April 24, 2009

Adventures in local news reporting

Posted in Government, Media, News, Politics, Reproduction at 1:41 pm by The Lizard Queen

I’ve not made much of a secret in my offline life of my feelings for our local newspaper, the Topeka Capital-Journal: I’m not a big fan. I think it’s biased and poorly written/edited. (Check out an example that made it to the blogosphere a couple of months ago here.)  As much as I’d like to support local print news, then, I tend just to ignore the CJ.  Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to avoid; today while I nuked my lunch I glanced at the front page of a copy that had been left on the break room table.  The top two stories focus on Governor Sebelius and the national spotlight that’s currently shining on her.  It only took a few sentences for the top of my head to come flying off (emphasis added):

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to veto Thursday a bill amending Kansas law on late-term abortions occurred at a critical juncture in her bid to become a Cabinet secretary in the administration of President Barack Obama.

Sebelius, who supports abortion rights but says she personally opposes the method of birth control, said the vetoed legislation likely would have been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts.

Now, maybe they’re paraphrasing words Sebelius herself used, but a cursory search makes me dubious that that’s the case.  I think that sentence conflates — whether deliberately or unintentionally — abortion (the termination of a pregnancy) with contraception (the prevention of pregnancy).  At best, it’s clumsy.  At worst, it reflects an anti-choice bias.  Either way, it frustrates me.  And the thing is, I do think it’s possible to report on this issue without writing things that make my head explode (see this article from the Wichita Eagle).  So — what gives, CJ?

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1 Comment »

  1. DavidD said,

    An anti-choice bias? In Sam Brownback’s Kansas? I’m shocked!

    Seriously, I have had occasion to notice how much more free both religious and political conservatives are in their own insular media to state their various prejudices plainly, even poetically, like “culture of death”, “slaughter of the innocents”, “recruiting our children to the homosexual agenda”, unfettered by fairness or reality. Maybe the writer and editor of the C-J article both learned to write in such a setting. Maybe the C-J is such a setting. It’s been some time since I read it.

    Fox News is like this, as well as getting its stories from Republican talking points and making their news desks short enough so any man notices that their buxom blonde females aren’t just talking heads, but extend almost down to the floor. There’s neuroscience behind all of this, you know.


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