Accuracy in Media

The twin gross political crimes of the 20th century, fascism and communism, both demanded that art support politics. To the extent that no film, book, play or even short story could be allowed to make any point, have a view even, that was not in line with the political views of the rulers.

This is why we have the First Amendment, of course, to ensure that such – let’s not call it censorship, say, political guidance instead – cannot happen here. All views can be expressed so that all views can be both heard and also thought over. We can, after all, only consider viewpoints to which we are exposed.

At which point Planned Parenthood has a view on the new movie about Marilyn Monroe:

“Planned Parenthood respects artistic license and freedom. However, false images only serve to reinforce misinformation and perpetuate stigma around sexual and reproductive health care. Every pregnancy outcome—especially abortion—should be portrayed sensitively, authentically and accurately in the media. We still have much work to do to ensure that everyone who has an abortion can see themselves onscreen. It is a shame that the creators of Blonde chose to contribute to anti-abortion propaganda and stigmatize people’s health care decisions instead.”

Well, no, Planned Parenthood isn’t respecting artistic license and freedom there. Planned Parenthood is insisting that any artistic portrayal must accord with their views upon this controversial subject.

“As film and TV shapes many people’s understanding of sexual and reproductive health, it’s critical these depictions accurately portray women’s real decisions and experiences,”

Therefore – and it’s not even hidden – film and TV portrayals must accord with Planned Parenthood’s beliefs on this subject.

“While abortion is safe, essential health care, anti-abortion zealots have long contributed to abortion stigma by using medically inaccurate descriptions of fetuses and pregnancy”

If art is to be restricted to medical accuracy, then near all modern art from Picasso onwards though Henry Moore and Jasper Johns has a certain problem.

Elle, where this appeared, is clearly a magazine aimed at women. Elle ranks in the top 100 of lifestyle magazines by one rating system. It gains near 60 million visits a month from that position. We agree entirely that views on abortion differ wildly. We do not even pretend to reveal, let alone impose, our own.

We do though insist that any banning – and yes, a cultural insistence like this proposed here is a banning, just as much as a legal one is – is hugely dangerous. Banning anti-abortion propaganda – if that’s what this is rather than some admittedly rather strange artistic vision – is to effectively promote pro-abortion propaganda. Because after such a ban on the anti- side the only thing that may be said is pro-.

Those gross political deformities of the 20th century, the totalitarian – if you prefer, authoritarian – horrors of communism and fascism started because no one was able, in print, in film, or on the airwaves, able to say “Hey, wait a minute!”. To propose an alternative view of the good or right world.  Yes, we know, many Americans disagree with both sides, in fact with any set of statements on this particular subject of abortion. That’s why we shouldn’t make the same mistake again, allowing one set of thoughts to rule the airwaves, the other to be banned. Whether this is on political grounds, misinformation or any other excuse.




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