Sep 01 1994

Is Murder Moral?

Executive Director's Column

It was shocking, but hardly surprising, when Paul Hill was arrested for the killing of a doctor and his escort outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic on July 29. After all, the former minister had been advocating such action on national TV for more than a year. Appearing as a guest on CNN‘s Sonya Live (3/8/94), Hill hailed the man who had murdered abortion provider Dr. David Gunn as a hero “willing to lay down” his life to fulfill “the commandment of Christ.” Host Sonya Friedman responded by seeming to question Hill’s commitment to action: “But Mr. Hill, indeed, you […]

Feb 01 1994

Koppel’s ‘Tough Question’: Should Doctors Be Killed?

Nightline‘s December 8, 1993 program was a prime example of imbalanced, irresponsible journalism. The issue was the killing of doctors who perform abortions: not how it can be prevented, but whether such attacks are justified. Invited into the studio to discuss this “issue” were Helen Alvare, a representative of the Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Committee, an anti-abortion group, and Paul Hill, the director of a tiny anti-abortion faction called Defensive Action, which advocates the killing of doctors. No one with a pro-choice viewpoint was allowed to participate in the live discussion. (The three soundbites from pro-choice sources in the pre-recorded portion […]

Apr 01 1993


Second Opinion Being a terrorism expert means never having to say you’re sorry. After the World Trade Center bombing, Steven Emerson of CNN’s Special Assignment Unit filed an “exclusive report” (3/2/93) announcing that unnamed “law enforcement officials…suspect the bomber or bombers may be from one of the former Yugoslav republics.” Three days later, after Mohammed Salameh was arrested in connection with the bombing, Emerson was writing for the Wall Street Journal op-ed page (3/5/93) as an expert on the radical Islamic fundamentalist threat. The disappearance of the Serbian menace was not explained. ‘Collision of Causes’? On March 6, the New […]

Sep 01 1992

The Great Abortion ‘Compromise’

If there is one image that has come to epitomize the abortion debate, it is pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstra­tors shouting at each other, brandishing placards. Main­stream media specializes in “extremists of both ends” cov­erage, bemoaning the “angry rhetoric” of both sides. The search for “compro­mise” has long been a staple of abortion reporting, and in recent months, with the Sup­reme Court’s decision on the fate of Roe v. Wade imminent, the media seemed to have stepped up their efforts. In February and March, several outlets ran positive profiles of the “common-ground move­ment,” founded in St. Louis to promote dialogue between […]

Aug 01 1992

Abortion Coverage Leaves Women out of the Picture

As a background graphic for reports on abortion, TV has sometimes used a depiction of a late-term fetus hanging in space, with no connection to a pregnant woman. The “floating fetus” logo is in sync with the media’s tendency to push women out of the public’s mental picture of the abortion issue. In recent years, national media have heavily covered the issue of abortion. In 1989 and 1990, close to 1500 articles on abortion appeared in major dailies; the weeklies — Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report — have featured stories on abortion more regularly than any other social […]