Journalism’s Blind Eye
January 7, 2015
The Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2014, published a disturbing account of the violence routinely used to silence reporters worldwide. Headlined “Journalist death toll for 2014: 60,” the article noted that 70 journalists had been killed in 2013 and that in 2014 “40% were deliberately targeted” by those attempting to conceal cruelty, corruption and injustice of every sort. Thank God for reporters with the courage and integrity to risk it all in the public interest.
But not all journalists are so noble. The New York Times, December 21, 2014, carried a Ross Douthat column titled “North Korea and the speech police,” which decried America’s initial passivity in the face of North Korean Internet hacks and threats of violence against a movie studio which produced a film mocking the brutal buffoon who runs the “hermit kingdom.” Douthat says “… the basic strategy employed by … North Korean-backed hackers is the same one employed for years by Islamic extremists against novelists and newspapers and TV shows that dare to portray the prophet Mohammad in a negative light (or in any light at all).” Douthat decries “the self-censorship by networks and publishers” and “speech codes that have proliferated in Europe and Canada of late, exposing people to fines and prosecution for speaking too critically about religions, cultures and sexual identities of others.”
But Mr. Douthat fails to note the most obvious and egregious example of journalistic self-censorship – his own, in this essay, and that of most other media elites, where abortion is concerned. If CBR weren’t doing the work the press won’t do to expose the horror of abortion, the issue would disappear and remain invisible. But by doing the work the media won’t do, we pay the price the media won’t pay. Not long ago, CBR volunteer James Pouillon was targeted, shot and killed in Michigan by someone who was offended that Mr. Pouillon was displaying abortion photos outside a school.
Which brings us back to Mr. Douthat’s closing lament regarding “… the pathetic response from the cultural entities that are supposedly most invested in free speech … – universities, Internet companies, the press and the film industry, all of which seem disinclined to risk much on behalf of the ideals they officially cherish.” Laying aside his own omission of abortion from this essay, he could have been describing “pro-life” churches which refuse to take significant risks or make substantial sacrifices in tangible opposition to an atrocity they claim to deplore. Churches have gotten away with that sort of duplicity for decades because there was no obvious down side to big churches saying one thing but doing another. That calculus will change dramatically when CBR displays very large abortion photos on the public sidewalks of churches who play a double game with abortion.