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Columbia School of Journalism, and an Example from the Los Angeles Times of Hard-left Agenda Journalism

Sunday, January 22, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My article on the CJS-led attempt to save MSM, “The Media’s Ancien Regime,” is available online and in the new edition of of the Weekly Standard.


Dean Esmay has thoughts on the importance of reporters and the irrelevance of j-schools.

CheatSeekingMissiles, by one of the best PR guys in the Golden State, reflects on the MSM.

Austin Bay took a CJS-course while getting his PhD from Columbia Gard School of Arts and Sciences. He blogs on a very interesting debate from that class. Read it.

Leading Questions comments, as does Two Minute Offense (soemthing the Broncos don’t have, which is why I am updatting this post at 3:07 Pacific.)

And sisu. And DeepKeel. And PubliusForum.

Mark Tapscott posts on the article and the underlying issue of the crisis in journalism.

Right Speak has more.

I will post links to any commentaries on the piece here.

For a perfect example of the sort of agenda journalism that is killing the old media, and which CJS and all its sister schools will never be able to reform because left-wing reporters and editors aren’t interested in reforming, see the front page scare-piece in this morning’s Los Angeles Times: “States Step Up Fight on Abortion.”

Because the confirmation of Judge Alito appears imminent, the hard-left abortion rights lobby within the Times appears to have decided to try one more time to panic its readers into doing something!

So on the thinnest of evideniary bases –a freshman state legislator in Indiana has introduced a bill allegedly in conflict with Roe— the Times throws out an incendiary headline above the fold on the front page, and this opening graph:

Taking direct aim at Roe vs. Wade, lawmakers from several states are proposing broad restrictions on abortion, with the goal of forcing the U.S. Supreme Court ‘” once it has a second new justice ‘” to revisit the landmark ruling issued 33 years ago today.

NARAL is the source for the assertion that 50 bills were passed last year that “adopted a variety of laws designed to restrict access to abortion or force women to think through alternatives,” though the specifics of those 50 are not mentioned, and not one posing a direct challenge to Casey –the case which gutted the Roe framework and which is not mentioned in the piece in a breathtaking bit of legal illiteracy that is shocking even for the notoriously ill-informed on law matters LAT.

Only in paragraph 18 do we find the statement “Abortion opponents say such predictions are just scare tactics,” and in paragraph 21:

Pushing aside the spin from both sides, health law expert George Annas of Boston University said the true effect of reversing Roe would probably be minimal.

In paragraphs 10 and 11 we see the key to the piece: Another warning about dangerous Sam Alito:

The debate unfolds as the Senate prepares to vote on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., a federal appellate judge. As a Reagan administration lawyer, Alito laid out a plan to overturn Roe vs. Wade. In his confirmation hearings this month, he declined to call the case “settled law,” suggesting that he might be willing to reverse or modify it.

If confirmed, Alito would succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who supports abortion rights. He would join another conservative justice appointed by President Bush: John G. Roberts Jr., who was confirmed as chief justice in September.

Just in case anyone missed the propaganda points made early in the pice, the Times dutifully cherry-picks the polling data to let you know that “[p]olls over the years have consistently shown that a slight majority of Americans ‘” as many as 60% in some surveys ‘” supports keeping abortion legal in most or all cases,” and wants you to know as well that the “nation’s abortion rate has been falling since the early 1980s.”

(Note: Opinion polling on the subject of abortion is very controversial because of the wide fluctuations in answers depending upon the question asked. Here’s one critique from a pro-life group.)

The Times story is really an opinion piece dressed up as a front page news story, and other folks with more time can find many other aspects of the story with which to argue or at which to laugh. It should be offered at CJS as an example of editorial and reporter failure: Finest quality hard left agenda journalism on the Sunday before the debate on Judge Alito opens.

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