To the contrary

Depiction of Winthrop group showed The Herald's bias

Special to The HeraldFebruary 7, 2014 

Winthrop’s College Republicans have put thousands of pink and blue flags in the center of campus as part of an anti-abortion campaign. The group will also show a documentary that draws parallels between abortion and the Holocaust.


There is no stronger evidence of media bias than how they treat the abortion issue. A recent article in The Herald provides a prime example. The headline reads, “Anti-abortion campaign stirs debate.”

Now, the media know that painting advocates of a particular viewpoint on any issue as “anti” frames the issue in such a way that the public’s reflexive reaction to that group is negative; that the group is perceived as trying to deny people something to which they are entitled.

This is especially true on the abortion issue. You never hear the media referring to abortion advocates as “anti-life.” In fact, you rarely hear the word abortion connected to them at all. Euphemisms, such as “a woman’s right to choose” and “reproductive health care” are used in order to obfuscate the issue.

In the aforementioned article, the Winthrop College Republicans were referred to as “anti-abortion” at least eight times and never once referred to as “pro life.” I don’t know if this is a result of the Herald’s stylebook or if it is a result of the reporter’s personal bias, but it is definitely a strategy to manipulate public opinion. The media know that if those who object to the taking of the most innocent of human life are referred to as “pro-life,” the public will begin to ask, “What the does the other side stand for?”

Manipulation strategy number two is to cast abortion opponents as somehow defying the law, as if somehow, being legal coveys legitimacy and moral standing. The article frequently mentions “legalized” or “legal” abortion, conveying the idea that the College Republicans were wrong in opposing something that was legal. But just because something is legal, doesn’t make it ethical.

While the law can be a teacher, conveying the idea that what is legal is right, this is not the case with the issue of abortion. This is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and that Supreme Court decision is just as contentious today as it was in 1973.

In fact, the country as a whole is trending pro-life. The yearly survey of incoming freshmen at UCLA has seen the percentage of those who believe that there should be some restrictions on abortion increase every year over the last decade, which is an indication that there are still some among the younger generation who can ignore media propaganda and think critically about social issues, unlike those students at Winthrop who exhibited infantile behavior in trying to destroy the College Republicans’ memorial display.

To paint the College Republicans as polarizing the Winthrop Campus puts me in mind of the doting mother who, while watching her son march in the parade, concluded that everyone was out of step but him. Evil must be confronted, and the College Republicans were doing their fellow students a service in reminding them that the evil of abortion is still with us.

Austin Abercrombie is a resident of Fort Mill.

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