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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Journalists try to hide their abortion views

Photo via Sundance.

Vanity Fair reported, "Newsroom Managers Urge Journalists to Keep Abortion Views Under Wraps."

That's odd. I thought Big Media said an overwhelming majority supports abortion-on-demand. And yet, here they are trying to get drones to shut up about abortion.

How is this not The Handmaid's Tale approach to journalism?

Of course, considering Florida stripped Disney of its special exception to taxes and laws after its threats to lawmakers over the Don't Groom Kids law, maybe companies have awakened to the folly of being Woke. 

The story said, "In 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, millions of people took to U.S. streets to protest. It was around this time that Axios chief executive Jim VandeHei sent a companywide email giving staff the green light to participate in such racial justice demonstrations. 'We proudly support and encourage you to exercise your rights to free speech, press, and protest,' he wrote, adding, 'If you’re arrested or meet harm while exercising these rights, Axios will stand behind you and use the Family Fund to cover your bail or assist with medical bills.'"

It was an invitation to riot.

Two years later, the tune has changed.

The story said, "In a memo sent to Axios staff earlier this week, as the explosive leak of a Supreme Court draft that would overturn Roe v. Wade reignites national debate over abortion, VandeHei urged employees to stay out of it."

Now you have to understand, liberal, college-educated white women make up the majority of a newsroom's staff these days. Even at a conservative newspaper, the editor and the editorial page editor were pro-abortion.

Put in that perspective, VandeHei's message to the staff was astounding.

He wrote, "Abortion is a human rights issue that has become a highly politicized topic, with very specific policies being debated in Washington and in most states. So it seems impossible to march—or tweet opinions—and not be perceived as picking a political side in public."

The audience for Axios is other journalists and actual Washington insiders. Axios is not going to lose credibility with its target audience, in fact I suspect there will be backlash. Journalists by and large see abortion as not the most important right in America, but the only right.

Kelly McBride of journalism's online trade outlet, Poynter, reported, "The looming Supreme Court decision that will likely overturn the constitutional right to an abortion is an opportunity for newsrooms to reframe both abortion coverage and the worn-out debate around the rules of objectivity and subjectivity.

"American newsrooms face two problems when it comes to abortion. The coverage itself often fails to capture the complexity and ambiguity that most Americans express on abortion. On top of that, the internal rules about avoiding political speech tend to stifle this conversation within newsrooms, leaving journalists poorly prepared for capturing the nuances of the issue."

(An aside: the worn-out debate around the rules of objectivity and subjectivity is a lot like the worn-out debate between right and wrong, only journalists increasingly favor wrong.)

Her argument that people must converse about abortion in the newsroom before going out to cover the story is laughable. Out of 30 journalists, maybe 6 oppose abortion but only one will dare admit it. 

The 24 who support abortion then will shout that guy or gal down like a Yankees fan at Fenway.

Nope. There is no need for a pre-game newsroom scrum on abortion. All a journalist covering abortion issues needs to do is treat pro-lifers with the same respect and deference they give Planned Parenthood officials. That too seldom happens.

But the powers that be are pushing back against newsroom activism. FTV reported, "We have to give props to Scripps for reminding its employees that they need to keep their thoughts on Roe v. Wade to themselves. 

"FTVLive obtained the internal email that was sent to the Scripps employees in light of the Supreme Court taking up the Roe v. Wade case again.

"It would be nice if other media companies followed Scripps in reminding their Journalists that they need to keep their politics to themselves."

The power of the press lies in its objectivity. When people trusted Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, they had power -- one they wisely did not abuse.

Editors need to take charge. They need to tell their staffs: You have an opinion? That's nice. Keep it to yourself. Nobody cares. 


  1. Don, your message about editors taking charge and telling their staffs to keep their opinions to themselves because nobody cares is 100% correct. That's how I always saw it and played it. Unfortunately, we are way late in the game for this to really matter. Damage already done.

    1. Where do they go to get their reputations back? Asking for a blacklisted former Reagan official…

  2. Why dosen't SCOTUS just come out with the ruling, confirming Alito's draft that was leaked, and end this entire protest saga?? Why drag it out??

    1. He’s a drama Queen. It will probably be the last ruling they announce.

  3. The idiot journalists already think they are playing it down the middle.

  4. Little late now, kids.

    The real issue is, with the successes of Trump, DeSantis, Abbott, and others, the old Libertarian wheeze that we can't beat the Demos, especially on social issues, is as dead as a doornail.

    Somewhere in Heaven, the Airborne Ranger in the Sky told Duke Wayne to have Frank McGrath blow the Charge.

  5. The "journalists" won't like this. After all, they are from the "Me, Me, Me" generation.

  6. Kelly McBride says "Supreme Court decision that will likely overturn the constitutional right to an abortion"...What is wrong with these "people"? Good Lord, they all need a good, hateful, dry, grudge pounding. And perhaps a good Donkey Punch followed by a Dirty Sanchez, with a game of "hide the sausage in the dark". I can't think of a more hateable group of earth inhabitants. Don, hit that button!!!