Friday, August 12, 2005

You call this reporting?

Today the AP finally reports on the controversial NARAL ad:
An abortion rights group is withdrawing a heavily criticized television ad that linked John Roberts to violent anti-abortion activists, saying its attempt to illuminate the Supreme Court nominee's record has been "misconstrued."

After protests by conservatives, NARAL Pro-Choice America said Thursday night it would pull the ad that began running this week.

"We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said.

"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who earlier in the day had urged the group to withdraw the ad.
The ad then goes on to quote Arlen Spector, a pro-choice Republican talking about how the ad isn't helpful to the debate. It also quotes Orin Hatch saying the ad "grossly distorts the record of John Roberts from start to finish". Then it quotes Chuck Schumer talking about how advertisements are not the point in this procedure. So what's wrong with this report? It completely ignores the fact that the ad is an utter lie! It's just one untruth after another., a bipartisan fact checking service says in no uncertain terms that the ad is full or it:
An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers “supporting . . . a convicted clinic bomber” and of having an ideology that “leads him to excuse violence against other Americans” It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham , Alabama .

The ad is false.

And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber. It is true that Roberts sided with the bomber and many other defendants in a civil case, but the case didn't deal with bombing at all. Roberts argued that abortion clinics who brought the suit had no right use an 1871 federal anti-discrimination statute against anti-abortion protesters who tried to blockade clinics. Eventually a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court agreed, too. Roberts argued that blockades were already illegal under state law.

The images used in the ad are especially misleading. The pictures are of a clinic bombing that happened nearly seven years after Roberts signed the legal brief in question.
If you read the whole analysis you see that this is a complete hack job worthy of Michael Moore(remember what he did to Charlton Heston?). And apparently this information was not hard to come by. However you see none of these details in the AP report. In fact it seems like the AP story is more about how the NARAL ad was "misconstrued". I don't know how you can call yourself a journalist when you don't even mention the fact that every single implication in the advertisement is demonstrably false. Unless of course you wanted to set NARAL up to look like the victim....hmmmm.