If you followed the news this past month, you may have seen stories about a New York abortion-choice bill. You may have seen the false alarms about Covington Catholic boys whose red-hatted smiling faces sparked outrage like a red cape taunting liberal bulls. You may have also heard about the Government shutdown and various blurbs about Roger Stone, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, and maybe a report about the polar vortex. But did you hear about the half-million people marching on Washington to protest human rights abuses?
No? You didn’t heart anything from mainstream news? That’s odd.
The March for Life is the single most glaring media oversight, an oversight recurring every year.
The day after the March for Life we could find a boatload of stories about a different march, the Women’s March. At roughly, 20k attending, and certain leaders sinking with antisemitic scandals, the Women’s March was a whimper of an afterthought compared to last year’s coverage. And it was a fraction of the total size of the March for Life where estimates run as high as 200,000-500,000 participating in the March for Life. The Women’s March had lost most of its steam from previous years, 2017 and 2018, when it numbered in the hundreds of thousands and majority media had clearly coordinated with that march so the coverage was spectacular. You couldn’t check the news without seeing pink hats and abortion-choice advocates “shouting their abortion,” along with Trump-themed profanities. But even in 2017, when the Women’s March on Washington was at it’s largest, March for Life was still twice as large (200k vs. 400k). Even then, the March for life was still a back-page story compared to the front-page news about the Women’s March. Marching prolifers are boring, apparently, compared to the walking festival of anti-trump abortion-choice liberal politics.
It is no exaggeration to say that majority media is left of center, Democrat-leaning, pro-choice, and is committed to a “no platform policy” for pro-lifers.
“No Platform” means shutting down dialogue and debate by refusing to allow a “platform” for anyone to speak up for the opposing view. It’s an anti-free speech move, and while it might make sense in some cases – such as refusing to allow a holocaust-denier to speak at your synagogue – in news media and academia, it’s typically a jerk-move. No platform policies tend to beef up media bias and press news stories into partisan propaganda. In academia, it turns schools into partisan echo-chambers and reduces education to indoctrination.
Mainstream media is actively engaged in a no platform policy toward positive pro-life messages.
How do I know about this “no platform policy”? On Friday, January 18th, the day of the march, and also the following day, I personally scanned the front pages of all the major news sites I could think of, to get a sense of Mainstream Media coverage of the march. Aside from the recognized conservatives sites like Fox News, DailyWire, and Drudge Report. I couldn’t find any stories on the March.
Not. One. Peep.
I’m talking about CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Politico, NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, and BBC. These represent mainstream media and they had nothing to say about the largest march on Washington since this time last year, in years and the largest annual march on Washington in U.S. history. They didn’t see fit to mention how it’s the loudest protest staged by social conservatives on a regular basis. They apparently think there’s no story worth reporting when half a million people march on Washington upset about the continued and deliberate killing of innocents – and fetal humans are by-definition legally innocent.
Stop the Presses!
But later that day, when high school boys wearing MAGA hats smile unflinchingly at a Native American – NOW THAT’S NEWS! And so we saw the second most embarrassing modern media gaffe that day. Besides overlooking the March for Life, mainstream media, social media, and all mainstream news sources mentioned above rushed to the “breaking” story about racist teenagers mocking Nathan Phillips, a Native American, impeding his ceremonial protest and disrespecting the man’s heritage. Afterward longer videos surfaced, showing that a third group, the Black Hebrew Israelites was verbally harassing the students with profanity-laced insults and flagrant provocation as Phillips and his group marched into view, then turned, marching directly into the huddled crowd of boys, still chanting and drumming inches from one young man’s face. The student in question is Nick Sandmann, neither the short video nor the long videos could offer any material evidence that that student acted inappropriately or disrespectfully. He stood his ground. He smiled sometimes. But he did not verbally engage, or physically harm or even touch Phillips. It turns out the young boys were doing school chants, not to mock Native Americans, but to drown out the incendiary language of the Black Hebrew Israelites.
With this new revelation, a few walked-back their “rush to judgment” journalism, like CNN . . . sort of. Mainly, that event was another chance to attack Trump indirectly by faulting people who wear his signature hat. Never mind the facts, the context, and the real story about what actually happened, there’s a narrative to be upheld! Celebrities raised their voices. Social media chimed in with hells bells, threatening violence and death till Covington Catholic School had to shut down from the overwhelming number of bomb threats and death threats. Yet, for all the power the media exercised about that FALSE story, they spent all that strength on a non-story when they could have been reporting the real news that day.
But, mainstream media cannot report a flat positive pro-life message without breaking the “no platform policy.”
The largest protest on Washington is news. It’s a big event. It affects countless lives. There are thousands of compelling personal stories there, of people choosing life, adopting, fighting to save premature babies, mourning the loss of miscarriages and stillborns, about people who had survived abortion attempts, about the psychological aftermath of abortion, about the broken relationships and physical side effects following abortion. The march for life is a goldmine of pro-life stories itching for media coverage.
There are opportunities for great “on the scene” reporting showing the huge crowds, interviewing kids, teens, college students, adults, senior citizens, men and women alike, and people of every race color and creed. It’s a story worth reporting.
So why didn’t majority media report it? Why is there a no platform policy, whether intentional or accidental, against positive pro-life message?
To be fair, Fox News had a few stories on it. Good for them. But everyone knows Fox News is a right-wing site. They are “mainstream” for conservative news sources. But they aren’t mainstream media broadly. Excluding them for the moment, there were also smaller and lesser-known news sites with stories on it. Good for them too. But, I’m talking about the majority of established, long-standing, widely respected, and popular news agencies – Mainstream Media. They avoid reporting on things like the March for Life, and when they do, it’s because they are trying to fabricate a racist-narrative about MAGA-hatted young men, or they are spinning an out-of-context quote to make Ben Shapiro sound like he’s a Nazi. Ben Shapiro is Jewish, in case you didn’t know.
Why the Silence?
Is it just media bias?
It’s easy to blame the (near) media blackout on political bias. Mainstream media is left-wing. And the March for Life is largely a right-wing event. But, that’s not enough to explain the silence. Fox News reported on the Women’s March even though the pink-hat protestors were overwhelmingly left-wing. News agencies often report events across the aisle. The test for news articles isn’t whether they are left-wing or right-wing but whether they are newsworthy.
Is mainstream media out-of-touch?
In other words, are they an elitist club who only hangs out with like-minded snobs? Maybe a little bit. But there are too many ‘citizen journalist’ types, with their finger on the pulse of America, and these journalists still find their way into top-tier newsrooms despite growing up with a plastic spoon in their mouth. The “out-of-touch elitist” theory doesn’t explain the silence.
Are journalism programs biased?
Perhaps we can push the blame back to an earlier cause. Journalism schools, are they primarily left-wing? Probably. A recent study for the National Association of Scholars, looking at almost 9,000 colleges and universities, found that about 78% have zero or almost zero Republicans in their faculty. And the humanities programs were even worse. It’s difficult if not impossible to find a well-known and credentialed journalism program that’s not jammed-packed with left-wing teachers. But again, people can report stories from across the aisle. Even if every journalism program and every journalist were left-wing, it would still be newsworthy to report on a half-million people protesting a federal policy by marching on the nation’s capital. Can you imagine the media coverage we would have seen if 500,000 people were marching to legalize fully-automatic rifles? Or to abolish the minimum wage? Compared to those incendiary topics, the pro-life stance – which is far more deadly than any other singular cause – is met with a collective yawn from left-wing media.
Is there money involved?
Now we’re getting somewhere. Planned Parenthood and other abortion-choice lobby groups have enormous leverage in the Democrat Party. The allegiance is an open secret. Abortion-choice is openly stated in the Democrat party platform. So, it’s no surprise to find the abortion issue splits down party lines: the pro-choice lobby donating exclusively to Democrats, and pro-life lobby toward Republicans. In return, Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion-choice lobbying group in America – raked in, last year, a whopping half-billion dollars in Government reimbursements ($563.8 million; see page 30 of PP Annual Report). It would take a whole series of articles to untangle the knotted roots between the abortion lobby and the democrat party. But, for now, it’s safe to say that Democrats can gain or lose a lot of votes, a lot of public approval, and a lot of campaign financing depending on the “optics” of the abortion-controversy. To whatever extent major media players are trying to “help” left-wing candidates succeed – and there are credible arguments making this very case – they are liable to feel the need to massage their stories till they neglect, dismiss, or ignore any redeeming examples of the pro-life cause.
But, even if there’s bias, money, and insular elitism involved, there’s an even simpler reason likely fueling the no-platform policy against pro-life messages.
The No-Platform Policy Is Fueled by Insecurity
It takes a lot of courage and self-assurance to deliberately subject your deeply-held beliefs to public criticism. You have to have thick skin, emotional maturity, and some intellectual foundations in place to be able to responsibly debate the ethics and practice of abortion. Debating over deeply-held beliefs is risky, especially for people who aren’t well-informed about the opposing view or if they’ve uncritically acquired their own views not realizing they were getting a one-sided left-wing education. From a media standpoint, if media bias favors left-wing candidates, it’s much safer and much more secure to just shelter pro-choice beliefs from any serious challenge by leaving out inconvenient facts and narrating the storylines yourself. That way, instead of letting opponents speak for themselves, mainstream media can narrate ideology to the audience letting their careful interpretations filter across any facts and data and explain away unseemly details. Then there’s little risk that audiences will be challenged to rethink and abandon pro-choice ideology.
Some recent events have swelled the smoldering insecurity. The Brett Kavanaugh circus concluded with his appointment to the supreme court, swinging the court to a 5-4 Republican majority. Within a week, media outlets were questioning whether the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade the landmark abortion-choice case in 1973.
Not long after that, State legislators in Democrat-leaning states like New York and Vermont, are rolling back abortion restrictions clearly aligning their states with the federal standards in Roe v. Wade. Legislators in Virginia attempted a similar move for abortion-choice, but the bill sank, as they don’t have a Democrat majority. Plus, a video surfaced of its author, Kathy Tran, affirming late-term abortion even seconds before delivery. Nor did it help that VA Governor Ralph Northam was mired in racial scandal soon after the bill was proposed.
The Kavanaugh court is still a recent event though. He was appointed in October 2018. Yet the no-platform policy seems to have been going on for years has been around for years. ***Remember the media blackout about the Kermit Gosnell trial and movie?*** Something else must be must at work here. Why else would pro-choice leaning media feel insecure enough to have a no-platform policy?
The simplest answer: They might lose.
People are reluctant to engage in debates when they aren’t confident they’ll win. Most people don’t like to dialogue on issues where we’ll be publically exposed as wrong, especially if they’d be wrong about an absolutely gargantuan human rights crisis.
Mainstream media is a powerful force, but it’s also a business. They need to provide a service that can generate revenue so they can stay in business. And bad optics (looking bad in front of the camera) is bad for business. In that way, mainstream media does not want to be caught publically advocating for a policy condoning the informed and deliberate killing of innocent human lives on a scale that dwarfs the holocaust by 1,000%. They don’t want to be seen supporting the choice for dismemberment abortions. They don’t want risk to promoting systemic racism in the form of 4x’s higher black abortion rate compared to white mothers.
They don’t want to risk betraying their anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-ablism, pro-justice platform by excusing liberal abortion-choice policy where it’s still legal to commit race-based, sex-based, and ability-based abortion. The humanitarian leverage of the democrat party, and liberal media might very well hinge on whether they are willing to admit that these aborted fetuses are biological humans.
It’s not difficult at all to show that the fetal victims of abortion are living biological humans who have done nothing wrong and carry no guilt deserving of death. The science is on the side of pro-life advocates here (see, Lozier, and Princeton). There’s no serious debate in modern biological science about whether distinct human life begins at conception or whether fetal offspring of human parents are themselves biological humans. These facts can be unpleasant for many pro-choice advocates to admit. In my experience, pro-choice advocates would much rather debate about whether the (human) fetus is a “person” and then presume that human rights hinge entirely on personhood irrespective of humanity. Yet even then, Even the most highly educated, fair-minded, pro-choice advocates often struggle to admit that the fetus is a human fetus, a biological human being. Typically, pro-choicers delete any mention of “human” and refer to that thing in the mother as a mere “fetus” – a stage of development – so they don’t have to admit the humanity of those abortion victims.
Plainly stated, abortion is ugly. It repels empathetic people. Any tender-hearted person with a strong sense of compassion can be heartbroken over the plight of struggling young mothers, but if they also look at fetal humans with the same compassion then they will have a hard time embracing liberal abortion-choice policy. That’s a serious liability for the stereotypical “bleeding heart liberals.” As long as the democrat party touts itself as the compassion party, and values heart-wrenching humanitarian causes, using emotional and intuitive appeals to justice, then they have to carefully dictate the terms for discussing abortion. Otherwise, people might aim that same compassion-motive not just as struggling mothers but also at defenseless children-in-utero. Then they might finally feel the impact of the pro-life rally cries like: “Abortion stops a beating heart,” “women deserve better than abortion,” “I support a woman’s right to be born,” and “All black lives matter.”
If people on large scale were to seriously look at actual abortion procedures or even descriptions of the abortion they might not think it’s a choice worth having. We don’t talk about killing-choice, manslaughter-choice, accidental-homicide choice, or even murder-choice. But, when people see how the living fetal human squirms and pushes against the doctor’s forceps before he finally catches the moving child-in-utero in the teeth of the clamp and begins tearing off limbs, before crushing the skull there’s no debate about whether that act is killing a human life. We don’t have to agree on “personhood” legally or philosophically, to admit the scientific fact that that child-in-utero is a living homo sapiens and therefore a human being in the most literal biological sense of the word.
Another reason for insecurity is that abortion-choice advocates are often scared of abortion itself. I have to imagine that mainstream media figures are no exception. Now, to be clear here, even if I disagree with many of the talking heads in majority media, I know they’re still human. They have empathy, compassion, and they care about others. If sincere people, even media people, were to see what an abortion really looks like, their humanitarian heart would have a hard time excusing it.
I’m not necessarily talking about public displays of graphic post-abortion corpses. I’m not a big fan of using bloody abortion pictures in public places as if that’s going to endear people to the pro-life position. I would, however, argue that any emotionally healthy adult should understand exactly what an abortion is before they go about promoting abortion-choice policy. That means that a lot of people need to take a long hard look at abortion images. That also means, replacing all the murky euphemisms that hide the reality of abortion under politi-speak. Perhaps you’ve heard some of these euphemisms.
* “Terminating a pregnancy” (childbirth terminates a pregnancy too you know)
* “Fetus” (like a horse fetus? a pig fetus? or a human fetus?)
* “Women’s rights” (I agree on all of women’s rights and there’s no “right to kill innocents”)
* “The procedure” (ex., dilating the cervix, then tearing apart the squirming child-in-utero)
* “Clump of cells/glob of snot/product of conception” (i.e., living human organism, child-in-utero, baby)
You get the point. Abortion-choice ideology is couched in a fluffy bed of euphemisms so that it’s not always clear that abortion-choice advocates themselves really understand what abortion really is. Euphemisms are a delicate way for media, and any abortion-choice advocates, to frame the abortion-choice narrative minimizing any risk that listeners will let their compassion for the mother spill over to the child as well.
Because of media narratives, and obstructionist euphemisms, many pro-choicers don’t even know what happens in an abortion. Rarely have pro-choicers actually seen an abortion – live, recorded, or animated. Our compassionate nature pulls us away from such ugly scenes. Most people never want to see an abortion. Good! And that’s a great reason why they should never promotion abortion-choice policy. If they aren’t willing to look at the effects of that ideology, they shouldn’t adopt that ideology. When people refuse to look at the consequences of their abortion-choice policy they are just as culpable as the politician who refuses to visit the ghettos created by their budget cuts, or who refuse to meet any of the victims harmed by their “healthcare plan,” or their military strategy, or their tax policy.
Positive pro-life messages are scary to mainstream media to the extent that they lean politically left. Their no-platform policy, whether accidental or deliberate, indicates partisan allegiance to the Democrat party.
Positive pro-life messages aren’t just threatening to the pro-choice platform of the democrat party, they can also scare mainstream media reducing their viewership. Pro-life policy has been a fixture of the Republican platform since 1988. It’s a hallmark of social conservativism. And it’s a mainstay among religious conservatives. So it makes sense why that side of the ideological aisle might seem threatening to left-leaning media figures. Ideally, mainstream media would simply report the news, like Edward R. Murrow, with little or no bias. They wouldn’t be “in bed” with either political party, or “bought” by corporate giants, or swayed by corrupting figures. They would be committed to shining a bright light wherever darkness reigns. They’d make every effort to correct against their own biases, and just report the news letting people decide for themselves how to interpret all that.
But that’s not the world we live in. Modern trends in the age of “fake news” have media outlets surrendering to partisan bias. Instead of reporting the news they are dictating narratives from cherry picked stories, selective editing, and corrupting political allegiance. The March for Life is news. But when mainstream media is loyal to a left-wing metanarrative, silence and suppression replace fair-minded reporting about the largest humanitarian protest in America.
On the flip side, it’s predictable that the Kermit Gosnell trial – very bad press for the abortion lobby – met a media blackout for weeks before finally being shamed into reporting on it. After all, he was, quite possibly, the deadliest convicted serial killer in U.S. history. Whether it’s negative press against pro-choicers, or positive press for pro-lifers, the no-platform policy still applies.
When pro-lifers are allowed a prominent platform to share their positive comprehensive message about community support for struggling mothers, about the adoption option, about restoring families, and about healing counsel for post-abortion women, then the pro-life position can be seen for what it is: It’s life-affirming. It’s pro-woman. It’s pro-family. Positive pro-life messages are liable to soften the influence of pro-choice ideology and perhaps convert moderates to the pro-life side.
Now I know I’ve been painting with a broad brush. I know that “liberal” media sources vary in quality and fairness. I’m not saying every left-leaning media source is equally guilty, or even that all of them are guilty of this narrative-driven journalism. Mere “bias” isn’t the problem, by itself. It’s okay to have biases if we warn people first, or if we’re open to correction, or we make the effort to balance against our own biases. It could be that most left-wing media personalities are genuinely trying to be fair, but their bias shows through from time to time. I’m not saying all of the prominent news media outlets are left-wing either. There’s a general left-wing bias, not a universal left-wing bias. And I’m definitely not saying that right-wing media are somehow innocent of all this. Narrative-driven journalism might just be a feature of modern journalism broadly – regardless of political leanings. I don’t know. I do know that it’s hard to find, fact-driven news reporting with the journalistic restraint to avoid narrating interpretive outlines to the audience.
Lately, civil discourse has been grinding to a halt like an enlightenment train arriving at its last stop. But in those brief moments of respectful dialogue between pro-lifers and pro-choicers, an interesting thing happens. Pro-choicers often confess that they are “personally pro-life.” They often qualify and hedge their position, pointing out how they disagree with third-trimester abortions, or they think women shouldn’t treat abortion as birth control, or they mention how it’s wrong to abort healthy viable babies (calling them “babies” instead of fetuses). They talk about women’s health, women’s rights, and bring up a long history of abuse and mistreatment against women – and pro-lifers can agree with them on many points. Pro-choicers desperately want others to know that pro-choice doesn’t mean “monster.” It doesn’t even mean “pro-abortion.” It just means they see abortion-choice as a necessary evil for the sake of empowering women to have equal rights in society. Many pro-choice advocates hate abortion. They think it’s disgusting. And they wouldn’t dare watch one. And if they did, their compassion over struggling mothers might stretch to include those endangered babies too.
When people’s grow their compassion to include mother and child, then the pro-life position is winning.
But as long as mainstream media leans politically left, and as long as they favor this “narrative-driven” model of journalism, then pro-lifers can expect the no-platform policy to continue.