Friday, August 24, 2012

Media failed in not questioning Akin's phony science

Columbia Journalism Review has outdone itself with its coverage of the media and the Todd Akin controversy. I pointed out the Review's interview with Fox 2 reporter Charles Jaco a few moments ago, but it also has a scathing examination of the media's lack of coverage of the phony science that Akin used when answering Jaco's questions.

Akin said that women's bodies have a way of preventing pregnancy during a "legitimate" rape:

This is so false that it’s the equivalent of saying that a woman gets pregnant if she stands under a full moon—something people used to believe.
Perhaps reporters thought that the obvious wrongness of the statement meant that they didn’t have to dispute it. Instead, most (for example, The New York Times and the Kansas City Star followed the pattern of the Associated Press: They reported what Akin said, then followed it with a response from Akin’s opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and/or reactions from Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
Stories like these focused on how the “legitimate rape” comment would affect the Akin-McCaskill race, and more broadly, wondered whether the brouhaha would affect the Presidential election by increasing Obama’s hold on female voters.
These are legitimate places to go in stories about political figures running for office. But it is more important to explain—in the first coverage, not in a second-day followup or a blog post—that Akin got his facts wrong. It might be clear to the reporter that Akin’s views are false. But if he, a political leader, holds them, others likely do, too.

The article notes that CBS was one of the few media outlets which did examine the science in its initial reporting.


Anonymous said...

It's the usual game of "follow the leader" in the news business, with few people ever bothering to question the accuracy of what a candidate says. The "dummying down" of America continues unabated. Rick Nichols.

Anonymous said...

Actually the media only queations what IT doesn't agree with in most cases. for example when pro abortionist say that "it's only a lump" or "it's my body and I can do with it what I want", Basic biology says it's a human being and it even has a different DNA that the mother. Another one is "the life of the mother". This says that our doctors are so bad that that they can't save both! And yes there is the "ra[e" and "incest" argument. That says the baby should be punished for the crime of it's father. Think about that. If that is true than all those people in prison should be accompanied by their parents.

Frank Vangeli