ABC reporter Jonathan Karl clarifies the budget stalemate that nearly shut down the federal government (ABC World News, 4/7/11):
KARL: And believe it or not, the issue of abortion could be what causes the government to shut down.
GRAPHICS: DEMOCRATS CLAIM
KARL: Democrats say Republicans are trying to use the funding bill to force new restrictions on abortion rights.
GRAPHICS: REPUBLICANS CLAIM
KARL: But Republicans say they are simply trying to restrict public funding of abortion.
“Democrats say, Republicans say.” ABC could save money and program a computer to do this.
Later Karl said this:
Today, House Republicans did pass a bill that could keep the government funded for the next week and fund the Pentagon for the rest of the year. But Democrats say that they will oppose it. Again, Diane, because it includes restrictions on public funding of abortion.
As plenty of people have noted–see Katha Pollitt— federal money does not go to Planned Parenthood to pay for abortion services, which constitute a very small part of the group’s work. Though the Republicans would like to say that abortion is what they’re fighting over, the debate is actually about funding Planned Parenthood, period.
So Jonathan Karl manages to do useless “he said, she said” reporting, and then goes on to mislead viewers about the actual issue being debated. A computer program might actually do a better job.