The following comes from a Mar. 14 posting on the website of The Federalist.
Yesterday, abortion opponents were alerted to the latest example of media advocacy in favor of abortion when they read a dispatch from a pro-life event in D.C. by Associated Press reporter Philip Elliott, who “writes about politics and trends from Washington.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling their opponents Satan worshippers and savages, anti-abortion lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that Republican contenders keep an intense focus on social issues in the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.
No, I did not just make that up. He really wrote that. Now, if you read the rest of his story and knew something about the pro-life movement, you could decipher that what had actually happened was that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had discussed a real thing that happened — and there are videos of it should you have more curiosity than an AP reporter — in Texas last year during debate over abortion legislation. Pro-choice activists countered pro-life prayers and singing with chants of “Hail Satan!”
There are five dozen references to these Satan chants in Nexis from the week it happened. Almost all of them — save mentions by the Independent (UK) and Telegraph (UK) — are from conservative, pro-life or religious media. You can read all about the failure of media to note this angle of an otherwise-obsessively-covered event in “Could it be … Satan? Not in the news coverage.”
One of the very few American reporters to even note the Satan issue was Elspeth Reeve of TheWire.com. She attempted to debunk pro-life reports of the event but ended up beclowning herself. First she downplayed the idea that pro-lifers were skeeved out by the Satan chants:
A few protesters against a Texas bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks appear to have chanted “Hail Satan” to mock anti-abortion protesters singing “Amazing Grace” in Austin on Wednesday.
She said she “can’t make out the word ‘Satan,’” but acknowledges that a CNN producer had confirmed it on Twitter. Either way, she’s pretty sure she caught the pro-lifers lying about whether a little girl was holding a sign that read: “If I wanted the government in my womb, I would f*** a senator!” Except, well, whoopsie!
(See photo above.)
But other than these issues, Reeve’s attempt to fact-check the Satan-chants-and-disgusting-signs-held-by-children meme could not have gone better.
The AP has “updated” its article to be still wrong but not quite as wrong. It now reads:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Invoking fiery references to Satan, “savagery” and a “culture of death” to criticize their opponents, anti-abortion lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that Republican contenders keep an intense focus on social issues in the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.
Uh, no and no and also no. And “fiery”? Really? Dramatic much? Major props to the brave Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post for writing a piece about the event that subtly but effectively took the AP reporter to town:
And multiple complaints about news media bias seemed pretty accurately reflected in the initial Associated Press report on the dinner, which began this way: “Calling their opponents Satan worshipers and savages, antiabortion lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that Republican contenders keep an intense focus on social issues in the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.’’
Only, no one did call their opponents Satan-worshipers or savages; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) described an abortion rights protest last year in Austin at which demonstrators shouted “Hail, Satan,’’ to drown out antiabortion protesters singing “Amazing Grace.”
Cruz described them as “arm-in-arm, chanting, ‘Hail, Satan,’ embracing the right to take the life of a late-term child.’’ Which certainly isn’t how those demonstrators would see it, but also isn’t the same as calling them Satan-worshipers.
The Associated Press reference to “savages” came from a comment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that he refuses to call abortion rights supporters “pro-choice” because in his view “that’s a euphemism for the savagery they advocate….”
To read the original story, click here.