‘Expert Witness’ or Fluke?

I was seriously sick this week — bed rest and the whole nine yards — and am catching up on some news. I’ve sent out an APB on Twitter (from both my personal account and the GetReligion account) asking for any good stories at all — anywhere — by the mainstream media about religious liberty this week. Would you send along any links you have to stories that did a good job covering the major religious liberty issues in play right now in America regarding this HHS mandate from the Obama administration?

When I put out my original request, one conservative media critic responded that she hadn’t seen a single story about religious liberty but could send me quite a few about how the pill is getting banned by meanies.

Yes, well, we’re seeing lots of stories that frame things in ways that seem a bit partisan. (Note, for instance, the repeated use of the DNC’s talking point regarding “denial of coverage” in this New York Times story on the Blunt amendment.)

I wanted to show one example of how the media are driving a story. A couple of weeks ago, there was a hearing on religious liberty. The Republicans did their thing — going after Obama in grandstanding fashion — and the Democrats did their thing — walking out of the hearing because their “expert witness” hadn’t been allowed to testify. You can read some of our earlier posts about that here: “Media shirk debate on religious liberty” and “Media ignore women, for women.” We saw headlines like: Politico: “Carolyn Maloney, Eleanor Holmes Norton walk out of contraception hearing. ABC News: “Rep. Darrell Issa Bars Minority Witness, a Woman, on Contraception”. CBS: “Dems decry all-male House panel on WH contraception rule.” CNN: Angry lawmakers challenge lineup at hearing: ‘Where are the women?’

That, remember, is how they covered a hearing on religious liberty.

Later, the Democrats had a hearing with only their expert witness. That was very well covered, as we discussed earlier. CNN even ran a live stream of it.

But I learned something today about the “expert witness” that I found just fascinating. Her name is Sandra Fluke and she is a student at Georgetown Law school. The interesting thing is that the HHS mandate has literally nothing to do with student health plans. Fluke is a birth control activist, this is true, but her testimony was supposed to be relevant, obviously, to the HHS mandate. And as her later testimony, which was very well covered, shows, she only talked about student health care plans. Which aren’t even touched by the HHS mandate. Did you learn that from any mainstream media coverage?

Just so we’re on the same page, here’s what the Department of Justice has said on the matter (in response to a lawsuit regarding religious liberty brought by Belmont Abbey against the HHS mandate):

Neither the preventive services coverage regulations [including the HHS contraception mandate] nor any other federal law requires [a university] to provide health insurance to its students — much less health insurance that covers contraceptive services.

So guess how many stories about Fluke mentioned that her testimony would have no connection to the HHS mandate in question. I can’t find any. I looked at the five stories at CNN, the twelve (12!) at the Washington Post, Time, Newsbeast, and so on and so forth. (I found zero stories with the “expert witness”‘ name at New York Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times, although your mileage may vary.)

Read all the way through this Washington Post piece headlined “Meet Sandra Fluke: The woman you didn’t hear at Congress’ contraceptives hearing” and tell me if you can discern anything about the relevancy of her testimony to the actual matter at hand.

So while the meme meant that we had to ignore the religious liberty arguments made by the men and women (I know, I know, we’re supposed to lie and say that there were no women there, but I just can’t) were ignored while the big news was that the House committee didn’t seat this “expert witness” of a law student. But her testimony was completely irrelevant to the matter at hand. Read this one-sided CNN puff piece on Fluke and note how the details of the irrelevancy of her testimony are bungled.

I just find that fascinating. Great reporting job everybody! I’m so glad you ignored the expert testimony at the religious liberty hearing to focus on something that had literally nothing to do with the HHS mandate! Speak truth to power, yo!

On that note, the expert witness is back in the news because — sit down, I’m sure you’ll be shocked — Rush Limbaugh said something very mean about her. Jake Tapper at ABC News sent out a link to his story about the brouhaha with the promising tweet:

It’s all about framing. Are we debating women’s health? Religious liberty? Or Limbaugh calling a law student a “slut”?

If you’re wondering, ABC News chose the last option for this story. But Tapper says he’s been fair to those who are concerned about religious liberty in earlier stories. (And to be sure, Tapper is a great reporter who is tenacious but very fair in how he approaches stories.) I’ll dig through them in my quest for good stories on religious liberty. Don’t forget to send along any mainstream news story you see that is focused on religious liberty, or even predominantly about religious liberty. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. If it adopts the religious liberty framing instead of the “war on women/war on contraception” framing, I’ll take it. Thank you!

Print Friendly

  • Steve

    We Protestant Pastors (who have no moral qualms about contraception) need to help people understand that this issue is very important to us as a Religious Liberty issue. The underlying issue is not as important as is the fundamental constitutional right at stake.

  • Matt

    [EDITOR's NOTE: Shortly after commenter Matthew left this comment, I, Mollie, asked him to substantiate his charges against me with actual quotes. While he has since attempted to make further comments, he has not attempted to substantiate his charges against me with any evidence whatsoever.]

    I just don’t understand this website. My understanding that this is supposed to be addressing the inadequacies of journalistic coverage of religion. Thus it seems like you could really address the fact that many religious leaders see the HHS mandates as an issue of religious liberty while people on the other side see it as an issue of access to healthcare. Now, I understand that you might want to highlight ways that the media is not giving full coverage to the religious viewpoint here, but that is not really what you are doing. Both you and Tmatt have definitively stated that this IS an issue of religious liberty and your criticism has been pointed at the fact that journalists are using the “access to healthcare” viewpoint at all. This isn’t a critique of journalism; this is advocacy or opinion writing and it seems to contradict the point of the website.
    You have also clearly missed the point of Fluke’s testimony. Georgetown has the right to restrict access to contraception through its student health center except to those who have a “medical” need for birth control. This is the type of rule that the bishops and Republicans in congress want to apply to every business in the country. Fluke testified to the negative affects that “conscience” provision had on a friend and colleague of hers. The point wasn’t to talk about student healthcare, but to point out the ways that these provisions can cause serious problems. It’s very applicable testimony.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Matt,

    It is true that I — and the people in my church body — view this as a serious issue of religious liberty. That doesn’t mean that I believe the media should only tell that side of the story. But they should tell that side of the story.

    Can you point to anything I’ve actually written that shows my critique is that journalists are using the “access to healthcare” viewpoint at all? Can you substantiate you statement against me at all? Please do so. Quoting my actual words.

    Also, as far as Fluke’s testimony is concerned, that’s a perfectly fine point you make. But can you point to any media source that made it and noted that student health care insurance is not in any way affected by the HHS mandate? If not, why was that point not mentioned?

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie
  • Jerry

    Mollie, quite honestly I got so annoyed at Limbaugh’s statement that he wants to view porn made by students like her including calling her a four letter name that I won’t repeat here that the point you are asking about literally did not occur to me. The demagoguery and disrespect shown by people like Limbaugh outweigh the question of how expert she is on the issue at hand.

    This clearly is an issue of colliding rights. We’ve seen it again and again where a religion claims a right that society rejects. I could site example after example. But, just for the sake of argument how about some Muslim cab drivers who want their rights respected including not carrying people with alcohol in their cabs. In such cases religious rights were trumped by equal protection.

    So, yes, this is a religious issue but it’s not only a religious issue, there’s an equally compelling issue that needs to be put along side it to maintain perspective.

    Perhaps calling Sandra Fluke an expert witness on the particular issue was a stretch, but those claiming that it’s ONLY a religious issue and framing it as a pro- versus con- religious rights without considering the other side are stretching much further.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Also, our own Bobby Ross found this more recent story about a panel at DeSales University worried about religious liberty.

    That’s all that’s been found at this point. So please please please send in any stories about religious liberty that you find — preferably if they’re focused on that angle (but possibly even if they just mention it at this point …).

  • A Different Matt

    Mollie,

    Help me understand this: conservatives say it is a religious freedom issue; liberals say it is an access to contraception issue. You critique the MSM for exclusively employing the liberal frame. I think that is a perfectly fair and valid critique.

    But then along comes Rush Limbaugh–a highly influential conservative opinion leader–and he is not talking about religious freedom; he is basically buying into the liberal frame and saying, “Yes, I do want to deny Sandra Fluke access to contraception.”

    Under these circumstances–when Rush Limbaugh agrees with liberals that this is about restricting access to contraception–what is the MSM to do?

    (And don’t tell me Limbaugh doesn’t speak for conservatives -that would bring us into “no true Scotsman” territory).

  • Jeff

    The President of The United States [disrespecting] The First Amendment freedom of religion clause by trying to force Roman Catholics to pay for abortions is no big deal; it’s barely worth mentioning at all.

    But the buffoonery of a radio entertainer whom 90-to-95% of Americans don’t listen to is a very big deal — far bigger than what the President is trying to do.

    If that’s honestly how the MSM and its fellow travelers have come to view the world, then it’s time to pull the plug on the MSM and time for its fellow travelers to educate themselves and stop relying on all the rest of us to enable their stupidity by pretending that they really aren’t as ignorant as clearly they are.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    A different Matt writes:

    But then along comes Rush Limbaugh—a highly influential conservative opinion leader—and he is not talking about religious freedom; he is basically buying into the liberal frame and saying, “Yes, I do want to deny Sandra Fluke access to contraception.”

    Under these circumstances—when Rush Limbaugh agrees with liberals that this is about restricting access to contraception—what is the MSM to do?

    (And don’t tell me Limbaugh doesn’t speak for conservatives -that would bring us into “no true Scotsman” territory).

    Well, I haven’t listened or read a transcript of Rush’s show but he is not saying *anything* about *denying* *access* to contraception. Not subsidizing something isn’t denial any more than me not giving you a whiskey right now means I am denying it to you. You’re free to go get it on your own.

    So while I think it could be argued that Rush is colluding with liberals in advancing this as a sex argument, it’s not quite in the way you suggest.

    So, to answer the question of what to do?

    It’s all about consistency, I guess.

    If we’re going to give Rush Limbaugh so much credence when he says this G-Town student is promiscuous, we should quote his argument in full.

    We should pay just as much attention to him every other day and make sure the rest of his arguments throughout the year are similarly highlighted — you know, since he’s such an influential conservative thought leader.

    We should ask President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to respond to the unending misogyny of and personal attacks on (say) Sarah Palin by entertainers such as Bill Maher and intellectuals such as Andrew Sullivan.

    And if we’re going to suddenly get hyper-focused on Rush, maybe we should care what an actual player in the debate has said. I’ll quote Ramesh Ponnuru here:

    Terry O’Neill, head of the National Organization for Women, says that the Catholic bishops are “demanding that the government step in and use the force and power and police power of the state to prevent women from taking birth control because the bishops have failed.” Other groups represented at the press event where O’Neill spoke included such mainstays of the Obama coalition as NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.

    Both Speaker John Boehner and White House press secretary Jay Carney have been asked to comment about Rush Limbaugh’s remarks about Sandra Fluke. Perhaps they should be asked to weigh in on O’Neill’s words too.

    Absolutely. If the head of NOW is saying such horrible things about the bishops in response to a new government rule that never existed before (not action by the bishops to do anything), then I think we should have Obama respond.

    I’ll quote something that another reporter said:

    Once again, President Obama legitimizes Rush Limbaugh as his interlocutor. Obama benefits, Rush benefits, America suffers.

    I add: and the media play along.

    But if they’re going to play this game, at the very least be consistent, you know?

  • Jeff

    “If we’re going to give Rush Limbaugh so much credence when he says this G-Town student is promiscuous … [w]e should ask President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to respond to the unending misogyny of and personal attacks on (say) Sarah Palin by entertainers such as Bill Maher and intellectuals [sic] such as Andrew Sullivan.”

    Preach it, Mollie! Preach it!

  • Parker

    (And don’t tell me Limbaugh doesn’t speak for conservatives -that would bring us into “no true Scotsman” territory).

    Is it really a “no true Scotsman,” to say that he doesn’t speak for Conservatives? It might be a “no true Scotsman” to say that he isn’t a conservative, but he’s not the Prime Minister of Scotland.

  • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

    Instapundit has a link to a lawblog saying that the rule hasn’t been changed, only that they will consider changing it.

    But it is clear that the federal government has not even begun to initiate this new rulemaking; it only “will work with stakeholders to propose and finalize this policy before the end of the temporary enforcement safe harbor.”

    It was my understanding that proposed federal regulations have a period for public comment before they are implemented. Did I miss this?
    This goes beyond religious liberty: it means a fiat could tell docs what they have to do (or not do) if they want to get paid….

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I saw and read a number of interviews of Fluke. Not one reporter asked her the key question under the circumstances. She said she had long been a “reproductive activist. Well why did she pick a Catholic Jesuit law school to attend???
    Something smells here. When you hear someone self-advertise as an activist shouldn’t the media be more probing to see if she is nothing but a branch office of Saul Alinsky or Planned Parenthood radical activism

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Matthew,

    I am holding your subsequent comments until you respond to my request that you substantiate your first slur against me.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Matt–If Polls say people do not consider it a religious First Amendment issue on Obamacare it is not surprising in the least. It has been a media full court press to deep six almost any mention or coverage of Obamacare mandates as a First Amendment issue. It is hard for the average voter who usually only catches the fringe of ongoing stories to see through the media’s screaming headlines and thick bias.
    And I’m glad to see Steve, a Protestant Pastor, say here what I have said a number of times when similar issues have come up—It is small Protestant congregations and enterprises which frequently are the biggest victims of state assaults, mandates, or interference with religious liberty. But the media spends its time zeroing in on the larger Catholic Church so few people–except the potential Protestant victims– see this aspect.
    And I’m not the only one who has wondered about the sudden , convenient appearance of a “reproductive activist” on the scene.
    When I was a young man any unmarried woman talking like her to the whole world would have been described with much stronger words than Limbaugh used.
    But, unfortunately, many of our young people today (egged on by media preaching and examples) seem to have no sense of shame or –on the other side–virtue.

  • northcoast

    I assume that everyone realizes that Mr. Limbaugh uses hyperbole in response to a totally bizarre situation. His views are conservative, but he wouldn’t be my choice of a spokesman, and he has more fun throwing barbs.

    tioedong, I think that a 5-day period for public comment on new bills was one of the 2008 campaign promises that has not developed into fact. There is a 60-day period for congress to review and possibly reject proposed federal regulations.

  • Ron

    As happens so often, the gist of this article seems to be lost in the comments.

    IT seems to say Fluke addressed some members of congress, not even sure what kind of official hearing this was but that it was about National Healthcare NOT about Georgetown’s Student Policies, so Fluke gets her little bit of fame and attention largely on circumstances not even meriting being talked about, totally irrelevant to the purpose of the hearing.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Byron York is a great reporter and he has some details here at “GOP: Dems ‘played games’ over Sandra Fluke

  • matt

    Here’s the issue Mollie. In this post you link to an article in the Times and point to it as the problem with the coverage of the HHS mandate. You write that it contains “repeated use” of the phrase “denial of coverage” which you assert is a DNC talking point. In fact, the article uses that phrase only once, in the first paragraph and is actually a very balanced look at the issue. It includes quotations from opponents of the mandate as well as those who support it and the reporter takes no visible stance on this issue one way or another. The opponents of the mandate make their case that this is an issue of religious freedom and the supporters maintain that the Blunt amendment is an attack on women (to be fair the article does mention that some Democrats say that the bill would “deny coverage” but that is included as the opinion of those Democrats and the opposing view is clearly stated as well). So what is the problem with the report? The headline? In another post about the topic on Thursday titled “Spoon-feeding Partisan Talking Points” you link to another Times article which you write is “shockingly” titled “Senate Nears Showdown on Contraception Policy” and write that it contains frames that support the Obama administration as fact. Ironically the quotation you include in the post also quotes Senator Blunt as stating that the “compromise” is just an accounting gimmick so that undermines your claim somewhat.
    You also make the claim that the HHS mandate covers abortifacients which is patently untrue and you have expressed outrage in both of these two posts that the headlines only mention contraception instead of your preferred language of “contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.” Now it seems odd to me that you would complain about headlines, which are of course designed to get page views and nothing else and often are pretty unrelated to the content of the article.
    In fact the content of most of the articles I have read in the mainstream press have been fairly balanced and included the views of those who oppose the mandate quite often and clearly. It’s true that the issue is usually regarded as one of “contraception” instead of “religious liberty” but given that that is how most people understand the issue, I cannot see how that should be the subject of too much objection. I think that these points substantiate my “slur”.
    I’ll end with three points.
    Point the first. The main trouble you will have is that it is a very hard sell to describe this as an issue of religious freedom. Simply having a religious objection to a law does not permit you to ignore it or change it. This means that even if you view peyote as a sacrament, you might still go to jail for using it. It means that devout Quaker men register for Selective Service when they turn eighteen and that the Amish have to pay into Social Security. It’s probably going to mean that Catholic affiliated hospitals and universities will have to offer no co-pay reproductive services through their health plans. Of course, those hospitals located in one of the 28 states that already have these mandates in place already do this without much controversy. This is probably one reason that the frame on this issue is usually about “contraception” rather than “religious freedom”. Most reporters understand how and when the objections to the mandate arose and they know that the objections are all related to contraceptive services.

    Point the second. My wife was an unenthusiastic and non-political Obama voter in 2008. She is uninterested in politics and doesn’t usually read about politics on the web or in the papers. She is in general a listen-to-NPR-on-her-5-minute-commute news absorber and last night she talked to me about this issue in our kitchen for almost 20 minutes. Her cheeks got flushed, her voice rose and she almost got teary a few times. When a mild-mannered Catholic school teacher gets this upset about an issue you can definitely assume that you are losing the battle to frame the issue. Most women, even Republican women, have the same reaction to this debate as my wife: they view it as an assault on their access to birth control and health services.

    Point the third. Many of the comments on your posts are extraordinarily hostile to both the President of the United States, liberals, and Christians who don’t share a conservative view of theology. The person calling himself “deacon john..” has insinuated in at least two comments that Ms. Fluke is, in fact, a slut and should be called out as such. That you would moderate my comment for asserting that you have a bias, which you admit that you have, and allow those to stand is telling.

    I of course have no illusion that you will publish this comment. I have a cranky baby on my lap and nothing better to do right now than respond.

    Peace

    Matt

  • Ken

    Thanks Matt, this is the most articulate writing I ever have seen at site.

    In fact the content of most of the articles I have read in the mainstream press have been fairly balanced and included the views of those who oppose the mandate quite often and clearly.

    Yet I do think there is an issue of religious freedom, but to whether religious leaders can impose their beliefs on public policy affecting the rest of us, which is why so many of us are opposed to Sharia law no matter what faith the mullahs are.

  • A Different Matt

    Matt nailed it.

  • Bern

    Give that baby a hug, matt!

  • Joe C.

    You also make the claim that the HHS mandate covers abortifacients which is patently untrue

    Besides the word of the HHS secretary, what do you have to back this up?

    Of course, those hospitals located in one of the 28 states that already have these mandates in place already do this without much controversy.

    See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204653604577249781267624826.html

    “Of the 28 states that require contraception coverage in employer health plans, 20 include some type of exemption for religious employers.”

  • Joe C.

    From that link that I posted above (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204653604577249781267624826.html):

    “Georgetown University (D.C.) Offers one plan for employees that excludes birth-control coverage, and three that don’t. Student plan excludes contraception.”

    The student insurance policy doesn’t seem to be conscience-based at GU, and probably at other liberal Catholic institutions. If Ms. Fluke went on to work at GU, she’d be able to get a plan that covers contraceptives. Don’t know what to make of this. Maybe we’ve all been barking up the wrong tree.

  • Susan

    It seems odd for a Catholic school teacher to be upset and crying over the Catholic church’s teachings. Surely, she understood the Catholic teachings and Humanae Vitae. It makes me wonder what the NPR said. The Catholic church is not trying to make anyone stop their use of contraceptives, abortions, or sterilization. They don’t want to be forced to participate in the practices whether directly or indirectly. That is the crux of the matter. Will religious organizations be forced to participate against their consciences and ancient teaching.

  • Bro AJK

    I read two papers today, the New York Times and the St Louis Post-Dispatch. Both had articles about the President calling Ms. Fluke. The former had this headline on the front page above the fold, whereas the latter had it deep in the back of the front section.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    In response to my request that you substantiate your charge against me that I thought the perspective of those who support the HHS mandate shouldn’t be included at all, you (Matt) write:

    In this post you link to an article in the Times and point to it as the problem with the coverage of the HHS mandate. You write that it contains “repeated use” of the phrase “denial of coverage” which you assert is a DNC talking point. In fact, the article uses that phrase only once, in the first paragraph and is actually a very balanced look at the issue. It includes quotations from opponents of the mandate as well as those who support it and the reporter takes no visible stance on this issue one way or another. The opponents of the mandate make their case that this is an issue of religious freedom and the supporters maintain that the Blunt amendment is an attack on women (to be fair the article does mention that some Democrats say that the bill would “deny coverage” but that is included as the opinion of those Democrats and the opposing view is clearly stated as well). So what is the problem with the report? The headline?

    Once again, the framing that was chosen was the “denial of coverage” one. You say that the article only uses that phrase once. It’s used (sometimes as fact, sometimes in quotes) four times. Beginning in the very first paragraph:

    The Senate on Thursday upheld President Obama’s birth control policy, voting to kill a Republican effort to let employers and health insurance companies deny coverage for contraceptives and other items they object to on religious or moral grounds.

    Note how this is framed. This is not about the “Senate Democrats defeating a Republican effort to restore religious liberty protections that the Obama administration tried to deny” (or some such thing).

    Do you understand the distinction?

    It’s a pretty simple point.

    It’s all in how you frame it.

    This amendment was a religious liberty amendment. Every single proponent of religious liberty in this HHS mandate worked together to pass this. But when it was written about, it became about an attempt to “deny coverage.”

    That the NYT leads (and headlines “Senate Rejects Step Targeting Coverage of Contraception”) in terms of war on women/war on contraception is precisely my point.

    You, because you support this mandate, might not be able to see it. I get that.

    My point is that roughly 100% of all the stories about this ban on religious liberty frame it as a ban on contraception.

    But let’s get back to your original point — which is that you said I didn’t believe this “access” language should be used at all.

    You have completely failed to demonstrate that.

    You also make the claim that the HHS mandate covers abortifacients which is patently untrue and you have expressed outrage in both of these two posts that the headlines only mention contraception instead of your preferred language of “contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.”

    Again, neither you nor the New York Times nor any other outside entity have the right to determine the doctrines held by my church or any other. We believe that certain things that end the life of a developing child are abortifacients. You may not believe that unborn children have rights or that developing embryos are unborn children or any number of things. That’s your business. But it’s my and my church’s business how we determine doctrine. This mandate requires the Catholic Church to fund things that by *their own definition* are abortifacients, contraception and sterilization. What is the journalistic defense for ignoring this? It also has the benefit of being scientifically accurate, but even that is not the point. Even if you redefined abortion to mean the termination of a pregnancy after four months gestation and the Catholic Church retained the older definitions, it’s *their* definition that matters in a conscience/religious liberty battle.

    And again, this doesn’t substantiate your initial claim against me.

    Now it seems odd to me that you would complain about headlines, which are of course designed to get page views and nothing else and often are pretty unrelated to the content of the article.

    Your comments about headlines are odd — we of course hold them to journalistic standards. What in the heck else would we do?

    In fact the content of most of the articles I have read in the mainstream press have been fairly balanced and included the views of those who oppose the mandate quite often and clearly. It’s true that the issue is usually regarded as one of “contraception” instead of “religious liberty” but given that that is how most people understand the issue, I cannot see how that should be the subject of too much objection. I think that these points substantiate my “slur”.

    You’ll excuse me if I don’t take your word for it. Please do send in all those stories that have done a great job of handling the religious liberty question. I’ve been begging readers to send in any they could find and I got a grand total of one submission from the last week! But yes, considering that the last national news story that anyone has submitted to us as dealing with religious liberty was published on Feb. 10, I wouldn’t be surprised if the mainstream media narrative — that religious liberty is of no major concern — had worked its magic with popular opinion.

    Of course, that’s the entire point of my media criticism.

    And no, these points in no way substantiate your slur.

    You end with three final points. The first has nothing to do with media coverage. The second doesn’t either. The third is that some comments have been allowed to stand that are incendiary.

    I, of course, have deleted (or snipped) many comments on this thread and others which have crossed the line. I will revisit the comments on this thread and cull them if needed.

    In general, feel free to point out in the comment thread if a comment should be redacted. I have my own cranky babies (and best wishes on yours!) and miss far more than I should.

    I of course have no illusion that you will publish this comment.

    You should have more faith! We always welcome comments that are focused on mainstream coverage and that don’t simply assert arguments but work to substantiate them.

    You haven’t substantiated your charge against me — that my beef is that the “access to contraceptives” storyline has been used at all — and you won’t be able to. Because I in no way believe that.

    But the rest of these comments are all fine and worthy of a good back and forth. And they’re always welcome.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X