Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Yellow Journalism by Green Journalists

Student papers aren't necessarily professionally done, even if many of the folks working on them today are tomorrow's journalists. Here is one example of an article which has managed to anger (or disappoint, or depress)...basically everybody who reads it.

The pro-life folks are frustrated, because the thing is covering a small counter-protest in response to the Rally for Life in Austin. The pro-life rally's attendance is usually numbered in the thousands or even tens of thousands (ok, usually around 10,000). The opposition's counter-protest typically turns out in the hundreds (if that). This year there were supposedly more counter-protesters than usually, which means a few hundred: so I was told by several different friends and acquaintances who attended the Rally (I did not, as I had to work that day).

The entire article, however, mentions only the counter-protest. There isn't even a hint that it is in response to the much larger Rally for Life, and not a single suggestion that there were any pro-lifers anywhere. One would think there is a actually pointed silence towards the pro-life movement at work, a cover-up by the opposition.

Screenshot: Disqus apparently didn't get the memo about the headline.
The other side, for its part, was worked into a frenzy by the headline, which was a little too accurate for their comfort. The headline on the print edition reads--and online it originally read--"Pro-abortion rally draws support from political candidates." The headline has since been changed to the less accurate but more politically correct (and less accusatory) "Abortion rights rally draws support from political candidates." This was because virtually every pro-abortion commenter took the the site's Disqus system to complain/lie that there are no pro-abortion people, a claim which is disingenuous at best.

Surely there may be a few people who honestly believe that they are and can be what Mario Cuomo claimed to be--personally against abortion, but politically pro-choice. His son has put the lie to that statement and voiced the much more prevalent view from the Left that pro-lifers aren't welcome. Commenter Charles Findlay puts it well when he writes, "What's the 'choice'?...spell it out in all its ugly forms." You can either be for abortion or against it: all shades of gray ultimately fall on one side or the other, and while posing some legitimate practical challenges to a pro-life society they are generally used more to obfuscate the problem than to honestly seek its solutions.

As for the media's covereage in general and the Daily Texan's in particular, my acquaintance put it nicely with his rhetorical question, " Is the Daily Texan in the business of teaching and promoting Yellow Journalism to students?"

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