The Corner

To Media, ‘Pro-Life’ Is Only ‘Anti-Abortion’

I first heard about the Values Survey, discussed here by Steve Wagner, today on the car radio — ABC News I think, but it could have been NPR. The news announcer distinguished between “social justice Catholics” and “anti-abortion Catholics.” Looking at the text of the survey, it actually uses the terms “social justice” and “right to life Catholics,” so the story was skewed in keeping with the long time media practice of denying pro-lifers the perceived benefit of the “pro-life” descriptive. 

That sparked a memory: Illustrating the pervasive nature of the media’s bias in this regard, the Washington Post and New York Times have both called my pal Richard Doerflinger the “Associate Director of Anti-Abortion Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.” His actual title is “Associate Director of Pro-Life Activities.” I called and asked him about it. He said my memory was accurate and told me that to ensure correct reporting, ”I once pointed out to a reporter that my title was a proper name. She promised to make a special note when she filed to ensure that her editors wouldn’t change it to ‘anti-abortion,’” I asked him if it worked. “Yes,” he told me chuckling, “at least that time.” 


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