- Saturday, January 27, 2024

Name a controversial issue, such as gun control, immigration, climate change or race relations. On none of them are the media more biased than on abortion. It’s as if journalists joined a Planned Parenthood scout troop and earned merit badges for deliberate distortion.

Non-coverage of the 2024 March for Life is a sign of things to come in this year’s campaign. Attendance was estimated at 50,000 to 100,000 in freezing weather. Speakers included House Speaker Mike Johnson and Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 2024 National College Football Team.

There was no mention of the event on the evening news that day or the morning news the next day on ABC, NBC and CBS. But NBC had a story on high school girls who are basing their decision of where to go to college on whether a state allows unrestricted access to abortion. The network touted this as “a growing trend.”

Abortion proponents can count on coverage that is exquisitely tailored to their needs.

Following the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, NBC’s Chuck Todd charged the high court is “rigged,” because a conservative president exercises his constitutional authority to appoint justices who can read and understand the Constitution’s clear and unambiguous language.


The media insist that a majority of Americans want to keep abortion legal. They neglect to mention that only 35% want it legal in all cases or that 50% believe it should be legal only under certain circumstances.

Since Dobbs, there have been over 100 attacks on Catholic churches and pregnancy resource centers, ranging from acts of vandalism to firebombing, which the big three networks neglected to cover.

In 2022, reporter Kate Smith migrated from CBS News to Planned Parenthood, saying that in the face of Dobbs, women had to take a stand and that she couldn’t take the objectivity rampant in the newsroom. In making the move, all that changed was her business cards.

When the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Texas’ COVID-19 abortion restrictions, Ms. Smith wrote a story that only included quotes from sources like NARAL-Pro-Choice America and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

When she interviewed the acting president of Planned Parenthood in 2019, it read like an infomercial.

The conversation began with a cheery “Congratulations on the new job!” and moved on to the observation that: “There are a lots of different ways that you can get involved with health-care access, especially for women of color and especially for low-income women. Why Planned Parenthood?” To call it fawning would be an understatement.

Loaded language is a classic way of slanting coverage.

An opponent of abortion is never “pro-life,” but “anti-abortion.” Using this standard, the other side should be anti-life, right? Instead, they’re pro-choice.

It’s as if the media went to one side of the debate and asked: “What would you like us to call you? Great. Now, what would you like us to call your opponents?”

The A.P. Style Book is the bible of newsrooms. The latest edition admonishes journalists not to say “heartbeat,” when referring to a fetal — well – heartbeat, but instead to call it “cardiac activity” – anything to conceal the reality of abortion. The expression “pregnancy resource center” is to be avoided as well.

“Late-term abortion” is also verboten. “Pregnant women” or “women seeking abortions” are okay, but “pregnant persons” is preferred to be more inclusive of the transgendered.

In coverage of the debate, certain questions are never asked.

You’ll never hear a journalist ask a Democrat who supports abortion throughout the pregnancy: “What exactly is the difference between a fully-formed baby in the womb and a newborn?”

What about this: “Should the principle of personal autonomy be limited to abortion or applied across the board? Does a citizen have a right to choose to own a firearm for self-defense? Does a driver have a right to choose a gas-powered car? Do parents have a right to choose how their children are educated?”

People with inquiring minds want to know. You just won’t find them in the mainstream media.

Since the president intends to run for reelection on two issues — former President Donald Trump as a threat to democracy and abortion — the importance of media bias here can’t be overstated.

Once again, this year, abortion opponents will climb into the ring with a supposedly neutral referee who never misses an opportunity to knee them in the groin and stick a thumb in their eye.

• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.

Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide