Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Media bias? What media bias?!

The latest from the neutral, unbiased news media, this time in the form of language control from National Public Radio (you know, the publicly supported radio station that gets government funding from our tax dollars) regarding how to describe the sides in the abortion debate:

Here's the memo that was just distributed to all NPR staff:

"NPR News is revising the terms we use to describe people and groups involved in the abortion debate.

This updated policy is aimed at ensuring the words we speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible. This is important given that written text is such an integral part of our work.

On the air, we should use "abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)" and "abortion rights opponent(s)" or derivations thereof (for example: "advocates of abortion rights"). It is acceptable to use the phrase "anti-abortion", but do not use the term "pro-abortion rights".

Digital News will continue to use the AP style book for online content, which mirrors the revised NPR policy.

Do not use "pro-life" and "pro-choice" in copy except when used in the name of a group. Of course, when the terms are used in an actuality they should remain." [An actuality is a clip of tape of someone talking. So if a source uses those terms, NPR will not edit them out.]


David Sweeney
Managing Editor

Ah. So people who are pro-abortion are described as supporting a "right". Those who are anti-abortion can still be called that (at least when convenient like 'anti-abortion activist shoots doctor') or preferably they can be described as being opposing a "right". Note they can never link the words "pro" and "abortion", because that makes it sound like you are in favor of abortion and of course no one is in favor of abortion, not even those who profit from them. Abortion advocates are merely champions of a fundamental "right".

Seems like they are taking a stance based on the language they use. Nah, this makes perfect sense. I guess I am just being paranoid. Maybe we can start calling people who support school choice as "education rights opponents" or those who call for pedophiles to be arrested as "sexual rights opponents". Makes for a convenient set of labels!

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