Accuracy in Media

With young people chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go," hundreds of thousands of people marched on Tuesday to protest an estimated 49 million dead through abortion. On the same day, a young actor named Heath Ledger died. Guess which got more attention from our media?

In fact, Ledger’s death will be a story that continues for days, if not weeks. The death has become a "developing" story on the Fox News Channel (FNC) morning show as the results of his autopsy were eagerly anticipated. Earlier, a pathologist and various Hollywood experts were brought on to comment. "The Life and Death of Heath Ledger" has become a national story on FNC, as if he had done something worth remembering. His death is tragic but his most memorable role was starring in the pro-homosexual "Brokeback Mountain," in which he engages in anal sex with another man and leaves his wife and family. It was trash that Hollywood adored.

More than 3,000 deaths a day from abortion don’t make news. Nellie Gray, head of the March for Life, calls it "genocide." The Genocide Awareness Project was at the march, exhibiting a series of signs comparing abortion victims to historically recognized forms of genocide. The exhibit has been shown on various college campuses, changing minds in the process. The rationale for the project can be found here. Addressing directly the question of whether it is appropriate to display shocking photographs of the results of abortion, the group notes cases of violent and disturbing pictures and images in the mainstream media.

This year’s March for Life had all the ingredients to make a great story. It had people, politics, speeches, and eye-catching images. A special stand was even constructed for the media to be able to see and film the speakers.

If our media wanted to go further and actually do an investigative story about abortion, they could watch or show this extremely graphic video of an actual abortion. (Warning: This video is much too graphic for children and many adults.) It shows little hands, feet and legs being removed from the mother’s womb.

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric did not air a story about the March for Life on Tuesday night. However, it did do a story on "the biggest killer in America"-heart disease, not abortion. Couric also featured stories about "green grocers" and the possible demise of plastic bags, and whether there would be an Academy Awards ceremony because of the writers’ strike. Of course, there was a big story about Ledger.

As someone who marched in the event with my family, I was struck by the large number of Ron Paul for President banners and signs. A member of Congress, Rep. Paul spoke to the march, describing how life begins at conception and how he had delivered 4,000 babies as a doctor himself. Earlier in the day he had hosted a news conference with Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand.  McCorvey, now a pro-life activist, endorsed Paul for president.

You may agree or disagree with Ron Paul, but his followers are determined and dedicated. They were a very visible presence at the march.

I didn’t see any signs for any other candidates except Fred Thompson, who dropped out of the race the same day. I spoke briefly with Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who supported Thompson for president. He agreed that Thompson had mishandled the Terri Schiavo case, in which a disabled woman was starved to death in 2005 and the President and Congress tried but failed to save her life. Thompson had flip-flopped, first saying it was a family matter and then saying her parents and siblings should have been allowed to take custody away from her estranged husband and care for her. King agreed with me that America has become a strange place in which the rights of death-row inmates and terrorists are better protected than the rights of the disabled and unborn.

President Bush spoke to the march through a telephone hookup, declaring, "I see people with a deep conviction that even the most vulnerable member of the human family is a child of God. You’re here because you know that all life deserves to be protected. And as you begin your march, I’m proud to be standing with you. (Applause)

"Thirty-five years ago today the United States Supreme Court declared and decided that under the law an unborn child is not considered a person. But we know many things about the unborn. Biology confirms that from the start each unborn child is a separate individual with his or her own genetic code. Babies can now survive outside the mother’s womb at younger and younger ages. And the fingers and toes and beating hearts that we can see on an unborn child’s ultrasound come with something that we cannot see: a soul." (Applause)

These were stirring words. And they raise questions about how the President will be remembered when he leaves office.

Bush seems to be grappling with devising a legacy. Before a possible economic and financial collapse attracted his attention, Bush was busy promoting the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty, a new global warming treaty, and a Palestinian state.

One thing he could do is abandon these misguided liberal projects and became a tireless advocate on behalf of the unborn. Wouldn’t this be the mark of a true "compassionate conservative?"

He has made a good start. "Here in Washington," the President said to the March for Life participants, "we passed good laws that promote adoption and extend legal protection to children who are born despite abortion attempts. We came together to ban the cruel practice of partial birth abortion. (Applause) And in the past year we have prevented that landmark law from being rolled back."

The President’s first reference was to The Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This legislation was designed to ensure that every baby who survives an abortion procedure is considered a person under federal law. The President described it as "a step toward the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights."

But much more could be done. Amherst College Professor Hadley Arkes, one of the authors of The Born Alive Infants Protection Act, told pro-life bloggers in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday that Bush can take a more forceful leadership position on abortion but that he refuses to do so.

One rather simple thing the President could do is follow Nellie Gray’s lead and call abortion genocide. This is something our media couldn’t ignore. It might even start a national debate on abortion. But it might also damage his "legacy" in the eyes of the liberal media.

It’s your call, Mr. President.

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