Jezebel provides a masterclass in what is known as “talking across the story.” Some event needs to be covered, the lesson of which isn’t to your own taste or politics. So, bring up some irrelevance that allows the turning of the story.
The Wall Street Journal conducts a survey that shows that abortion is not, in fact, the big issue in this election. It’s an issue, certainly, but it’s the economy that has potential voters – you and me that is – really buzzing. That’s just reporting on what we the people are in fact really exercised about. It’s a fact whether anyone likes it or not.
Of course, Jezebel doesn’t like that. So, instead of reporting the story as, well, the voters don’t seem to agree with Jezebel’s line something else is done.
The piece is headlined, “Wall Street Journal Asks 3 Women Over 65 If Abortion Has ‘Faded in Importance’ Before Midterms,” subhead, “The WSJ insists white women are flocking back to the Republican Party, after interviewing no one of reproductive age.”
Now, it’s true that in the article itself talking about the opinion poll the WSJ does interview three women, all of whom are of an age where abortion, for them as directly affected individuals, is unlikely to be a personal concern.
To illustrate that the loss of the federal right to an abortion is not that big of a deal, the Journal interviewed three people extremely unlikely to get pregnant and who already lean toward the Republican party when voting: women over 65.
The concentration is on the women the WSJ interviewed. Not upon the results of the opinion poll (which, yes, does cover the population in terms of age groups, gender and so on. It is representative) but upon the much more trivial issue of the three people invited to comment upon it. That’s the way to throw shade upon the results of the poll itself.
Jezebel ranks at No. 65 in the listings for arts and entertainment outlets in the US media. It gains some 5.5 million visits a month from that position. It’s fairly obviously aimed at the liberal and feminist audience.
The way the story is reported is clear and obvious bias. Because the result isn’t to Jezebel’s liking – Dobbs seems to be an issue in this election but not the dominant one – the story is reported on the basis of those interviewed, not the actual substance of the opinion poll.
The reporting is sufficiently misleading to be misinformation that is. The entire point of reporting it this way is to enable a dismissal of the basic story itself. Hunh, well, if they’ve only interviewed old women then we’ve not got to think about the results of the poll, do we? The true and real danger here is that if the audience gets convinced by such talking across the story then they’re going to be misinformed about what all us folk out here really believe, aren’t they?