Spin

I love watching politics and political debate as presented by the mainstream media. The bob and weave of verbal pugilists who seek for an opportunity to destroy the opposing viewpoint is truly something to behold. Unfortunately, truth is a frequent casualty of political debate. Now I understand in a Post Modern world, nothing is more naïve than talk of “Truth.” But I am not referring to objective truth here. The truth I mean is an accurate portrayal of someone’s position. Frequently in political debate the goal is to “Frame” the debate so that the opposing position looks silly or hopelessly out of touch.

In America, newscasters frequently misrepresent historic Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Some of this behavior is due to palpable ignorance by reporters too lazy to get educated. Other times, this behavior results from a failure to learn about Christianity from qualified individuals. Reporters frequently talk to the famous rather than finding the qualified. Case in point, reporters in Boston would usually talk to someone from Harvard Divinity School (which hasn’t been orthodox since the 1920’s) even though Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (which is orthodox) is just 45 minutes up Highway 128. Finally, we must acknowledge the strong possibility that some of this activity results from a reporter’s conscious decision to lie about Christian beliefs and practice.

Abortion is probably the most famous example of media bias. Reporters will frequently call those who oppose abortion as “anti-abortion activists” rather than using their preferred designation, “Pro-Life” and will call abortion activists “Pro-Choice” which is their preferred designation. Certainly bias is the reason why they have chosen to do this. For if they were being consistent they would either use terms used by the opposing groups to designate themselves (e.g. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice) or they would use terms they haven’t used to designate themselves (e.g. Anti-Abortion Activists and Pro-Abortion Activists).

More recently I have noticed reporters rephrasing language related to partial birth abortion. Partial birth abortion is used in very late trimester abortions and consists of having the child’s body delivered except its head, which is then gored with a pair of scissors to kill the child. http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/diagram.html The media now is now saying, “so-called partial birth abortion” where in the past they said partial birth abortion. What is ironic about the “so called” qualifier is that it raises the question, is this procedure partial birth or not? It seems everyone agrees it is abortion, as the child doesn’t survive the procedure. But is it partial birth? It would seem that with the ordinary use of language, if a child’s leg emerged from the birth canal, is it appropriate to say that the leg was “delivered” and thereby “born?”

Regrettably, the disinformation goes deeper. One of the typical canards of the pro-abortion movement is to say that pro-lifers won’t allow health exceptions for the life of the mother. But here is where things get sticky because what the public thinks is meant by health is not what the law thinks when the term health is used. When the public uses the term health, it is thinking of a bonafide medical (i.e. physiological ailment such as ectopic pregnancy). Swap a notion and buy home assignment right here useful source to sound smart. But the way the law is written, the term health includes the vagaries of psychological issues. So if a mother was 5 hours before giving birth and then said, I don’t want the child, she could claim, mental distress and thereby be legally justified in killing the child. Most Pro-lifers would accept the validity of true physiological need for abortion but would reject the psychological one. Without going into further detail, the issue would be the Pro-Life rejection that pregnancy is somehow a disease.

There are certainly many more ways, the Pro-Abortion media like to misrepresent the Christian Pro-Life position. But I think you get the idea. The only question remaining is whether this misrepresentation is due to laziness, spin, or a conscious decision to misrepresent the truth. I will leave you to decide that matter.

© Stephen Vantassel 2006.

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