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Sunday, December 2, 2018
MRC Outraged That Female Genital Mutiliation Law Overturned, Silent On The Conservative Principle Invoked
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Bill D'Agostino huffed in a Nov. 21 post:

Liberal cable and broadcast networks have completely ignored a Detroit Judge’s finding that federal laws against female genital mutilation are unconstitutional. As of noon on Wednesday, Fox News remains the only television news outlet to have reported on this controversial decision.

The Detroit Free Press announced the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM [Female Genital Mutilation].


On its face, a Judge overturning a federal law against female genital mutilation sounds newsworthy. But although CNN at least is aware of the ruling (as evidenced by November 20 article on their website), they and other TV news networks have determined that it is not worth the time to inform their viewers of this court decision. Why might that be?

As outraged as D'Agostino is about the decision, he's curiously reluctant to explain the judge's reasoning -- perhaps because it involves a bedrock conservative principle.

As an actual news outlet explained, Friedman stated that "As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be ... federalism concerns deprive Congress of the power to enact this statute," adding: "Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM ... FGM is a 'local criminal activity' which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress."

Federalism is generally adhered to by conservatives as a principle faithful to the Constitution by letting more issues be handled on a state-by-state level than mandated on a federal level. In other words, Friedman was simply applying a conservative principle to the issue of female genital mutilation and ruling that it should be regulated on the state level (not unlike what conservatives want to do with abortion by agitating for the repeal of Roe v. Wade).

The MRC's "news" division,, did a slightly better job. A Nov. 21 article by Patrick Goodenough did explain that  Friedman ruled that the practice "is for the states to regulate, not Congress," but allowed conservative activists to attack the decision without explaining that the judge invoked a conservative principle.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST

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