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Tuesday, June 11, 2019
MRC Opposes Using Correct Scientific Terminology Regarding Abortion
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is so anti-science -- and so anti-abortion -- that it objects when news organizations correctly use scientific terms when discussing it.

Tim Graham raged in a May 21 post about NPR's correct use of the term "fetus" to describe an unborn child:

Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review pointed out that NPR standards-and-practices guru Mark Memmott issued a new memo -- a "guidance reminder" -- instructing his taxpayer-funded staff how their language on abortion should not concede anything to "antiabortion groups." It isn't about objectivity. It's about using language to shift public opinion.

According to NPR, Memmott is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation." Unbelievably, this memo is summarized as "We need to be precise, accurate and neutral." 

It's fascinating that liberals who are so exquisitely sensitive about the dignity and humanity of the "illegal immigrant" -- don't use that term! -- or the people denying their gender "assigned at birth" can so easily dehumanize babies with the term "fetus," which we've called the F-bomb of abortion terms.

Graham links back to a 2008 column he ghost-wrote for his boss, Brent Bozell, that did indeed rant about that scientifically accurate term because it doesn't jibe with the anti-abortion narrative:

What a cold, humanity-negating word that is. Happy pregnant women carry "babies." But indecisive or panicked pregnant women carry a "fetus." How discriminatory that sounds in regard to an innocent human life.

"Fetus" has a dictionary definition: the young of a mammal that resembles its parents in physical form, in our case, a human with hands and feet and eyes and a beating heart. But to our media and political analysts, it has a different definition: a subhuman appendage, a disposable mass of tissue, a slave to our whims, and too often, a casualty of our irresponsibility.


Our media elite prides itself on an official or unofficial policy of not using insulting or offensive terms about women or minorities in its daily news content. It’s about time they took the same approach to the unborn baby, and nixed the word "fetus" as too demeaning of human life.

Yes, the MRC actually demanded that a word be banned for political reasons.

Graham went on to grouse about the NPR's guidance on the the anti-abortion crowd's new obsession, the "fetal heartbeat"; NPR advised putting it in quotes and accurately noted that at six weeks into a pregnancy, when the supposed heartbeat can be detected, it is not yet a fetus but an embryo. Graham sneered: "Apparently it should be the "embryo heartbeat" law?"

Graham also mocked the death of abortion provider George Tiller, who was killed by an anti-abortion activist 10 years ago (which Graham didn't mention). He declared: "Personally, I think we should just refer to abortion doctors as 'assault weapons.'" 

Graham raged further against correct scientific terminology in a June 1 post regarding the whole "fetal heartbeat" thing. This time, the target is the New York Times and Wired for inconveniently pointing out not only that a fetus at six weeks is an embryo, there is no heart to speak of at that stage, just "embryonic pulsing" of what eventually develops into the heart.

Aiden Jackson used a June 6 post to uncritically quote Fox News' Tucker Carlson attacking the Times for using that scientifially accurate terminology -- or, as Jackson put it, "manipulating language" -- ominously adding, "The movement to suppress dissent from any views that are contrary to the liberal media is well under way." As if the MRC's goal wasn't to suppress dissent from any views that are contrary to right-wing orthodoxy.

Jorge Plaza followed in a June 7 post bashing the Guardian for accurate terminology, which it says is "in line with the view of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the largest professional organization for doctors specializing in women’s health." Plaza's response was to attempt an anti-abortion mini-lecture presented as whataboutism:

Despite its claims, The Guardian is not actually committed to total medical accuracy. U.S. editor-in-chief John Mulholland stated, “We want to avoid medically inaccurate, misleading language when covering women’s reproductive rights.”  But the term “women’s reproductive health” makes no medical sense as a substitute for “abortion.” Pregnancy is not a disease. An abortion does not restore a woman’s health (except in exceptionally rare cases); an abortion always kills a human being.


The Guardian, The New York Times, and NPR were truly committed to purging medically inaccurate, political jargon, they would refrain from calling abortions “reproductive health” and pro-abortion rights groups “pro-choice.” But, not only do they persistently use these euphemisms, they advertise them. To them, “abortion” is a dirty word that should be avoided at all costs. After all, the word “abortion” brings up grotesque mental images of what the procedure entails -- images that are harmful to the “pro-choice” cause.

The Guardian’s terminology isn’t to promote accurate reporting but to dehumanize unborn life. Though this has been the liberal media’s agenda for years, NPR and The Guardian have made it plain and clear by publishing their guidelines. They have proved our long-held suspicions.

And the MRC confirms our long-held suspicions that it cares more about scoring political points than accuracy or "media research."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 PM EDT

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