Yesterday I posted a story here that I thought important enough that readers, both progressives and conservatives, should know. It was the closing of the Albany Medical-Surgical Center Family Planning Associates abortion clinic after it was cited by the state for health and safety violations.
It represented a victory for women who had been victimized by the sometimes shoddy procedures at the North Side clinic; four women have died after going to the clinic for abortions. It also represented a victory for advocates for life, including the Pro-Life Action League, who had been trying for decades to get the state’s public health officials to look into the clinic’s violations.
Not one–not one–Chicago media outlet saw it that way. Not a single paragraph in the newspapers, not a 10-second mention on a newscast.
I started in the Chicago newspaper business in the mid-1960s I think I have some idea what constitutes news. That women will no longer be able to go to this neighborhood clinic for abortions, and instead will have to go to a non-licensed and allied facility downtown falls within the definition of legitimate news. Especially as it fits into the pro-choice script that pro-lifers are trying to end abortions by driving abortion clinics out of business.
Yes, there is a reluctance in newsrooms to report anything having to do with abortion. Whatever you write or report usually draws a flood of protests, challenging accuracy and bias, from both sides. I first was introduced to this phenomenon years ago when I wrote a story about whether the CTA should be allowed to accept pro-life advertising on its buses.
I survived. The newspaper (the Chicago Sun-Times) survived. We stood by the story, and backed the decision to run it because it represented an important public policy/free speech issue. It used to be called principles of journalism.
Are we now supposed to believe that Chicago’s newsroom have lost their courage? Or are we supposed to believe that newsroom liberal bias spiked the story.
Either way, it’s a sad day for Chicago journalism.
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