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Friday, Aug 29, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Cruzin’ demonic reporting with the Weekly Standard’s “Scrapbook”

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Economic times being what they are, The Right Stuff was pleased to have found a deal on its subscription to the Weekly Standard, which was about to expire.

But whatever the price, TRS believes it gets its money’s worth from the magazine’s weekly Scrapbook feature at the front of the magazine. What follows – editorials, features, reviews and so on – is gravy. Often delectable, memorable gravy, but gravy nonetheless.

Consider this exemplary gem from the March 24 issue, involving Texas Republican Ted Cruz and some agenda-driven reporting by the Associated Press.

“Liberal media bias is such a fact of life The Scrapbook can’t get exercised about it every day. But there are two subjects in the news a lot in which the fourth estate’s inability to play fair is never less than appalling: Senator Ted Cruz and abortion. Last week, the Associated Press tried to cover both at the same time, and the results were spectacular. Here is the opening paragraph of Philip Elliott’s dispatch:”

Calling their opponents Satan worshippers and savages, anti-abortion lawmakers on Wednesday insisted that Republican contenders keep an intense focus on social issues in the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.

“Satan worshippers? Zounds! Where did that come from? The AP attempts to explain:”

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who is a favorite of the tea party, said supporters of abortion rights chant “Hail, Satan” to silence their enemies. .  .  .

“Arm-in-arm, chanting ‘Hail, Satan,’ embracing the right to take the life of a late-term child,” Cruz said of supporters of abortion rights.

“If you’re one of those cynical types who doesn’t believe everything you read, you might suspect that there’s more to this story than the AP is letting on. And you would be correct. Senator Cruz was referencing protests in Austin last year where pro-lifers were in fact shouted down by protesters yelling, ‘Hail, Satan!’ This happened multiple times. It’s on YouTube. It’s not Cruz’s fault that those actions happened to make abortion supporters look cartoonishly repugnant. We can only assume that reporter Philip Elliott was so invested in the caricature of the Harvard-educated, former Supreme Court clerk as daft and unhinged that he didn’t bother verifying whether Cruz was telling the truth.

“The AP further characterized the comments of Cruz and other GOP leaders as ‘unflinching rhetoric’ and an ‘attempt to make inroads with the GOP’s socially conservative wing,’ despite the fact that the pro-life cause cuts across political boundaries. Notably, Cruz was defending his home state’s ban on late-term abortion—like the majority of Americans, Texas legislators find it morally objectionable.

“The AP later corrected the story. Instead of ‘Calling their opponents Satan worshippers and savages,’ it now begins, ‘Invoking fiery references to Satan, “savagery” and a “culture of death.” ’ It notes that abortion supporters in fact chanted ‘Hail, Satan.’ The story was once risible, and it’s now slightly less so. How do such stories manage to get written, let alone past editors? Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon walks us through the professional standards at work here:

1. Pro-choice activists chant “Hail, Satan” at a protest.

2. GOP Senator says pro-choice -activists chanted “Hail, Satan” at a- protest.

3. AP reports: Republicans call opponents “Satan worshippers.”

“Just another day at the office for the mainstream media.”

See? Totally worth the price of admission.

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