Thursday, January 14, 2010

Media Discrepancies

Compare these two headlines:
  1. Poll: 67 Percent of Americans Oppose Funding Abortion in Health Care Bill
  2. Americans evenly split on abortion health coverage
Pretty amazing, huh? It makes perfect sense when you consider the ideological bent of each publication. The first headline is from, a news source dedicated to pro-life issues. The second is from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The discrepancy may not be all media bias, though. It's interesting to compare the different questions that were asked in these polls.

The Seattle PI cites an Angus Reid Public Opinion national survey:

The poll found that 44 percent of Americans support banning abortion coverage through insurance plans subsidized by the government: 42 percent disagree, and 14 percent told Reid they are not sure.

Got that? The question was, would you support banning abortion coverage.

Now let's look at the Quinnipiac University poll cited by

The new survey asked: "Do you support or oppose allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds under a health care reform bill?"

Whereas the previous question asked whether you support banning abortion coverage, this one asked whether you support allowing abortions to be paid for.

It's hard to say what the outcomes of these two polls really mean. Why would Americans be evenly split on banning abortion coverage, but overwhelming opposed to allowing abortions to be paid for?

One hypothesis might be that the Quinnipiac question was more explicit in stating that the government would actually be paying for abortions. Perhaps a respondent who doesn't quite understand what's going on would think that banning coverage for abortions would somehow put a restriction on abortion, rather than simply prevent public funds from paying for abortions.

Or perhaps it never occurred to some people that public insurance coverage for abortions means the government pays for abortions, i.e. our taxes pay for abortions.

Or maybe people just find it hard to support a ban on paying for abortions, because supporting a ban makes it sound like you're against the status quo. "Just leave it alone" might just sum up the majority opinion on this issue.

The most frustrating possibility, of course, is that it's all a matter of media bias. I take small comfort in knowing that the best a left-leaning newspaper like the Seattle PI can do is find a poll suggesting Americans are "divided" on this issue.

That saddest thing of all is to see how "liberals" continue to hamper discussion on this issue, quoting opinions like "There is no point in reopening a debate about abortion in the U.S. right now." It seems the Left wants more than anything to protect the status quo on abortion and silence opposition. That's not very liberal, in the truest sense of the word.

1 comment:

  1. This journalist gives you a deafening round of applause. :)


I love to hear feedback!