Friday, February 25, 2005

ABORTION RITES. The creepiest story of the day - and perhaps a sign of what's to come - is the news that Kansas attorney general Phill Kline is trying to obtain the records of women and girls who've received late-term abortions. According to the New York Times (check out this blog-friendly permanent link), Kline wants the documents as part of a statutory-rape investigation. But Kline is a pro-life activist, and it's telling that he's taking flack from pro-choice forces and winning praise from pro-lifers.

According to the Times' Jodi Wilgoren, Kline "also spoke obliquely of other crimes that court documents suggest could include doctors' providing illegal late-term abortions." Hmmm.

The Wichita Eagle publishes an editorial today that gets right to the point. Some highlights:

The clinics offered to give the attorney general copies with irrelevant private information blacked out. But that apparently wasn't good enough. Why not, if the purpose is to prosecute criminals, not harass women who have sought abortions?

Why focus on records of patients who had late-term abortions, after 22 weeks - even though many underage teens presumably obtain abortions sooner - if the intention is to punish sexual predators, not late-term abortion providers?

And if sexual abuse of children is the issue, then why doesn't Mr. Kline also subpoena others with access to information about underage sex - school nurses, doctors, social workers - to turn over private records?


But given the attorney general's close political ties with anti-abortion activists, this latest campaign seems designed to add to an atmosphere of hostility and harassment faced daily by abortion providers - who, whatever one might think of abortion, are offering a medical service that is legal and protected under Kansas statute.

Is this sort of thing likely to become more common? Sadly, the answer is probably yes.

THE MISSING CONTEXT. Christopher Cooper and John McKinnon have an excellent story in today's Wall Street Journal on what a nutty show the daily White House briefings have become. They write: "Once the clubby preserve of big-name newspapers and networks, it has lately become a political stage where a growing assortment of reporters, activists and bloggers function not only as journalists but as participants in a unique form of reality TV."

That's why I just can't get outraged over the Jeff Gannon saga. Amused, of course. And somewhat perturbed about the hypocrisy, given what we know what would have happened if, say, Bill Clinton had allowed a ringer who was a former prostitute into the White House press room. But outraged - you've got to be kidding.

BAILEY V. BLEIDT. The Boston Herald's Greg Gatlin has more on Boston Globe columnist Steve Bailey's complaint against his erstwhile former part-time employer, Brad Bleidt, the admitted scam artist who once ran WBIX Radio (AM 1060).


Anonymous said...

Anthony G:


Thank you.

--A concerned Media Log reader

Anonymous said...

Anthony G - give it a rest, already. When are you, and the rest of the liberals, going to learn that facts never cause outrage? What causes outrage is appealing to someone's sense of greed...not to their sense of greater good.

P.S. I do consider myself a pretty flaming liberal, but I'm a realist, too.

Anonymous said...

Anthony is absolutely right and performing an invaluable service with his power point presentation here. Dan, you need to be aware that many of your readers are very, very, very, very, unhappy with how you're laughing off Gannongate and are watching you very, very, very, very closely to see if you finally change your tune on this horrifying story. It's a very, very, very, very big deal to many of us, and if you value us you'll condemn it long and loud, noon and night. Show some cajones, man. Now.

Anonymous said...

Looking thru the posts and reading Dan Kennedy's article, I'd say poster Anthony does have a point about the larger issue of manipulating the public by media. Kennedy wrote that Republicans could make more hay than Democrats if the sides were reversed here because Republicans have Rush Limbaugh, televangelists and others to push the scandal. But this just begs the question of why Kennedy and other progressives don't have the same competitive instinct. Maybe Republicans are in charge because they fight harder.

Nelson in Roslindale

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous Nelson. While the right pulverizes Iraqis, eliminates social security and our tramples civil rights, the liberal commentariat won't give 'em an inch on our vital Lowell broadcast stations.

Dan Kennedy said...

Nelson - Progressive journalists are simply not interested in going on a sexual witch hunt. That's not because we're less competitive; it's because we're progressives! Take the sex out of the Gannon matter, and you have a mini-scandal that has received the coverage it deserves.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't advocating a Kenneth Star type sexual witch hunt, only that progressive journalists openly criticize the real issues of dishonesty here as conservative journalists would do to Democrats. The prevailing view is that progressives are soft and not as willing to fight as hard for their beliefs as conservatives. I think that's not entirely unjustified, and stems from years of incidents like this one where progressive journalists and politicians simply don't criticize as forcefully or consistently.

Nelson in Roslindale

Anonymous said...

Well Nelson, who would you rather have in charge post 9/11, people who throw punches before their opponents do or people who wait until they get puched and then ask "did you mean that or was it an accident?" before defending themselves.