‘Critics argue…’: The Washington Post’s misplaced balance 

One of the good points liberal critics of the media have made in the past few years is this: journalists, in overzealous adherence to the idea of being “objective,” resort to he-said/she-said journalism when there are, in fact, objective facts available. My old boss Bob Novak called it “Deaf-Dumb-Blind Journalism.”

On the Left, the favorite example of this objectivity-to-the-point-of-relativism (and an overused and misused example, in my opinion) is climate change. For instance, Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic wrote:

We can validly debate the solutions, but it is simply stupid to pretend, for the sake of appearing to be fair, as if there is a fundamental scientific debate that has yet to be solved.

Here’s my example: the Washington Post shouldn’t pretend that there’s a debate over what the Plan B “morning after” pill does. Here’s a passage from a story today:

Plan B prevents a pregnancy by administering high doses of a hormone that mimics progesterone. It works primarily by inhibiting the ovaries from producing eggs. Critics argue it can also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, which some consider equivalent to an abortion.

The Post claims there are two points that are made mostly by “critics”: (a) does it prevent a fertilized egg from implanting; and (b) is that “equivalent to an abortion.” I will agree that there is a debate on (b), which has to do with a question of when life begins.

But on the question of blocking implantation, that claim comes not from “critics,” but from the drug maker itself. Here’s a press release from the company, pointing out the drug might prevent fertilization, but also, “it may inhibit implantation (by altering the endometrium).”

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Timothy P. Carney

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