Mar 01 2009

Parroting Propaganda on Family Planning

The right successfully spins stimulus coverage

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/spentpenny

Of all the supposed “pork” in the proposed economic stimulus bill, perhaps none got so much media attention as the provision to extend family planning to more low-income women. As the House struggled to pass the legislation, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a press release (1/23/09) claiming that the plan “includes taxpayer funding for contraceptives and the abortion industry.” Two days later, Boehner railed on NBC’s Meet the Press (1/25/09), “Spending…over $200 million for contraceptives, how [is] this going to fix an ailing economy?” It didn’t take long for media to pile on. Cal Thomas—one of the most widely […]

Jan 01 2008

Choosing to Call Giuliani ‘Pro-Choice’

Media mislabel GOP hopeful

News stories about Rudy Giuliani’s campaign for the Republican nomination for president often refer to his supposed support for abortion rights. To much of the mainstream media, this is evidence of Giuliani’s admirable consistency in the face of a largely anti-choice GOP base, and a sign that Republican voters are pragmatic enough to accept a pro-choice nominee. A November 4 New York Times story, for example, declared that Giuliani “has made no serious effort to shade his positions to appeal to the social conservatives.” The same day, a Times analysis of political flip-flopping made the same point, oddly claiming that […]

Nov 13 2007

Giuliani, Pro-Choice?

Media mislabel GOP front-runner

News stories about Rudy Giuliani’s campaign for the Republican nomination for president often refer to his supposed support for abortion rights. To much of the mainstream media, this is evidence of Giuliani’s admirable consistency in the face of a largely anti-choice GOP base, and a sign that Republican voters are pragmatic enough to accept a pro-choice nominee. A November 4 New York Times story, for example, declared that Giuliani “has made no serious effort to shade his positions to appeal to the social conservatives.” The same day, a Times analysis of political flip-flopping made the same point, oddly claiming that […]

Aug 01 2007

Framing the Abortion Ruling

Religious right’s terms leave women out of issue

After the Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Carhart decision upheld federal legislation that restricted abortion procedures without providing an exception for the woman’s health, CNN correspondent Candy Crowley (4/23/07) voiced a popular media refrain: “What’s interesting is whoever frames this issue the best is who is going to benefit from it politically.” Crowley was correct in the sense that the way an issue is presented critically impacts how people understand that issue. Therefore, presentation affects how we vote and what sort of demands we make of our political representatives; it’s something political operatives have long understood and tried to exploit. But […]

Apr 27 2007

Gloria Feldt on abortion ruling, David Kotz on Boris Yeltsin

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: did inadequate reporting help pave the way for the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion? We’ll hear from veteran women’s rights and women’s health advocate Gloria Feldt on how, she says, media mistakes fueled the high court ruling. Also on the program: did Boris Yeltsin really bring democracy and freedom to the former Soviet Union? That’s what many U.S. news outlets have reported since the former Russian president’s death on April 23rd. We’ll talk to Professor David Kotz of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, about Boris Yeltsin’s real legacy. Links: — How Media Mistakes […]

Mar 24 2006

Phyllis Bennis on George W. Bush & Helen Thomas, Garance Franke-Ruta on NYT’s abortion op-eds

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: George Bush received high marks from many media commentators for his March 21st news conference performance. But journalists largely failed to scrutinize the accuracy of several of his statements. Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies will join us to have a look at the substance of the president’s remarks. Also on the show: The story about media all being dyed-in-the-wool liberals is full of holes, of course; but big outlets like the New York Times have traditionally taken the ‘liberal’ line, which is also the majority popular line, in favor of the […]

Dec 01 2005

Judgment Reserved to Judgment Reversed

Swift Boat, NARAL ads show media double standard

Advocacy organizations typically receive little time or space to express their opinions in mainstream media discussions, so it’s not surprising that they turn to political advertisements as an alternative means of getting their message out to the public. A paid publicity campaign may legitimize the activists’ efforts as a coverage-worthy “controversy” in the eyes of corporate media, so advocacy groups can sometimes parlay small ad buys into big news stories—particularly if their commercials make hard-hitting and dramatic charges. This process is ripe for exploitation, of course. Front groups launched to do dirty work for a candidate or political party can […]

Jul 01 2004

Muting the Women’s March

Media lose focus when women protest in Washington

Public demonstrations play a vital role in a democracy, providing a forum where ordinary citizens can potentially make their voices heard and put their concerns on a policy agenda that is otherwise largely set by the government and other elites. But when an extraordinary number of people flooded Washington, D.C. to demonstrate for women’s reproductive rights on April 25, media muted those voices by downplaying the size and significance of the event, and largely ignoring the issues that marchers attempted to bring back into the public discourse. Crowd estimates ranged from 500,000 to 1.15 million, but it was clear that […]