Family Research Council

Four Decades of Deception

By Robert Morrison


Robert Morrison is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared in National Review on January 28, 2013.


The latest NBC News push poll on Roe v. Wade extends a virtually unbroken line of lies - 40 years, to be exact. The poll first informs respondents that - drum roll, then ruffles and flourishes, please - the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. So, if you want to stand athwart history, if you want to side with the segregationists of old, if you want to show disrespect for the black-robed members of that eminent tribunal, answer the following question in the negative.

Then, the pollsters tell respondents that Roe legalized abortion in the first three months of pregnancy. Conveniently overlooked is the companion case, Doe v. Bolton, decided the same day but with less media hype. In Doe, the supposed restrictions on abortions in the second and third trimesters evaporate. Roe says the states may consider the mother's health in regulating abortion. But Doe says the mother's health may be construed so broadly that no person has ever had a healthy day on this earth. And such factors can override any parchment barriers in Roe.

The media have said for 40 years that Roe legalized abortion in the first three months. That's because they know that that's the period when most Americans are less troubled by abortion.

Remember the old March of Time series? Probably not. I didn't see it in the movies during World War II, either. But I did see it in history classes. Suppose that old black and white newsreel had trumpeted "German blitzkrieg rolls over Belgium and Luxembourg" for 40 years. And suppose it never mentioned that the Wehrmacht's panzers also rolled over France. That's the way it has been in the media's four decades of deception over Roe.

We pro-lifers are hardly the only ones to cry out against this media deception. The late David Shaw was that rarest of rarities: an honest reporter. His series for the Los Angeles Times ran in 1990. That's more than two decades ago. Shaw was personally pro-choice, but he was still able to point out the bias that creeps into every story about abortion.

The mere fact that the media so often refer to pro-lifers as "abortion-rights opponents" and our adversaries as "abortion-rights advocates" is a huge advantage - to them. Ronald Reagan - wo was always referred to by the media as a former "pitchman" for GE - understood the value of being pro as opposed to con. That's why Reagan was the first national politician to describe himself as pro-life. And when he said it in speeches and in debate, darn it, they couldn't bleep it out.

We are the only group that doesn't get called what it calls itself. Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood. All of these groups get called - with all due respect - what they call themselves. No terrorists are too grisly to be treated with respect by the press. (The reporters have all seen the beheading of poor Danny Pearl.) But pro-lifers - even in obituaries - are called "abortion foes." The late Nellie Gray brought hundreds of thousands of marchers to Washington every year for four decades. She was president of the March for Life, for heaven's sake. But Nellie, too, was memorialized as an "abortion foe."

Yeah, well, I am an abortion foe, too. I'm also a foe of beheading. And a Nazi foe and a Communist foe.

Find a pro-life candidate and shove a mic in his or her face. "What about rape!" First question out of the box. You can guarantee it.

Earlier this month, I heard Ryan Bomberger, whose biological mother was raped by his biological father, speak in Richmond. "I am that 1 percent they use to justify the 99 percent," he said. Ryan speaks of rape and abortion with all tenderness, blessing his birth mom for choosing life and making an adoption plan.

Ryan is the Frederick Douglass of our day. Douglass's father - a white plantation owner - was a rapist, too. But that seems to have softened his heart, not hardened it. Just as Frederick Douglass could speak of chains and scourges, Ryan Bomberger could indict Planned Parenthood for shackling black mothers to abortion and scourging the black community with lies. Ryan knows more about rape than the reporters do.

Next time one of us gets cornered by an oh-so-fair, oh-so-balanced reporter demanding we answer the question on rape and abortion, let's give him Ryan's website, and tell him to explain to Ryan - and to Michael Homula and Julie Makimaa, too - why he should not be alive. Ryan still thinks he was "meant to be."

Forty years ago, I read the New York Times every morning. And I watched CBS News every night. "All the News that's Fit to Print," was the Times' motto. And each evening, CBS Anchor Man Walter Cronkite would sign off with ". . . and that's the way it is, January 22, 1973." Or whatever date he broadcast.

I naively thought they were the news. I thought Time and Newsweek, too, were straight news sources. Since then, the readership and viewership of these former flagships have, well, flagged. Tens of millions of Americans are tuning them out. People sense that the liberal media are not telling the truth. Americans are turning instead to the Internet, to Fox, to Talk Radio, to a host of alternative news sources. And I turn every morning to Scripture. That's the Good News. And that Truth will indeed set us free.

Meet The Author
Bob Morrison Senior Fellow for Policy Studies

Bob Morrison was educated in New York Public schools and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He has also done (Full Bio)

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