Last week people were shocked at Donald Trump’s comments that women who have abortions should be punished. At an MSNBC Town Hall MSNBC reporter, Chris Hayes, pushed Trump on the issue, repeatedly asking if Trump supported a legal punishment for this. After several minutes of unsuccessfully attempting to wiggle out of the question, Trump admitted that he would support some kind of punishment for women who got abortions. His comments went on to receive lots of criticism from both the left and the right. The left’s response was expected; a woman has the right to decide what to do with her body and should not be punished for these decisions. The right was angry saying Trump’s option was too conservative. But were they mad at his opinion or that he was stupid enough to say it out loud?
Trump later attempted to take back his comments, but it was too late. The beltway media and liberal news organizations jumped on the opportunity to criticize Trump for his radical stance on abortion.
But in this coverage, the media has missed something very important. Trump’s stance isn’t radical. In the media’s current obsession with Trump, they have missed the opportunity to cover the platforms and views of other candidates.
Take Ted Cruz for example. Cruz is supported by ProLife for Cruz. The co-chair of this organization is Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, one of the most prominent anti-abortion organizations in the country. While visiting the website I ran across a page entitled “What is Abortion.” The page has no written explanation of the procedure, but instead contains only pictures of aborted fetuses and a video calling for action. That is it. This radical anti-abortion organization has a history of publishing abortion doctors’ addresses and phone numbers, of publishing “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters of abortion doctors, and supporting people who have murdered abortion doctors. Newman is also the author of a book called “Their Blood Calls Out” which clearly states that the only justified punishment for an abortion doctor is execution.
This may seem like a rant, an angry liberal hypnotized by the radical liberal media, and maybe it is. But I see a bigger problem. The national media’s excessive coverage of Donald Trump has deprived the public of education on the other candidates and even made these candidates seem moderate.
John Kasich has been labeled the moderate in the race, but his policies do not show the same picture. While governor of Ohio, Kasich has signed several anti-abortion bills closing half of the state’s abortion clinics. Just earlier this year Kasich signed a law that effectively defunded Planned Parenthood. But the public does not know about this, still viewing Kasich as the moderate candidate in the race.
Many conservatives say they do not support a legal punishment for women who receive abortions. But even if they do not support a legal penalty, fine or jail time, the laws they are passing are still punishment. The laws requiring doctors to show women sonograms before their abortion. Or those that require doctors to give women medically unnecessary anesthetic for the procedure. Whether they admit it or not the majority of the republican party supports punishment.
Abortion is not the only issue that Trump makes others look moderate on. Although many see his proposed temporary (stressed) ban on Muslims entering the country as radical and has received a lot of criticism from the press, not many people realize that Cruz holds a very similar position.
In 2015, after the Paris attacks, Cruz introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act of 2015 which bans refugees from Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States.
Kasich is one of the twenty-four plus governors to say that their state will not be welcoming to Syrian refugees.
These candidates might not be as “bold” as Trump in admitting that he is banning all Muslims but their plans are just as islamophobic and bigoted. Not only are their policies very similar to Trump’s but Cruz has a record to back his up.
Trump might have a lot of a lot of ‘fantastic’ or ‘fun’ sound bites, but that does not make him more deserving of media coverage.
It is time that the national media started covering all the the candidates equally, including the liberal media. Trump may be easy to make jokes about or increase viewership, but it is time we start seeing the bigger picture. The Republican primary is long from over and Trump is not the only candidate.
The media needs to recognize the role it plays in the election and start taking that role seriously. The majority of Americans get their political news from major news outlet headlines. If these headlines only talk about Trump, or refer to Kasich as moderate, the voters will be unable to make an informed decision when it comes time to vote.
Not only does the media need to change their coverage strategy but the voters need to know that media is not always a reliable source. I often find myself looking at the entertaining Trump articles and skipping the more mundane articles about other candidates, but it is time I stop.