Prepare to start your media-bias studies

1 01Please pick up your cyber-copy of the Washington Post and click here. Then click here.

One thing is clear. This should be an interesting year at the annual March for Life on Jan. 23 here in Washington, D.C.

We are currently at the stage where it is very important for people on both sides of the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. to say that there is more to this battle than abortion. But the headlines, day after day, are likely to show that, while there is more to the debate than abortion, the subject of abortion will always loom in the background.

Yes, it certainly does appear that Roe v. Wade has settled this painful issue in American life. Right, Richard Cohen? Right, Justice Clarence Thomas? (Scroll down for the comment.)

Gentle people in the media-bias study centers, prepare to start your content-analysis work. This is all a test run for the next nomination, which would almost certainly be the swing vote.

Oh, how I do wish that David Shaw could write about all of this. This is one of those stories that will be so hot, MSM editors should consider running two stories every day — with veteran, skilled reporters assigned to the religious right and to the powerful coalition on the religious and secular left.

I think this strategy could work, even thought it seems to undercut that question I have been asking here at GetReligion for a long time. If the religious left is for Roe and the religious right is opposed to Roe, what is the compromise position? What would have to happen at the U.S. Supreme Court for a compromise to take place?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Michael D. Harmon

    The compromise position is not outlawing abortion, but it is overturning Roe (and Doe, and Casey). That would turn the issue over to the states, and some would permit it broadly, others with significant restrictions, and some would prohibit it. Just like the system we were headed for before the court stepped in….

    There is also what could be called the “German” position, where abortion is permitted for the “hard cases” but there is no generally available “right.” But then the justices would be accused of “borrowing foreign law,” would they not?

  • Michael

    Given that 87% of the counties in America do not have abortion providers (90% in the South and Midwest), it appears we are already at the compromise position. States that have wanted to limit access to abortions have succeeded as long as the satisfy the defanged limits of Roe. From 1973 when abortion became legalized to today, there are significant limits on access and providers have been all but eliminated in most states. Roe is more a vague concept than an actual legal standard given the chipping away the Supreme Court has done at the behest of the states.

  • David

    If there are so few “abortion providers,” why are there so many abortions?

  • Michael

    The number of abortions has declined since the 1980s as more restrictions have been created and access has been limited.

  • Chris H.

    This is true Michael. What are we down to now, like eight hundred thousand annually?

    As far as a compromise goes, this isn’t a tax issue, nor a spending bill. Those that oppose abortion do so because they view it as legalized murder. Diametrically oriented from that are the abortion supporters, that see killing off the product of their sexual habits as a “reproductive right.”

    So ask yourself, is it possible to reach a “compromise” on murder? And for abortion supporters, can they accept an outcome that stifles what they proclaim to be a “right?”

    Is it fine to allow hundreds of thousands of abortions to go on in other states and be secure that it’s not happening right by you? Or for the pro-abortion side, if your “sista” in Dallas, TX doesn’t have the right to abortion like you do, are you going to be fine with that?

    Call me an absolutist, but unless a truely massive number of people are docile and apathetic on the issue, which I don’t think is really the case when push comes to shove on abortion, there can be no compromise.

    Feel free to explain to me how I’m wrong.

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  • http://BUSY Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    This is more like an aside–Nothing more shows the liberal bias of much of the mainstream media on left-right, conservative-liberal issues than the almost total black-out on bringing up the eminent domain issue. Far more PEOPLE are affected by the fact political hacks in collusion with rich, powerful corporations now virtually own our peasant homesteads courtesy of all the liberal members on the Supreme Court and opposed strongly by the court’s right-wing. But that doesn’t fit the media’s stereotypes. Egad!! the right on the court on the side of the little guy and the liberals in the hip pocket of all that is unholy. So even when conservative politicians try to raise the issue in the run up to confirmation hearings, their comments get buried in the classified and abortion makes the front page again. Maybe that is because some polls show 90% opposition to the liberal side on this issue–or maybe reporters all live in such swank neighborhoods their homes will never be in danger of the bulldozers blade so it is a non-issue to them.

  • Basil

    What is the compromise position between life and death?

  • Carl Vehse

    There is no compromise with pro-abortionists. Their murderous position is evil.

  • Victor Morton


    What media-blackout are you referring to? Kelo, its ramifications, its fallout and the political strange-bedfellows were all extensively covered.

  • John

    The United States is in a position very similar to where it was in the 1850s, when a morally indefensible practice somehow, incredibly, became a symbol of the self-determination for so large a portion of the country that no compromise was possible, and the republic itself nearly dissolved as a result.

    Parties and constituencies became increasingly polarized. Churches divided along ideological lines. The Supreme Court started issuing outrageous decisions. Terrorism was followed by political collapse and a military response. The reason? Political unity cannot be preserved without moral unity. Which is to say: politics always has a religious (moral) subtext.

    Prediction: if Alito is confirmed, the political nastiness will increase rather than decease. It will continue to increase until the abortion issue is resolved. Not compromised, but resolved.

  • http://BUSY Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Yeh it was covered for a few days—and then deep-sixed. But the eminent domain issue should be at least as hot and as big an issue as abortion during the confirmation hearings (and a few conservative Republicans have tried to make it a big issue, but every time I’ve seen their attempts to do so they were in the back of the newspapers–WAY Back) because potentially the arena for abuse and corruption (political hacks + greedy corporations gaining the right to bulldoze anyone’s and everyone’s home) is so massive.