News,  Politics

More on the Media’s Abortion Blinders

Prominent journalism professor, Jay Rosen, says that the Komen foundation lost its status as a non-political organization when it defunded Planned Parenthood. He says that Komen’s claim, “We don’t do politics,” ceased to be true “when the board took the decision to cut off Planned Parenthood.”

I don’t think he realizes it, but this statement reveals as much about Rosen as it does about Komen. For pro-choicers, perhaps, the Komen foundation was not viewed as a political organization before they defunded Planned Parenthood. But that is not the point of view of pro-lifers. Planned Parenthood is the main engine for abortion in the United States. For prolifers, Komen became political when it began its affiliation with Planned Parenthood, not when it attempted to end it. Prolifers have been protesting Komen for years. Prolifers, however, do not have allies in the national media, so their outrage has passed by unnoticed in the national media.

So when did Komen become “political”? Any rational observer would have to conclude that Komen began its involvement with abortion politics the moment it decided to issue grants to Planned Parenthood. Yet Americans have by and large been ignorant of this. That says as much about the media’s own politics as it does about Komen’s.


  • Matthew Chapter 6

    It’s quite true that pro-lifers have few, if any, allies in the media, but not for the reasons you think. The media’s role, in a democracy, is to hold our government – and the powerful interests that surround it – accountable for their actions. The media’s role is not to favor one group over another’s – unless, of course, one group’s intent is to subvert the proper functioning of our government. I’ll get to that in a minute.

    That the media reported on the massive outcry against Komen over this decision is not political; it’s just a fact. Most Americans are, in fact, outraged to learn that money they donated to a charitable organization for breast cancer research and screenings goes to an organization that politicizes women’s issues. I know it’s hard to grasp on the right, but most American women like making their own decisions about their health and their bodies, regardless of their religion.

    I know you and other conservatives hate that; it’s your right to hate their freedom. But the media’s job is to help protect that freedom, and so, since you and your movement are on the wrong side of freedom, the only allies you’ll find in the media will be those who share your views, like Fox News, the Washington Times, and so on. You will, however, continue to be disappointed by the ineffectiveness of the media in your “corner”: Most Americans find your values and what you stand for – the subservience and oppression of women – horrifying.

    Which gets at the core problem – what you and others on the religious right need is a fundamentally different form of government. You see, America is a democracy that has as one of its founding principles a prohibition on state recognition of religion. What you need, in order to satisfy your demand, is a theocracy: A state that is governed by the rules of one particular religion. In this case, your religion.

    So, your problem is one of strategy. You have the right goal: To live by your values, and be governed by same. But since your values are so repugnant to the vast majority of your fellow citizens, you will have to come up with a strategy that does not include forcing the majority to live by your values, because you will never succeed.

    Thankfully, you can change strategy. You do in fact have the ability to form a Christian/Catholic nation that does not have to live by democratic principles of freedom and equality. While history has not been kind to theocracies, I suspect that your goal is more important to you, and so the consistent failure of theocracies should not influence your strategy.

    You will of course need an army, and land, and water, and all the other elements that nations have. And you won’t be able to tap the vast majority of Americans to raise such resources – even most Christians and Catholics will stop donating to the church if they think their money is being used for theocratic or oppressive ends (See: Komen Foundation, 2012).

    Best of luck. I’d suggest, as case studies, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and perhaps even China, though China is a far more egalitarian state than I think your religious brethren could tolerate.

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