pray it stays that way, but the Left is very, very violent and will always resort to violence when the other tactics don’t work.

    We need to call them what they are – purveyors of death, period. Killing is not a right. Murdering babies is exactly what they do. They need to be reminded that they are engaged in murder – it is time to push them and yes this will escalate, but the other option is to be silent and passive and fade into the darkness.

    The Church will be here until the return of the King, but not necessarily in the USA. I am not going down with out a fight – He died for me, I can’t allow Him to be attacked again, I’ve driven too many nails into His body. It has to stop somewhere.

    Murder – it is an ugly word. Pro-Murder vs. Pro-Life, that is a clear distinction. If they want to kill babies, they have to do it in full view of the light – no more shadows. Shadows is where the Nazis began to kill Jews.

  9. RL says:

    I’m with Elaine. Net net I think this is better. Pro-choice was never anything but a PR gimmick – a way to put a smiley face on the barbaric. Who can be against choice after all? At least now the gruesome choice of abortion is being called out, even if “rights” are attached. Pro-life is preferable (and will still be referred to as such by the movement), but being against abortion or abortion rights is still accurate and a badge of honor.

  10. Donald R. McClarey says:

    No RL it begs the central question of whether there is a right to abortion. The phrasing legitimizes the creation out of whole cloth by the Court in Roe of this “right” which has no basis in the Constitution. This is pro-abort phrasing and not neutral phrasing.

  11. Donald R. McClarey says:

    David Schmidt at Liveaction blog has some great points on this phrasing by the media:

    “What I take issue with is the use of the term “Anti-Abortion Rights Group” when referring to a collection of groups that includes Americans United for Life and National Right to Life. Why?

    1.It Makes a Pro-Abortion Assumption that the Debate is About Abortion Rights, Not Abortion
    It assumes that pro-life groups main or fundamental position is opposition to abortion rights. While pro-life groups do not believe that a right to abortion exists, a more accurate description is opposition to “abortion,” not “abortion rights.”
    2.It Plays Word Games with the Word “Rights”
    Does anybody want to be against “rights”? It doesn’t matter what “right” it is, it just sounds good to be for rights even if they are ridiculous rights. To make being pro-abortion sound more palatable, the term pro-abortion rights is often used by the media. The same thing is used here by injecting “rights” into the title.
    3.It Ignores the Fact That Abortion Can Exist Without Abortion Rights
    If Roe v. Wade (which established a Constitutional right to an abortion despite no mention of it in the Constitution) was struck down by the courts, abortion could still legally take place. It would just mean that each state would have full freedom in deciding to restrict or permit abortion. For example, there is no specific right to own a computer, but many people do own computers. If a group was opposed to people having computers, they should be referred to as “anti-computers,” not “anti-computer rights” because their advocacy against computers could legitimately exist whether “computer rights” existed to not.
    4.It Assumes the Negative
    It labels those who believe that every human life should be protected as not being advocates for something, but rather against something. Everyone wants to be on the positive and not the negative side of things, and so this subtle tactic is used to make it seem like pro-life advocates are really just negative people against things instead of positive people standing for the value of every human life.
    5.It Ignores the Concept of a Right to Life
    The title could have been written as “Executive Order Wins With Stupak, Loses With Right to Life Groups.” The reason why Newsweek doesn’t want to write in these terms is that it brings up the concept of there being a right to life. The very mention that a “right to life” might exist gives credibility to the pro-life position in a way that Newsweek loathes. Pro-abortion writers will keep the use of the term “right to life” to an absolute minimum which means you will only read it when they are referring to the name of an organization such as, “National Right to Life.”
    6.It Affirms the Concept of a Right to an Abortion

    A Historical Perspective
    When we think about early American history, there were those for and against the choice to own slaves. We do not call those who supported the choice to own slaves, “pro-choice,” we call them “pro-slavery.” Likewise, today we accurately describe each position on this debate as pro-abortion/anti-abortion or pro-human life rights/anti-human life rights as those terms describe the true nature of the debate.”

  12. RL says:

    Don, I agree with you that it’s not neutral language and that it’s insufficient and that using the word rights muddies the reality. My point is that the term pro-choice was even worse in those regards. It stood for all the same things, even making it seem that “choice” is a right, but as said, it was a big smiley face on abortion. If I had my way, it would be pro-life vs pro-abortion, but I still think applying the word abortion to the pro-aborts is better than letting them hide behind “choice”. That word fooled too many of the naive and gave cover to those who would have us believe they’re pro-life yet wouldn’t let it get in the way of advancing the culture of death.

  13. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I agree with you on that point RL. If the media really wanted neutral terms I would suggest pro-abortion and anti-abortion.

  14. Elaine Krewer says:

    “We do not call those who supported the choice to own slaves, “pro-choice,” we call them “pro-slavery.” Likewise, today we accurately describe each position on this debate as pro-abortion/anti-abortion or pro-human life rights/anti-human life rights as those terms describe the true nature of the debate.”

    But didn’t the term “pro-life” become established because the movement thought “anti-abortion” was too negative and biased a term? So now “anti-abortion” is OK?

    It’s all fine and dandy to proclaim that we must have no tolerance for error and we’re at war and all that when you are sitting in front of a computer blogging under an assumed name, but when you are dealing with real live people who do NOT all agree with you and you have to make a living at it, that’s another thing entirely.

    We are obviously never going to persuade NPR or CNN to start using “purveyors of death” or “pro-murder” to refer to the other side, so if referring to them as “abortion rights supporters” comes a little closer to calling a spade a spade than “pro-choice” does,

    Also, I dunno that the word “rights” automatically triggers warm and fuzzy feelings in all instances. For instance, the term “states’ rights” for liberals immediately conjures up rednecks waving the Confederate flag and George Wallace standing at the schoolhouse door. Or, try asking a die hard union member what they think of “right to work” laws.

  15. Elaine Krewer says:

    I forgot to finish one of my sentences above… it should read “If referring to them as ‘abortion rights supporters’ comes a little closer to calling a spade a spade than ‘pro choice’ does, I can live with it.”

  16. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “But didn’t the term “pro-life” become established because the movement thought “anti-abortion” was too negative and biased a term? So now “anti-abortion” is OK?”

    I offered it as a neutral term for the media Elaine. Personally I have never had a problem with anti-abortion. It focuses on what the battle is all about, just as pro-slavery and anti-slavery did in an earlier struggle in our country.

    “Also, I dunno that the word “rights” automatically triggers warm and fuzzy feelings in all instances. For instance, the term “states’ rights” for liberals immediately conjures up rednecks waving the Confederate flag and George Wallace standing at the schoolhouse door.”

    Actually advocates of segregation were usually not referred to by the media as states rights advocates. They were usually referred to, accurately, as pro-segregation.

  17. Moe says:

    American Knight wrote: “If they want to kill babies, they have to do it in full view of the light – no more shadows. Shadows is where the Nazis began to kill Jews.” You must have been reading Elie Weisel!
    Elie Weisel:
    “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
    Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
    Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”
    Let’s bring the horror of abortion into the light. We should challenge the media to broadcast “minor” abortion surgical procedures, akin to how it broadcasts prostate and heart surgeries and colonoscopies, to educate the public as to benignity of this procedure. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi, with her bright smile and upbeat manner, could narrate the partial birth abortion surgical procedure.

  18. PM says:

    “Pro-abortion rights” is probably how most of those of that opinion would like to describe themselves.They believe it is a right, even if it is not one they would choose to exercise themselves. In the same manner,to pick up on the analogy used in this threat, Stephen Douglas was not “pro-slavery” but “pro-slavery rights.” I think he believed slavery was wrong in the abstract but it was a practice incorporated in the constitution, and an available option if a majority of voters in a state or territory choose to adopt it.

    “Anti-abortion rights”is rhetorically tendentious, as it seems intended to suggest that those of that opinion are opposed to a recognized right. The position, of course, is that is not and cannot be any such “right.”

    “Anti-abortion” is OK (particularly when, as some have pointed out, when it becomes clear just what abortion is). By analogy: anti-slavery; anti-torture; anti-waterboarding; anti-war; anti-Catholic. So on. But “pro-life” is certainly better.

    “Pro-choice” seems an inoffensive option in referring to those who are pro-abortion (rights), but it is semantically grotesque. If those who are contemplating or who have had abortions are pressed to find a rationale, it is often along these lines: “I didn’t feel I had any other choice.”

  19. Bonald says:

    How about “abortion rights advocates” and “fetal rights advocates”? In each case, the name would focus on the central concern of the indicated advocate.

    I admit that I hate the names “pro-choice” and “pro-life”. They’re so vague, so meaningless. Why not just declare our side “pro-good”? I’ve also gotten sick of liberals telling us that if we were really pro-life, we would have to support policy X which (by some dubious accounting) will minimize the aggregate number of deaths in the world. It’s not death per se I’m opposed to, it’s legal murder. So when someone asks me if I’m “really pro-life, or just anti-abortion”, I tell them I’m anti-abortion, and proud of it.

  20. American Knight says:

    The problem I have with ‘fetal rights advocates’ is that a fetus has no special rights. A human fetus has the same human rights every human being has, given us by our Creator. The only difference between a fetus, embryo, zygote, or human at any stage of development including declining or incapacitated development is just that – a stage. A stage is a difference in material disposition, it is not a different state of being – all are human beings – none are human becomings.

    Being is what gives us our dignity and when we allow a perversion of being to be manifested, such as a ‘potential human being’ or a human with a ‘poor quality of life’ then we allow different ‘rights’ or lack there of to be ascribed to that entity. This is a lie. All are human beings, all have the same rights.

    Another issue is location. We cannot add or delete rights due to spacial disposition. A baby in a mother’s womb has the same rights as a baby in a crib or a car seat or a school desk or a hospital bed. Location is not relevant to human rights. Location may have some place in civil rights, such as an illegal alien cannot be denied human rights merely because they are a trespasser, but that does not give them a right to civil rights under the laws of the country they have invaded illegally.

    The right to life is universal and it has nothing to do with access to health care or any other such thing. The right to life exists a priori – only God has the right to exercise power over life and death, despite the fact that we have that same power, we have no right when not legitimately given – for example, the state does have a right to execute a criminal, with full due process of law, but no individual has the same right except in cases of self defense.

    I must admit, I am not familiar with Elie Weisel – but I agree with the sentiment. The ‘right to privacy’ is abused by criminals. Criminals and demons do not like to do their work in the light of day – they like to hide in shadows. Abortion may be given legitimacy by the bad decision of law (Roe v. Wade) but the Enemy still wants it done in secret and his minions do everything they can to thwart technology that exposed the horror of the abortion ‘procedure’. Imagine that – do rapists commit rape in the light of day? Do we refer to rape as a sexual ‘procedure’? Do we allow rape in extreme situations. Is rape OK if it only targets a specific class of people. The arguments used for abortion are lies and the soft language used to cover these heinous acts is unacceptable.

    Are we going to convince anyone to use direct language instead of deceitful rhetoric? No. Does that mean we should play the same game? Of course not! Call it what it is – murder of the innocent. That’s what it is and we are called to witness to the truth – no matter the cost. May we be painted as ‘extremists’ or ‘terrorists’? Sure. So what. Our Lord promised us the scorn of the world – we should not seek it out, but when it comes we should welcome it – after all, we will be hated, but Jesus was hated first.

  21. Moe says:

    Well said, AK. It is the Reign of Terror against the unborn.

  22. Pinky says:

    In most every case, a group has the right to name itself. I’m fine with “pro-life” and “pro-choice”. Yes, in an ideal world, the pro-choicers would be known as “deathers” or “pro-infanticide”, but I don’t think that we’re going to make any headway by ticking people off.

    Any time one side can claim the word “right”, they win. That’s just a fact in America. We’re at a standstill with “right to life” and “right to choose”. Our real advantage comes when we get past the labels and start talking about the positions themselves. The more we talk about adoption, the better off we are. But on that subject more than any, I believe, the press opposes us. All adoption-related stories in the media are about bad kids, bad birth parents, or bad adoptive parents. Stick with personal stories: everyone knows good adoption stories.

  23. David Schmidt’s comments copied by Don McClarey echo my own objections.

    My other peeve is the use of “liberalization” in terms of abortion laws. This causes all sorts of phrasing problems like “Pro-life liberals roll back liberalized abortion laws.” It probably gives a bump to the abortion side too, since some unreflective people might think “Oh, I’m liberal, so liberalization must be good.”

    What do you all think of calling people advocates of “restrictive/permissive” abortion laws? Both restriction and permissive have poor connotations, but they seem most descriptive without taking sides. It’s often too wordy for the press though.

    I’ve also taken to Henry Hyde’s description of abortion as “a killing procedure,” and I consider using the phrase when the debate is getting too neutral and abstract.

    Come to think of it, aiming for neutrality is a half-measure. Shouldn’t we go all out and try to convince the press to see abortion in the same way they see other forms of child abuse? Bias isn’t always bad in itself.

    Sometimes the incremental strategy is best, but sometimes that strategy just strengthens the presuppositions that trap us. Time spent writing to reporters about bias might be better spend writing to them about the realities they are sustaining and the ideals they are rejecting.

    Indeed, an excessive commitment to “unbiased” examination surely helped normalize abortion in press coverage and academia before it was widely legalized.

  24. In point of facts, in antebellum America, those who supported the right to own slaves did, in fact, take great offense at being called “pro-slavery,” in much the same way that today’s pro-abortion people take offense at being properly identified for what they are. Stephen Douglas (famous today for his series of debates against Abraham Lincoln, but famous then as one of the leading lights of the U.S. Senate) insisted that he was not pro-slavery (despite his management of the Mississippi cotton plantation owned by his wife), but pro-states-rights. Nobody back then was fooled, either.

  25. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Good point Paul. Republicans would sometimes refer to pro-slavery Democrats as Slavocrats as in the campaign song Lincoln and Liberty Too:

    It should be noted however that Douglas strongly supported Lincoln’s policies to preserve the Union in 1861, and before his untimely death that year stumped the country appealing for Democrats to support the war effort to preserve the Union. Douglas was at best indifferent to the evil of slavery, but he was also a patriot.

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