Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Poor Journalism from Santa Maria Times

The Santa Maria Times, of Santa Maria, California, ran an article today entitled, "Both sides of abortion rally support," written by Emily Welly. But does the article really examine "both sides"? Let me reproduce the article in two sections in case the article is lost. Here is the first part of the article:
Monday marked the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America, and in Santa Maria, the landmark ruling was remembered by supporters on both sides of the controversial debate.

One group marked the anniversary by holding a candlelight vigil Monday night in front of Planned Parenthood, 415 E. Chapel St.

?On this day we are out to remind people of the importance of Roe v. Wade,? said Nancy Jones of Planned Parenthood, noting that many women today - anyone under 34, in fact - has never known a world without abortion being a legally recognized choice.

?That's what gave women the choice over their reproductive care,? she said. ?It's extremely important that those of us who believe strongly (in choice) stand up.?

Such candlelight vigils have been held in this location on the anniversary of the ruling for at least the past 10 years, Jones said.

The group that gathered Monday night included Planned Parenthood employees and members of the Pro-Choice Coalition of Santa Barbara County. Also in attendance, according to Jones, were members of the American Association of University Women and members of the League of Women Voters. Participants included both Democrats and Republicans, she added.

A group of Santa Marians from the other side of the abortion debate took to the streets Sunday afternoon, the eve of the anniversary, to voice their views.

Marchers from several Santa Maria-area Catholic schools carried banners with right-to-life messages at a rally that began at Santa Maria City Hall and finished across the street from Planned Parenthood.
The first section is spent touting the strength of support for Planned Parenthood. Opponents at the rally aren't even granted an interview. But in a desperate attempt to balance things out, the article goes on:
Their message was echoed Monday in the nation's capital, where President Bush told thousands of abortion foes he shares their goal of seeing ?the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected into law.?

Bush also signaled his unchanged opposition to a key goal of the Democrats who now control Congress: broadening embryonic stem-cell research.

?Our challenge is to make sure that science serves the cause of humanity instead of the other way around,? the president said in a telephone call piped over loudspeakers to a Washington rally of abortion opponents.

?I have made clear to the Congress, we must pursue medical advances in the name of life, not at the expense of it.?

Bush calls the rally each year, usually from distant locations. This year, he extended his weekend stay at the Camp David presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains to phone the participants from there.

Bush last year vetoed a bill bolstering embryonic stem cell research that advocates say shows promise for numerous medical cures. Earlier this month, the House passed such a bill again, though by a margin short of what would be required to overturn another veto from the president.

With abortion foes in a more defensive posture now that Democrats have gained control of Capitol Hill, Bush urged them to do more than look toward legislative victories.

?We've all got to remember that a true culture of life cannot be built by changing laws alone. We've all got to work hard to change hearts,? he said.

?The sanctity of life is written in the life of all men and women. And so I think, go forth with confidence that a cause rooted in human dignity and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens cannot fail.?

Emily Welly can be reached at 739-2220 or ewelly@santamariatimes.com
There is one glaring problem with this second section. The text is lifted verbatim from an AP wire news story that ran yesterday. Here is the same AP article from CNN for comparison. Meanwhile 20,000 people marched in San Francisco over the weekend, as part of the West Coast March for Life, calling for an end to abortion and for society to meet the real needs of women. Yet the Santa Maria Times apparently just wants to run its token "Roe V. Wade anniversary" article of the year by interviewing one side and slapping that together with some other article. I wonder how much effort that took?

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