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Making Us Necessary

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Nothing like a little self-congratulation to get a blogger going in the morning.

Amanda’s got a post up at Pandagon and Offsprung bemoaning the horrendous job the MSM does addressing or qualifying the false claims made by the wingnuts in interviews, op-eds and other appearances. Case in point: An 8/20 article in the Denver Post about a new Planned Parenthood clinic planned for the Denver area.

Amanda points out the most egregious quote, which the article’s author, Karen Augé, leaves flapping in the breeze:

Leslie Hanks, vice president of Colorado Right to Life, said her organization will continue its opposition to Planned Parenthood and likely would fight efforts to build a clinic.

“Let’s face it, they’re in the business to kill babies for profit,” she said. “First and foremost, they get young girls hooked on their birth control pills, which don’t work,” Hanks said.

And then nothing. There is so much wrong with this quote that it’s hard to know where to begin. First, Planned Parenthood does not “kill babies for profit.” If I have to explain why that’s wrong, you’re probably reading the wrong blog. Second, the quote equates birth control pills (BCP) with an addictive drug with no legit purposes. Given that BCP is neither addictive nor useless, it’s a BS move. Third, BCP does work. I can testify to that myself, as can the hundreds of millions of other women around the world who use it. It’s not foolproof, but then again, neither is abstinence, really.

Amanda has some praise for the MSM on this issue, though it’s short-live and tongue in cheek (at least the first sentence):

It’s good that reporters aren’t helping anti-choicers conceal that they are opposed to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies through contraception, which does serious damage to their strange claims that they’d like to reduce the abortion rate. (Note to idiots: You don’t reduce abortions by increasing the main cause of them, unwanted pregnancies. That’s like trying to reduce the auto fatality rate by banning seatbelts.) Still, the fact of the matter is that this he said/she said style of reporting that’s fact-free creates the wrong impression that it’s all just a matter of opinion, and since these ridiculous, fact-free claims are being trotted out in articles from reporters that are supposed to be trustworthy, it’s all too easy for some readers to think there must be some truth to them.

Bloggers aren’t perfect (ahem), but I am sick of all the O’Reilly style invective calling us name-callers and flame throwers (oh the irony). At a time when it has become abundantly clear that the MSM too often leaves behind its mantle as the fourth estate, it’s bloggers who can fill the gaps.

“Fair and balanced” reporting (something I make no claim to provide) is a good thing, but only when it takes form as something other than a place for people to air their opinions unmediated by the journalist.

(Also at Feministe)

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